The Earliest Known Depiction of Witches On Brooms, and What It Tells Us About Evil

This marginal illustration comes from Le champion des dames (A Defense of Women) by Martin Le France, 1451. Martin was secretary to both Antipope Felix V and Pope Nicholas V. His work is a 24,000-verse (!) poem extolling the virtues of women, but also condemning heresy and corruption. The witches are identified as Vaudois, or Waldensians, who were accused of practicing witchcraft…

Christ the Pharmacist

There is a minor tradition in art of depicting Christ as the Divine Pharmacist, an Apothecary of the Soul, mixing and compounding the medicine for mankind. In this illumination from a 16th century manuscript, He is shown writing out the prescription to treat original sin. There’s no word on whether Adam and Eve had a co-pay….

Saints on Little Propeller Chairs

I have no idea what’s up here. Here’s the entire page, which is an illumination from an MS of the Commentary on the Apocalypse by Beatus. The floating heads don’t help matters. Here’s the previous page: And the facing page: It’s a commentary on Revelation 4:3, with the red text at the top reading: Et qui sedebat similis…