10 June 2014

A remarkable 9th-century swan

This is a special book from the early Middle Ages (France, 9th century). Not only does it contain a high volume of very attractive images, but these images are also not what you would expect: they are drawn, as it were, with words. They illustrate Cicero’s Aratea, a work of astronomy. Each animal represents a constellation and the written words in them are taken from an explanatory text by Hyginus (his Astronomica). His words are crucial for these images because the drawings would not exist without them. It is not often in medieval books that image and text have such a symbiotic relationship, each depending on the other for its very existence.
Image and text from Erik Kwakkel's excellent blog post.  At the link you will find five additional images of similarly-illustrated animals, and links to the digitized primary source and related materials.

All of this week I've been featuring material from Erik Kwakkel's blog, which I've now added to my too-dormant category of recommended blogs.  This is the "about" from the blog:
Medieval book historian at Leiden University, The Netherlands. I post images of medieval books and share with you what's special about them.
Here is the home page, which I invite all TYWKIWDBI readers to explore.  There is an immense amount of interesting material (I have to be careful not to borrow too much stuff; I'd rather send you there to read it).

Reposted from 2013 for "Dutch Treat Day."

1 comment:

  1. this seems so modern and fun! Going to check out the rest!


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