Monday, July 26, 2010

Orion from Leiden Aratea

Orion the Hunter from the Leiden Aratea. This is one of the great works of the Carolingian Renaissance, which how shows how thoroughly classical art was revived. This is such a close copy of its late antique model that is it was at one time thought to be of late antique provenence itself. Note the use of shading to model Orion's musculature. This had not been done in a realistic way for centuries when this manuscript was made. The text in this manuscript is know as the Aratea is by Germanicus and is based on the Phainomena of Aratus and is an introduction to the constellations. Germanicus is best remembered as the popular adoptive grandson of Augustus and grandfather of Nero. In Graves I, Claudius he was poisoned by Livia and Caligula. The Leiden university library has posted a digital facsimile of the manuscript here.

Leiden Aratea Leiden, Universiteitsbibliotheek, Voss. lat. Q 79, f. 58v.

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