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Real Hell … and not the DMV waiting room kind …

November 14, 2011

Western European visual depictions of the Last Judgement and especially those souls tortured for all eternity are replete with cannibalism, impalings, roastings and all sorts of unpleasantness.  Fantastical Bosch/Breugel-like figures — part human, part animal, part who knows what — are often sprinkled throughout paintings, drawings and manuscripts.  On December 6th at Sotheby’s in London a remarkable manuscript is coming to auction.  It dates to c.1456-65 and the illustrated leaf features the following: “a soul pulled from his corpse (here a skeleton with its feet in the fires of Hell) by a hairy demon with horns, a hooked nose and face emerging from his chest, as another with faces on his knees claws at his stomach and stabs him in the head with a two halves of a broken pilgrim’s staff.”  One particularly entertaining detail are the faces on the knees of the figure at left. The work is estimated at 40,000-60,000 GBP. We’ll see how it does.

“]
LOT 45 WALTER HILTON, SCALA PERFECTIONIS, IN LATIN, WITH MIDDLE ENGLISH AND LATIN VERSE, ILLUSTRATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM [ENGLAND (PROBABLY OXFORD), THIRD QUARTER OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY (MOST PROBABLY 1456-65)

 

 

Detail

 

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