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Puff Piece: The Morgan Bible

Well, darn. I happened to come across a lovely facsimile of the Morgan Picture Bible, and I wanted to talk about how wonderful it was, but I’ve just wasted half-an-hour trying to find a good picture of 15v, and not only did I fail to find one, but I lost the available time for posting.

There is a scan of the individual quadrants of the page at Medieval Tymes. The image of the upper right, Samson pulling down the pillars (Judges 23-30) gives an idea of how magnificent, crazy, funny, and moving these images are, but sadly gives no sense of the whole page, and the way that the four images interact. The Morgan Library itself has an on-line exhibition with eighteen full-page images: 23v gives a sense of both the violence and the artists’ freedom from formal restraint, and 27v shows the startling technique of allowing the figures to cross from one quadrant to another. Make sure to use the zoom feature, once you’ve got a sense of the page; the details on these are superb.

Sadly, 19v is only available from Medieval Tymes in bits and pieces; in that one Peninah actually leans from the upper right into the upper left in order to stick out her tongue at Hannah, which is even better because Peninah is already in the upper left quadrant, smiling and well-behaved.

Anyway, as I said, I’m out of time for now. But it’s wonderful stuff.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,