The 16th-century scribes of Bruges had a lot of fun illuminating this musical manuscript, because it’s full of gorgeous, fascinating and downright bizarre illustrations. The song book is called the Cambrai Chansonnier and was made for the pleasure of aristocratic local Zeghere van Male. Continue reading »
In the Late Middle Ages, there were illustrated books called Danse Macabre or the Dance of Death which were used to focus the mind on life’s short stretch.
These books were heavily illustrated with pictures of Death or a gnarly skeleton fresh from the grave a-coming-up to claim both high and low. The peasant and the King were equal before Death, neither could escape its cold bony grasp. The Princess and the child were not spared. Understandable when the average life expectancy was between 30 and 40-years-of-age in the 1500s. The rich and privileged may have lived slightly longer but the majority died before forty. Continue reading »