Saturday, September 12, 2009

Das Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus

If your childhood was anything like mine you spent a fair amount of time inventing imaginary beasts. The zoology exquisite corpse: walrus hind quarters supporting an ape midsection with an anteater's long snout and stripey head. In spotting these images on BibliOdyssey I was instantly transported to my childhood self.

"Known as 'Das Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus' (animal book), this 1460 Vatican Library Manuscript by the Italian humanist, Pier Candido Decembrio ... describes all known real and mythical animals, but the wonderful illustrations were a 16th century addition to the manuscript. One way we know this is because the rhinoceros drawing is an exact copy of Albrecht Dürer's famous 1515 stylised depiction of the animal."

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