The Apocalypse of 1313

The Apocalypse of 1313 f. 87v, The Hell of trades (cont.) – Portrait of the author of the commentary or the translator

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f. 87v, The Hell of trades (cont.) – Portrait of the author of the commentary or the translator

The Hell of trades continues, still against a backdrop of flames, on the half folio before the start of the commentary on the Apocalypse and the portrait of its author.
The demons let fly at a cobbler holding a pair of shoes in each hand and looking anxiously at the monster lifting a shoetree above him to strike him. Behind them, a devil pokes a finger into the eye of a rich man or furrier whose knees are covered with a Siberian squirrel pelt. A wine grower – subsequently turned into a woman like two of the damned in the previous painting – carrying a bunch of grapes and a billhook is jostled by the devil.
The hellish spirits underneath lay into the drapers. The one on the left is held prisoner by a devil grabbing him by the hair and an arm whilst another torturer, unfolding a length of striped cloth, prepares to measure it with a rod whilst questioning the dishonest merchant. Another trader, a draper or tailor, uses scissors to cut a piece of cloth that is also striped, whilst the demon ties a cord round his neck to strangle him. Finally, it is the turn of a porter with a heavy sack on his shoulders to be manhandled.
Beneath this last painting of the tortures endured by the damned, the author of the commentary or the translator is depicted as a barefoot monk dressed like a friar minor in a brown cowl pulled in at the waist by a cord. He is seated at a desk inside a rudimentary building with a copyist’s tools in his hands – a quill to write and a penknife to scratch his mistakes out – and is ready to write his work.

Marie-Thérèse Gousset and Marianne Besseyre
Illuminated Manuscripts Research Center, Bibliothèque nationale de France
Fragment of the Apocalypse of 1313 commentary volume


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