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12 October 2020, 14:26 | Updated: 12 October 2020, 15:26
Scribes in the 16th century clearly had too much fun with these *ahem* questionable illustrations…
Renaissance music transcriptions contained some of the most elaborate, ornate illustrations.
And by experiment, we mean draw the most bizarre illustrations we’ve possibly ever seen. No, really.
Warning: some of this content may be deemed NSFW…
monk: just a normal letter ‘K’ please— ruby (@roobeekeane) October 9, 2020
Look, we get it. Scribes just wanted a way to jazz up a music manuscript, right?
What’s the harm in elaborately transforming a bog-standard letter ‘K’ into an illustration of a human and a bird performing some acrobatic move, while *looks closer* said bird defecates on the human’s back?
And surely there’s rational thinking behind drawing the letter ‘M’ as a man projectile vomiting while a pig has a sniff?
monk: just a normal letter ‘M’ please— ruby (@roobeekeane) June 21, 2020
“In the pig's defense, it doesn’t always eat vomit,” reassured one Twitter user in response.
In the pig's defense, it doesn't always eat vomit pic.twitter.com/Ezva2VsAjm— Timmy O'Danaos (@ODanaos) June 22, 2020
Curious for more? Of course you are.
We’re thinking these are depicting the letters ‘A’ and ‘K’...
Chansonnier de Zeghere van Male, a book of music. pic.twitter.com/uLU9NTyXKN— KG (@tarab_ish) June 22, 2020
And how about a 16th-century Dr. Seuss-style illustration? 10 points if you can guess what it’s supposed to be.
This letter ‘E’ is either a human-eating demonic creature, or, a really inventive monster-themed diving board...
The letter ‘F’ for “I’m about to faint if I stay in the headstand any longer”?
The illustrations are from the song book Cambrai Chansonnier, which was made for the pleasure of aristocratic local Zeghere van Male.
We’ve picked some of the more bizarre drawings, but there are even more pictures from the manuscript here.
The Renaissance period was, after all, a time of great art revival...