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Bawdy illustrations from Jeanne de Montbaston

These amusing bas-de-page images come from a mid-14th century manuscript of the ‘Roman de la Rose’.

Image 1: A nun harvests disembodied penises from a phallus tree.

Images 2-4: A monk and a nun engaging in a taboo relationship.

Image 5: A monk hands a nun a large disembodied penis. 

Image 6: A nun leads a monk is by a chain attached to his penis.

This risqué marginalia comes from a husband and wife team of Parisian artists, Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, who copied and illuminated manuscripts. Jeanne operated independently after Richard’s death, the timing of which has lead some scholars to speculate that the whimsical illuminations in this particular manuscript were solely her creations. The images can be interpreted in a number of ways, possibly as a parody of spiritual love, a representation of the fear of dominating women and male impotence or purely as a humorous diversion.

Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. Fr. 25526, f. 106v.

Page-turn view of the entire manuscript.

Sources 1. 2. 3.

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