Piercing the Unicorn

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Now here’s as elegant a visual metaphor for the loss of virginity as you could want. The unicorn (a symbol of virginity) is resting on the maiden’s lap. The knight has pierced it with his spear (of obvious symbolism, as is the horn of the unicorn). Blood flows from the wound (also of obvious symbolism) [Read More...]

Satan is Just a Little Blond Girl in Pigtails Handing Out Fruit

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The Temptation is much easier to understand when you look at it this way: Although, yeah: the snake body thing should have been a dead giveaway. Think about it, though: we have nasty visual images of Satan in our mind because artists need to convey evil visually, but Paul tells us that Satan himself masquerades as [Read More...]

Incredibly Beautiful: The Prayer Book of Claude de France

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The Morgan Library has put up a digital facsimile of this tiny prayer book, along with an excellent illustrated lecture on its significance. The book is a companion to the Book of Hours, and is less than 3″x2.5″  in size with dazzling illuminations.  The Morgan describes this recent aquisition as a tiny, jewel-like manuscript that [Read More...]

A Monk and a Nun in the Stocks

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He’s just grateful his name isn’t Abelard.   [Read more...]

“In Search of Steve Ditko”

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I took my son and a friend to the Philadelphia Comic Con last Saturday, so I’ve spent the last few days immersed in classic comics. That got me to poking around the web, and I stumbled upon “In Search of Steve Ditko,” a documentary from the BBC in which Jonathan Ross explores the strange world [Read More...]

Always Bring Your Weasel to a Basilisk Fight

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If only this man had remembered to bring his weasel when he decided to draw on a basilisk… From Pliny’s Natural History: There is the same power also in the serpent called the basilisk. It is produced in the province of Cyrene, being not more than twelve fingers in length. It has a white spot [Read More...]

The Round Book: Codex Rotundus

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Coming from Bruges at the end of the 15th century, the Codex Rotundus is a 266-page miniature Book of Hours in Latin and French. The pages are only 9cm across.   [Read more...]

Jesus–The Revenge!: A Medieval Drama

Signs and portents warning of the destruction of Jerusalem .

The British Museum recently acquired a beautiful illuminated manuscript of a fairly obscure mystery play called Mystère de la Vengeance de Nostre Seigneur Ihesu Crist. In English: Mystery of the Vengeance of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Oh yeah, now we’re talking. I can see the movie poster already. “He’s back, and this time … it’s personal.” [Read More...]


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