Bread in the 15th-century


BY EBERHARD KÖNIG AND CARLOS MIRANDA GARCÍA-TEJEDOR
 
The Bibliothèque nationale de France is a trove of hidden treasures, for, although researchers visit this unique library time and time again, its contents are seemingly endless. Manuscript Latin 9333 has a very special story. It apparently went missing in 1848 for unknown reasons, only to appear a hundred years later in 1948 for the first time in the hands of a researcher in the reading room. This researcher, none other than Otto Pächt, recognised its outstanding artistic worth and announced his find as a “rediscovery”. Another fifty years were to pass, however, before the particular appeal of this remarkable manuscript was once again remembered. Now, at last, a facsimile edition acknowledges the book’s true importance.
 
 
 
 








We now move on to the bakery where a woman next to the counter can be seen watching a young baker removing several large, round, white loaves from the oven (f. 61). The basket on the counter is already full and several more loaves lie on the table. Whereas the back door in the Italian image leads into a dark room, the German artist depicts it opening onto a magnificent landscape in the small inset with shapes of hills or perhaps mountains vaguely suggested in the distance, and a blue sky. One remarkable detail in this miniature is that, as we know, a bakery requires a chimney, hence the one on the roof.