Bibliothèque Municipale de Valenciennes, MS 320
(Liber de natura rerum)
|Produced:||France (Abbaye de Saint-Amand), 13th century|
|Location:||Bibliothèque Municipale de Valenciennes, Valenciennes, France|
|Author:||Thomas de Cantimpré|
|Dimensions:||Height: 23 cm Width: 15.6 cm|
The Liber de natura rerum. Begins: "Naturas rerum in diversis actorum scriptis late per orbem sparsas inveniens...". This is an encyclopedia covering many topics.
Color initials, some of gold; small paintings in the decorated letters; many small painted illustrations.
This richly illustrated manuscript includes the twenty books of the encyclopaedia written about 1240 by the Dominican Thomas de Cantimpré. It is a compilation of all knowledge of the time on natural science, and draws on sources as varied as Isidore of Seville, Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, and the Physiologus. There is an illustrated section on the monstrous human races.
The artist does not appear to have imitated a model, but rather followed the indications which were written in the margin, in French, by the head of workshop. There are hundreds of small (sometimes tiny) full color images, most with gold leaf borders and many with gold backgrounds. Many of the beasts and birds illustrated do not appear in bestiaries. In general the same basic forms are used for groups of animals, with only minor variations.
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