Disputacioun Betwyx the Body and Wormes, by Unknown Miniaturist (1460, c.)



Disputacioun Betwyx the Body and Wormes, by Unknown Miniaturist (1460, c.)


"This colored pen drawing presents a monument known as a transi tomb which gives two views of the body of the deceased. In this case in the compartment above the woman is beautifully dressed, reclining with her hands folded in prayer, and further distinguished by the heraldic signs of many noble families. Below she is a cadaver in a shroud, her head a grinning skull, her fine clothing gone, and her flesh a feast for worms, lizards, and toads. The details of each figure are carefully represented for greater contrast. The richly dressed woman wears a red, flounced robe, a decorative bodice, perhaps made from ermine, and a lined mantle. Her multicolored, horned headdress with a veil bears witness to fashionable tastes, while the crown marks her high social status. She rests in comfort on a rich pillow decorated with four tassels. In the grave below the woman has lost all these marks of distinction. She has pulled a scrap of the shroud across her hips as a last defense against the vermin. Unlike the figure above, she turns toward her viewers and engages them directly while they read her words about the inevitability of death and the need to prepare for it (see the full inscription below)." (Description from "Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index", https://inpress.lib.uiowa.edu/feminae/DetailsPage.aspx?Feminae_ID=32504, Archived in:


Unknown Miniaturist, English (Unknown)


1460, c.


Pen and ink with wash.
Dimensions: 18 × 18 cm

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