Medieval WTF

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medeval-wtf

A long, long time ago this painting made complete sense.

There’s a wood-fired forge, anvils, metal working tools, a peacock, a gryphon(?!) a deer and a bigass possum watching a naked man without genitalia cringe as a woman takes an axe to a parrot while the wind is blowing.

It’s an illustration from a French manuscript entitled The Personification of Nature Making Birds, Animals and People [ca. 1405].

Okay, so Mother Nature had already finished creating The BirdsThe Animals and at least one of The People, but then she realized that the poor guy needed a pecker. If anyone else has a better analysis, post it, because I’m done here.

[Image found here.]

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8 Responses to “Medieval WTF”

  1. ksbeth Says:

    so funny – i’ve got nothing…)

  2. Bunk Strutts Says:

    ksbeth– Wise response.

  3. Jude Says:

    From what I read, the woman seems to stand as Mother Nature or something. Not sure what’s supposed to be in her hand but it’s not an ax. She’s at the end of the process of making the bird not chopping its head off. Why she has clothes on and the man doesn’t will only make sense if you’re from the 16th century, and maybe not even then.

  4. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Jude– The Getty Museum has this description:

    The Personification of Nature Making Birds (detail), Animals, and People, from Romance of the Rose, about 1405, unknown artist.

    Wiki has an entry for Roman de la Rose, and there’s this description from here:

    nature-creates-stuff

  5. Jude Says:

    Thanks for the further info. I’ve wondered how medieval artists thought. Why and how artists from all sorts of other eras thought too. Like Egyptian art where animals were portrayed with amazing accuracy but every person was shown in profile and looked the same – although people were more accurately done in statues. Chinese art depicted birds and most animals well but lions looked weird and most people looked the same. Makes me wonder why.

  6. Bunk Strutts Says:

    Jude–

    I would guess that a lot of the artists were depicting animals from description by those who had discovered them, and that the latter may have exaggerated a bit. Few ancient cultures had enough leisure time or wealth to support artistry. Egypt was an exception.

    What puzzles me is how long it took for artists to figure out how perspective works.

  7. beautifulbarbadosblog Says:

    The genitalia are hidden (squeezed) between his legs so as not to offend/distract. 🙂
    Read the poem as a child. thanks for the reminder, must re-read.

  8. Bunk Strutts Says:

    beauti– Thanks for the clarification, although I can’t imagine a child’s poem that talks about hiding male genitals… 😀

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