A curiosity among illuminated manuscript scholars concerns this work:
Depicted in the 3rd manuscript codex of the Bible of Jean Paul von Torino, the image was a mystery long before the invention of the iPhone it now clearly depicts Christ using.
Jean Paul von Tornio himself was born in Spain in 1488 and purchased the manuscript from an unknown monk in 1512. The monk was said to have been a very strange man who was confined to a monastery against his will over his heretical statements. Though the monk who drew the image remains nameless, extensive records of his heretical behavior from before his career in manuscripts began exist:
In 1494, the monk arrived in Barcelona (then called West Paris) on the night of a peculiar storm, which was recorded by one of the worlds first meteorologists, Ismail Jones-MacMallon, who stated in his Principia Meteorologica that “thee storme hath no like in history, for it consisteth of but one godfinger (lightning strike) and no godflatus (thunder), ande where the finger smote there appeared a man clad in naught but his tightest of whities, who smelleth of great smoke and fyre.”
The man then proclaimed himself to be a student of “Stephane Hawkling” who had invented a machine capable of sending him backwards through centuries. He was proclaimed immediately to be a madman and the inquisition set to exorcizing the demons that deranged him. During his exorcism he was said to have spoken many blasphemies, including claims that there was no god, Jesus was a myth, and that Spain would win a great war over the holy grail, which records elucidate his phrasing to be, “win the world-cup.”
Once the inquisition failed to change his mind, he fell victim to what may be the first recorded lobotomy in Europe, which was performed by the inquisitor general with a tool called, “El Palo de Pokey.” He was then said to have been at peace and was delivered to the closest monastery to live out his days.
As fortune would have it, this was the monastery of the Brothers Of The Veneration Of The Holy Prepuce, who were masters of illuminated manuscripts. The unfortunate man was taught to illustrate, creating the work seen above, as well as several other curiosities which are said to depict subjects such as metal ships with wings that sailed in the sky, a portrait of a beautiful woman he named “Gall Goddoth,” a bizarre and impossible bird-like animal he called a “Porgue,” and a grotesque orange-faced tyrant spewing feces from his mouth.
Nothing more is known of the mysterious monk save for a tale told by Jean Paul von Tornio of their meeting:
“The man was most curious indeed, he was skilled at mathematics and was a master with his quill. He kept his hair in a strange style that he compared to a flock of seagulls, and insisted on cleansing himself daily with alkali and cassia oil. Most peculiar of all is his skill at song. He amuses the monks often with lively melodies in an incomprehensible language. When asked where he learned the songs, he replied with his most mysterious claim of all- That they were all written by beetles.”
I share with you my first Merlin illumination: the Map of Camelot. Bear with me, for I am a beginner striving to learn this medieval art on my own… This was created on lamb skin ( I know, I know, but parchment is animal skin), with 23 K gold leaves and 24 K mineral gold. This map was made with a lot of patience and passion!