Monday, July 23, 2012

Voynich Manuscript: the Animals of Jean, Duc de Berry

The most famous result of the two year visit of the Byzantine Emperor Manuel II to Paris (beside his inability to get help for Constantinople) is the cultural influence that the princes of the East inflicted upon the artists that witnessed their stay. The Limbourg Brothers used the coiffure and dress of the Greek Emperor in The Meeting of the Magi, Folio 51v of Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. On the same picture, among the exotic wise men, we find few animals that carry resemblance with the group of three creatures sketched on Folio 79v of the Voynich Manuscript.
The forth creature from Voynich 79v can be found on Folio 113v, Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. Welcome to Purgatory!
Jean Colombe illustrated this one seventy years after the Limbourgs left the manuscript unfinished. The question is: did Colombe followed sketches from the original design or came up with the purgatory creatures on his own? May be he was inspired by looking at the Voynich 79v. Notice the women on 113v of Les Très Riches , who are done with their penance and on their way out of purgatory.

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