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VMs: Re: Spa architecture and inspirational sources
Question of the day: was the inspiration for the balneological scene in f84r
the result of direct observation, a scene from a printed book, a manuscript
or simply the imagination of the VMS author?
I'd say almost certainly a combination of (a) direct observation and (b)
authorial imagination. To my eye, there are no obvious signs of the VMS'
author(s) having been influenced by print culture, so I'd be fairly
surprised if books or incunabula were an influence here. :-/
There are many, many books on spas: they feature prominently in many
accounts of life (especially Northern Italian) in the 15th century.
One wonders about the Alhambresque vaults in f84r - do they reflect an
architecture of some kind, or are they only an ornamental extension of the
tissue-like drawings that fill previous pages of the manuscript? Is f84r
based in a scene from an actual spa?
Certainly, from the paintings and illustrations of spas I've seen, f84r
(and indeed the whole balneo section) is very consistent with what I'd
expect. But don't forget to consider the contents of the bifolios in a more
correct order - this would link the three large baths together, for example.
Noted in The New York Academy of Medicine Special Collections'
Malloch Room Newsletter 2:
IIRC, this special collection has a huge number of books, articles, and
even incunabula on all matters balneological. This should be the place to
start for anyone seriously searching for visual parallels with the VMS'
balneological section. Anyone here from New York? :-)
Has anyone in the list done any serious research on early balneological
The problems appear to be (a) there are *so* many rare balneological works
to search (except in New York), and (b) balneology is a relatively
unfashionable area of history, so properly indexed & cross-referenced
academic works are hard to find.
AFAICR, I've posted up some relevant balneo quotations from books I've read
to the list, at the beginning of this year: these may help give you some
extra insight into what's involved here.
Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....