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Servir Antico's 

Viewer-friendly Organology & Iconography Resource

or

a Voyage into the Organology & Imagination of the long Renaissance

 

By Catalina Vicens

 

In line with ensemble Servir Antico, my purpose is to bring the work of creative and visionary minds from the past (in form of music, literature and art) to the the spotlight and to transform it into inspiration for the future.

 

The idea here is to share musical images found in manuscripts, prints, paintings and sculpture as part of their artistic and functional context. In this site I don’t want to take the place of an art historian, and although I use iconography and organology as part of my research, it is not the intention of this site to serve as a form of research output.

 

There is religious related content in this site, but it does not serve any particular religious view.

 

Catalina Vicens

November 12, 2017

This time not a Book of Hours, but a book of the hours of the Antichrist. 

Although at the end of this illuminated manuscript there are scenes with the Virgin and Christ surrounded by angel musicians that are often to be found in the books of hours that I've showcased in previous blog posts, this book surprises us with intriguing scenes of the Last Judgement, the Antichrist and a world of horrifying, yet humorous devils....

September 13, 2017

Heidelberg UB, Cod. Sal. IXe, Livre d’heures, Paris, 1420-30

September 12, 2017

In a book mostly dedicated to the lives of Saints and Passions and a last section that comprises a calculus treatise, we find a single image with humanly figures.

There, we see David with a triangular stringed instrument (psaltery, lyre or harp?), surrounded by four musicians holding cymbals, a plucked (!) fiddle/ rebec, a horn and an organist.

The organ, (using sliders instead of keys, as in the Theophilus organ type), i...

September 8, 2017

Something must they have had with the horns... that even the lyre has horns! 

BL Cotton MS Tiberius B V/1, 2nd quarter of the 11th century - 3rd quarter of the 12th century. 

Anglo-Saxon miscellany, possibly Canterbury.

September 6, 2017

Also known as the 'Psalter of Henry of Blois', this 12th century manuscript is an exquisite example of the English Romanesque illumination art. 

Its clear lines, extravagant composition and expressive portraits gives us an insight into the devotional tone of the period.

With King David playing a fiddle while turning attentively to God's hand or the angels playing horns (tubae) in an apocalyptic scene, we ge...

August 28, 2017

The 'Golf Book' was illustrated by the Flemish artist Simon Bening, "the leading master of illumination in the 16th century". 

In this book of hours, we get a glance at intimate scenes of courtiers and their use of music for recreation. 'Pastime with good companye', that famous song by Henry VIII, seems to be an adequate title to frame these scenes. Men and women enjoying a good time, accompanying a delightful afternoon...

August 18, 2017

The 'Sforza Hours' doesn't cease to delight with its vibrant colors, cute animals and fascinating instruments.

After the 1st post showing some of the musical scenes and other curious images of this book (February 21, 2017), I post here some images that show the variety and diversity of specimens that the Sforza family must have been acquainted with during the turn of the 16th century. Not only suggestive bunnies and cats...

August 16, 2017

This mid-13th century psalter's first full-page illustration opens with King David's eyes fixed on me, the viewer. As if he was about to tell me something very important, he stares and at the same time I notice that his attention is in the act of listening: he is tuning his harp, David's harp. Around him, the scene is not that intimate. Angels fall, men engage in fight while being threatened by wild beasts.

Bel...

August 13, 2017

Among battlefields and love stories, the cycle of King Arthur’s legends written down in this 800-folio ‘Romans Arthuriens’ (c.a 1270-1290), is decorated with humorous legends of animals, monsters and angels with musical instruments.

With a predilection for bagpipes, trumpets, harps, fiddles, gitterns and few portative organs, the artist of this French manuscript (possible from St-Omer) uses recurrent imagery: the figures...

August 13, 2017

There is something ephemeral and surreal in the imagery created on white substance. The fact that these precious mediums have been predilected to venerate and to contain treasures is fascinating.

Marble, Ivory and bone have also cold brilliance; something magnificent without being shining gold, something earthy without being wood.

In my last trip the the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, I took these...

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