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VMs: The Painter and the Retoucher
After looking at a couple dozen pages in close-up, my impression is
that the Retoucher went through most of the manuscript, carefully but
rather mechanically retracing many drawing strokes and letters -- on
some pages, almost all of the text.
In some cases it seems that he was not quite sure of what letter he
was retracing. In some cases he may have misunderstood the drawing.
For instance, check the leftmost nymph at the top of page f73v
(Sagittarius). The Retoucher apparently mistook the bottom edge of the
nymph's leg for the top edge of a "barrel", and provided the rest
of the barrel -- presumably thinking that it had faded out completely.
Ditto for the next nyph. Presumably he then noticed the mistake
and so left the barrels unfinished.
My impression is that (1) he was someone who valued the book quite a
lot and spent a long time on it; and (2) he did not understand it.
The Painter too did not understand the book, but apparently did not
have much regard for it, and did some very stupid things on occasion.
For instance, check the first two roots on the bottom row of page
f89r1. There is a large root drawn on the opposite side of the vellum,
which bleeds through to this side. When the Painter colored the two
roots with brown, he avoided the bleedthrough as if it were part of
All the best,
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