Between Passions and Numbers

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), is also of great interest in its detail. The organist is gently pulling the sliders on one side (but what with the sliders on the opposite side of the organ?) and is assisted by two boys making a great effort to keep the bellows going (notice the different ink used for those figures).


The representations, although seemingly static, show a great care for movement in the positioning of the body and the details in the fabric. 

From "Vitae et passiones, tractatus diversi", 1201-1300.

BnF, Département des manuscrits, Latin 5371


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