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Re: VMs: Colored paints, touch-ups, and the michiton text
> [[Gabriel:] I wonder if the blue pigment when applied thinly has a
> slightly different hue. Let's not forget that the pigments are not
> behaving like ideal filters (which is what the colour
> deconvolution algorithm is based on).
Indeed, on the topmost flower of f9v, especially, one can see the
individual grains of the pigment. So the blue paint at least appears
to be home-ground (or very cheap).
I cannot tell what instrument the Painter was using, perhaps several
of them. On the petals of f9v, the blue paint was apparently applied
with a very broad, stiff, and coarse brush, berhaps a chewed-upon reed
or twig (a standard artist tool of the times, it seems). Note the
cloud-of-dots appearance of the paint where it is lightly applied.
Where the blue paint is thicker, one can see that it was rather
liquid, since it pooled into depressions of the vellum.
Elsewhere, especially along stems and leaves, the painter seems to
have used a broad-nibbed quill pen (about twice or thrice as broad as
the drawing/writing one); one can sometimes see the individual
strokes, with the characteristic double-track appearance.
However, Painter's pen strokes are always very crude and irregular, as
if he was no used to handling a pen. (Contrast with the text and
outlines, which indicate an experienced writer.)
I have not seen clear evidence that Painter ever used a soft hair
brush, like the Chinese writing brushes or modern artist brushes. Yet
I believe that such brushes were known and used by professional
European Medieval artists. Is that so?
> There is, I seem to remember, a single "phi" in the lowest petal
> of that flower. Doesn't it look like a short eva <f> without the
> top horizontal stroke?
Indeed, actually two of them, one on each lower petal.
I have been looking at the "rot" on the trunk of f4r.
Could it be the same word as on the top petal of f9v?
Assuming that the picture in f4v was copied from some original in the
Pharma section (possibly lost), then perhaps:
-- the original version of f4v had the same word as f9v written sideways
on the trunk;
-- the person who copied the drawing did not realize that the label
was sideways, and copied it as if it was written upright, top
A wild guess, I admit, but...
As for the ink color on the Zodiac month names: Actually, on f70v (the
first half of Aries) the month name seems to be written with same ink
as the goat's outline. However, some of the drawings on that page
are very, very faint, e.g. the circular frame around the goat. This
effect cannot be due to the pen running out of ink; rather the ink
must have faded, or was worn away.
Also on several places, especially near the the left margin, there
seem to be two kinds of ink; compare e.g. the outermost band of text
with the labels just inwards from it. Also several nymphs on that page
seem to have had their left breast (only) redrawn with the darker ink.
So my guess is that this page has been extensively touched-up, by the
same person who added the month names, presumably because the original
traces had already faded considerably by then. In particular the whole
goat was probably redrawn at that time.
BTW, there seems to be two dots over the "i" of "abril", in two different
Another curio: the outermost nymph at 10:30 seems to have an EVA "r" (or
that mysterious "phi"?) written in red on her cheek. A freak accident?
BTW, I dispute the claim that the red cheeks and lips are original. To
me they seem to be just as crudely done as the rest; this is quite
obvious on the Taurus pages. Besides, on f70v at least there are
several splotches of the same red paint. Infantile carelessness?...
On the other hand, the big red splotch at 09:00 on f70v seems to show
that the red paint consisted of a solid red pigment that was prone to
flake off, mixed with a liquid (oily?) vehicle that left a fuzzy,
light brown stain on the vellum. So perhaps the red text in the
seven-planet page was NOT rewritten over a brown original, as I
conjectured; perhaps the brown bits that can be seen under the red
are just places were the red pigment flaked off.
Or, wait, perhaps there was already a fuzzy brown stain on f9v at 09:00,
and the red painter decided to "decorate" it, just for fun?
Nahh... Or maybe...
BTW, on the second taurus page at least, some of the stars have a dot
at the center (in the standard brown ink), and one of them (at about
04:00) has three dots. A magnitude code? These dots may have been
invisible on the copyflo because of the crude yellow-ocher spot that
was painted in the middle of every star.
BTW, to my eyes the Aries and Taurus pages have the crudest
drawings of the lot, worse than Pisces. Yet the writing seems
as nice and clean as it could be. I still cannot make sense of
It would seem that this manuscript had a rather complicated
All the best,
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