(5) The Story in the Pictures (pages 21 through 36)

10. page 21 Left – Adoration of the Magi. Unequivocal, unmistakable and yet, I had a hard time to find a match. One with the Holy Family under a roof, Bethlehem in the distance, the three kings in a row and the guiding star. Everything is marked with a cross: the shed, the star and the gifts brought by the three kings.

Pretty close,

Giotto, fresco in the Scrovegni chapel, Padua - from Wikipedia

Giotto, fresco in the Scrovegni chapel, Padua – from Wikipedia

but, I look for magi with crowns, bearing their gifts in covered chalices .

Searching  through the excellent online archive of Koninklijke Bibliotheek I found dozens of pictures meeting the criteria. Alas, when there’s Joseph, there’s no city, when there’s city, there’s no Joseph.

Book of Hours, c. 1450

Book of Hours, c. 1450, from Koninklijke Bibliotheek

Book of Hours, c. 1440-1450,

Book of Hours, c. 1440-1450, from Koninklijke Bibliotheek

When there’s city and there’s Joseph, there’s no star.

Book of hours, c. 1500 - from Koninkljike Bibliotheek

Book of hours, c. 1500 – from Koninkljike Bibliotheek

11. page 24 Left – Another divider. This was a short one.

I can squeeze in another batch.

12. page 25 Right – Circumcision of Jesus (?) A slightly shining baby is passed between two persons of unclear gender, over something that looks like a font with water, on a mountaintop, between two cities or just two buildings, identified by letters. The pose is common for two moments in the early  life of Jesus: the circumcision, which happened eight days after his birth and the presentation at the temple, where he was taken forty days after his birth, both episodes described in the Gospel of Luke (2:21 and 2:22-40). None of these events are taking place al fresco, on a mountaintop, between two cities.

Circumcision of Christ - Fra Angelico, 1450 - from Wikipedia

Circumcision of Christ – Fra Angelico, 1450 – from Wikipedia

Presentation at the temple -  Hans Holbein the Elder, 1500-1501 - from Wikipedia

Presentation at the temple – Hans Holbein the Elder, 1500-1501 – from Wikipedia

In the Arabic Gospel of the Infancy of the Saviour, an apocryphal writing thought to have influenced the Qur’an (controversial), the child Jesus was circumcised in a cave, the same cave in which he was born. This is the closest explanation to the outdoors setting of the scene. What we know with certainty from this drawing is that one of the cities, the one on the right,  is Jerusalem. And this is easy to prove. Just look at the sign above it, the one that looks like a bird. And then at the picture from page 29 Right – The Arrest of Jesus (the second next).

13. page 26 Left – Crucifixion of Christ or Adoration of the Crucified Christ. Saint Longinus prays at the feet of the crucified Jesus, detached from his fellow soldiers, so in position as in attitude and clothing. His spear is wedged at the bottom of the cross and leaning at an impossible angle that makes it all the more visible and identifies its owner.

(5) The Story in the Pictures (pages 21 through 36)

Angels collecting the holy blood seems to be a theme that encompassed Europe.

Crucifixion fresco - c.1425 - Lysabild church - from the Mills-Kronborg collection of Danish Church Wall Paintings

Crucifixion fresco – c.1425 – Lysabild church – from the
Mills-Kronborg collection of Danish Church Wall Paintings

Soldier piercing the side of the Lord - Miniature in he Missal of the Metropolitan Bishop Stephen of Ungro-Vlachia, 17th century - the Romanian Academic Library

Soldier piercing the side of the Lord – Miniature in he Missal of the Metropolitan Bishop Stephen of Ungro-Vlachia, 17th century – the Romanian Academic Library

The Danish fresco is badly damaged and the bottom part is lost, but I am sure that in its heyday it did not lack  the standard characters, the same as in the following painting, as in the one thousand and one crucifixions I have seen.

Missal from Southern Germany, c. 1485 - from the Schoyen Collection

Missal from Southern Germany, c. 1485 – from the Schoyen Collection

The Holy Mother of Jesus is always in the scene, sometimes accompanied by other Mary’s, often by John the Evangelist. Yet, they were expelled from the CR drawing.

14. page 29 Left – This one comes with a quick answer: I don’t know. Obviously, two guys share a meal in a seemingly colloquial way. But as Jesus is the one who “… came eating and drinking…”(Matthew 11:19),  I don’t know which of his shared meals is portrayed here, if he is in it at all.

15. page 29 Right – The Arrest of Jesus. Three figures on the left, the one in the middle identified by letters as Jesus, under a large tree, a messy band of soldiers with tall spears, under a starry sky. Another armed group is seen below.  The moon is on the left, the sun on the right, above the spires of a city. And right under the sinking sun, merging with its coiled rays, the letter seen in the picture from page 25. Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane, just outside Jerusalem. This city has to be Jerusalem and the bird-like sign must stand for Jerusalem!

This is the drawing where the author of the CR got overambitious. He squeezed into a picture not much larger than a stamp: a garden, Jesus, two apostles, an indefinite number of soldiers, a city, and a big part of the seen Universe. And missed the one detail that is never missing from similar pictures, large or small. The betrayal, the kiss of Judas.

Bocatti got them all but made his olive trees look like a pine grove (they have olives though).

The Arrest of Jesus - Giovanni di Piermatteo Boccati, c. 1447, Perugia - from Wikipedia

The Arrest of Jesus – Giovanni di Piermatteo Boccati, c. 1447, Perugia – from Wikipedia

Fra Angelico gets points for the trees.

The Kiss of Judas, fresco, 1437-1446 - Fra Angelico - in San Marco, Florence - from Wikipedia

The Kiss of Judas, fresco, 1437-1446 – Fra Angelico – in San Marco, Florence – from Wikipedia

16. Page 36 Right – a very elaborate divider.  Matthew 26:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, when He said unto him, “Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny Me thrice.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

09bba-div35b

This entry was posted in Codex Rohonc, Rohonczi. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to (5) The Story in the Pictures (pages 21 through 36)

  1. Pingback: La Rencontre | Reading Voynich

  2. Pingback: Lettre digamma | Reading Voynich

  3. Pingback: Titulus Crucis | Reading Voynich

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