Medieval Artists Were Really Bad At Drawing Lions

While medieval artists excelled at painting religious scenes and portraits of royalty, lions offered an altogether different challenge. It looks like the medieval painters never laid eyes on a real lion. Continue reading »

Grotesque Medieval Music Sheets From Chansonnier of Zeghere van Male from 1542

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 »

Medieval Visions of Hell, Satan, Demons And Cabbalistic Signs From A 1775 Compendium Of Horrors

These are Visions of Hell, Satan and Demons according to the Compendium rarissimum totius Artis Magicae sistematisatae per celeberrimos Artis hujus Magistros, 1775 – (translation: “A rare summary of the entire Magical Art by the most famous Masters of this Art.”) Continue reading »

These Beautiful 16th Century Watercolors Illustrate the History of Comets And Meteors

Humans have long regarded comets with a swirling mix of wonder and fear: The cosmic characters figure on Babylonian tablets and a sprawling, 11th-century European tapestry. Before scientists knew exactly what caused these bright smears across the sky, comets were often interpreted as portents of doom or destruction. (Occasionally, they were blamed for less-dramatic shenanigans, such as inspiring chickens to lay oddly shaped eggs.) Given their rich history, it makes sense that an unknown artist in 16th-century Flanders compiled a lavishly illustrated compendium of comets blazing as humans cowered or gawked. Continue reading »

Wilhelm Werner Von Zimmer’s “Dance Of Death” From 1540

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 »

Why So Many Medieval Manuscripts Depict Butt Trumpets?

Knights fighting giant snails, rabbits murdering people, countless paintings of cats licking their butts, weird elephants …and now men and animals playing trumpets with their rear ends… Medieval art is really confusing and quite random. If you have any idea why artists were so obsessed with these themes, please leave a comment below. Continue reading »

Why So Many Medieval Manuscripts Depict Violent Rabbits?

Medieval art sure is weird. We’ve already featured People Happily Dying, Battle Snails and Cats Licking Their Butts galleries. For some strange reason medieval artists also loved painting violent rabbits on a murderous rampage. If you have any idea why, please leave a comment below. Continue reading »

People In Medieval Art Who’re Getting Murdered But Just Don’t Give A Damn

Medieval manuscripts were the imageboards of their day, full of murderous illustrations, however for some strange reason many people look as if they were bored with life anyway and their killer did them a service all while enjoying it himself. Scroll down to see the funniest examples of medieval art where people are getting killed but just don’t give a damn. Continue reading »