(6) The Story in the Pictures (pages 38 through 45)

17. page 38 Right – Massacre of the Innocents (?) – Four soldiers with different weapons march in a row over a hilly landscape, in the night, as shown by the shining star and moon. Their commander on horseback  watches as one of the soldiers pokes a baby with his spear.

Something is missing from this drawing, it is so aloof and un-dramatic. The massacre of the infant boys right under the eyes of Herod is one of the most tragic scenes in the NT. The  The Coventry Carol – a 16th century Christmas Carol (1:00) tells the story and  conveys the drama.

Lully, Lullay
Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

O sisters two, how may we do,
For to preserve this day;
This poor Youngling for whom we do sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Herod the King, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day;
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children, to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child, for Thee,
And ever’ mourn and day;
For Thy parting, neither say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Lully, Lullay
Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

The Spinola Hours, c.1510 - Master of James IV of Scotland - from The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Spinola Hours, c.1510 – Master of James IV of Scotland
– from The J. Paul Getty Museum

No painter left out the mothers from this terrible scene, for their grief is the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” (Mathew 2:18). But, in the CR, women are left out.

18. page 41 Right – The Trial of Jesus – but which one of them? Christ was taken to Annas, Caiaphas, the Pharisees, Pilate, Herod Antipas and Pilate again.  Here Jesus is held by a soldier, his hands are free (they are always represented tied, from the arrest on) and he is blessing the sitting man, who wears a crown and holds a lily, probably Herod. Between them is hanging a shiny spider… or a lamp.

The wall-painting from Broens struck me not only because it is very similar in proportions and composition, with the characters placed as on a theater scene framed by two columns, but also because of the ceiling ornament  – the coiled lilies. Except that the seated character is wearing a mitre and holding a book.

Jesus presented to Annas - Broens church fresco c. 1525-35 - from Mills-Kronborg Collection (M-K 05-069)

Jesus presented to Annas – Broens church fresco c. 1525-35
– from Mills-Kronborg Collection (M-K 05-069)

Here Herod holds a scepter tipped with a lily.

Christ before Herod - Kongsted church fresco c. 1430- from Mills-Kronborg Collection (M-K 15-082)

Christ before Herod – Kongsted church fresco c. 1430-
from Mills-Kronborg Collection (M-K 15-082)

19. page 42 Left – Nativity – A person is lying on the floor, with a child emerging from her groins, near a basin with water.  On the left is Jesus, as identified by the halo, the blessing hand and the two letters above his head (more about this in Divine Designators) and on the right is a king, with crown and a lily in his hand.

This is a very interesting example as how in the CR well established themes are re-interpreted in a bizarre way. It is so twisted I don’t know where to start to explain it. Maybe with this:

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mosaic at the Vatopedi monastery - from Orthodoxy Icons

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, mosaic at the Vatopedi monastery – from Orthodoxy Icons

The mother, St. Ann, is lying in bed, while the maids take the new born child and bathe her.

This is the way birth is depicted if it happens under normal circumstances, weather it’s about Mary or John the Baptist.

The birth of Jesus happened in a stable and his mother was assisted only by St. Joseph, they did not have, presumably, midwives, a water basin or even cloths for the baby. Or did they?

The Nativity, miniature - The Gospels, 1336 by Sargis Pidzak - from Armenica, History of Armenia

The Nativity, miniature – The Gospels, 1336 by Sargis Pidzak – from Armenica, History of Armenia

Everybody is present, angels, shepherds, kings, Joseph and even three women to help with the baby’s first bath. Had the author of the CR seen a similar painting and misunderstood the role of the woman with the baby on her lap? Selected only the characters that looked more interesting to him, where the action was? And didn’t the Universe collapse as adult Jesus attended the birth of baby Jesus?

The Nativity with the Reclining Madonna is typical for Eastern Christianity.

20. Page 44 Left – The Flagellation, Coronation with Thorns and Mocking of Jesus, or rather The Instruments of Passion – each of the four soldiers have one instrument of torment: the scourge, the purple robe, the long sticks with the crown of thorns and the bunch of thorns, and, of course, the pillar.

Flagellation – with a scourge and a bunch of thorns

Flagellation of Christ, Ostankino Museum, c. 16-17 century, from Wikimedia Commons

Flagellation of Christ, Ostankino Museum, c. 16-17 century, from Wikimedia Commons

Flagellation in the back, coronation and mocking in the front.

MASTER of the Lyversberg Passion,(detail) Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, from Wikimedia Commons

MASTER of the Lyversberg Passion,(detail)
Wallraf-Richartz-Museum, Cologne, from Wikimedia Commons

21. Page 45 Left – The Mocking of Christ – The berobed and becrowned  Christ is seated on a chair in front of Pilate probably, who is showing his clean hands.

Pilate is sometimes painted with a crown.

Jesus in front of Pilate, from Mills-Kronborg Collection

Jesus in front of Pilate, from Mills-Kronborg Collection, Aegerup, (M-K 31-040)

And Jesus is sometimes painted seated in front of Pilate.

Duccio di Buonisegna -  1308-11. Tempera on wood panel. Museo dell'Opera del Duomo, Siena, Italy - from Olga's Gallery

Duccio di Buonisegna – 1308-11. Tempera on wood panel. Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Siena, Italy – from Olga’s Gallery

22. page 45 Right – snake

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2 Responses to (6) The Story in the Pictures (pages 38 through 45)

  1. Pingback: Étienne 1er de Hongrie | Reading Voynich

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