Friday, May 11, 2012

Recommended: Flemish Miniatures show at the Bibliothèque nationale


If you, probable medievalist, are not at this very moment publishing amazing books (seriously! AVMEO!) and joining the manic symposium of Kalamazoo, and--so long as I'm multiplying conditions--you are right at this moment in Paris and love late medieval Flemish miniatures of a political cast, then drag your bones to the Bibliothèque nationale to see the Miniatures Flamandes. I did today et moi je ne regrette rien.

If you can't spare the time, then try it from home! You ought to dig into the show's extraordinary website. If it's too much for you--or your students--you have my sympathies. With all the interactive manuscript resources available online now, I suspect there hasn't been as great a time to be a medievalist since, oh, 1380. Or so.

A hint on the interactive books. You can get a permalink to a page by hitting the print icon, as this will open a print preview (aperçu avant impression). So long as the appropriate script is working, you might even be able to zoom in. A few favorites: from Froissart, here's the famous Bal de Ardents (written about, among other places, in Susan Crane's Performing the Self) where Yvain, Gaston Fébus's favorite son, burned up while dressed in a wildman suit. And, from another work, here's a giant, roughly knighthandled. Above, from BnF, fr 9342, f 185, we see that Bucephalous, Alexander's loyal (and anthropophagous!) horse has died: here it's being buried, while Alexander builds it a commemorative city, Bucephala. This is the first medieval illustration I've seen of animal internment: if you know any others, do please pass them on to me.

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