Gravity in Medieval Manuscript Marginalia

Mario and Medieval Manuscripts

Carl Pyrdum of Got Medieval (with a little help from Mario) makes a clever argument for the illustration of gravity in the margins of medieval manuscripts:

In order to keep the man and his goat in the middle from falling right on through the bottom of the page, the artist draws in little patches of ground beneath them. Mario, no stranger to platforms that hang in the air as if bolted to the background, would feel right at home with this arrangement.

See the original blog post here.

By arybin

Assistant Director, Visual Resources Collection, University of Chicago
THATCamp Organizer

2 replies on “Gravity in Medieval Manuscript Marginalia”

And actually, the same argument could be made for anti-gravity as well (see e.g. puffy clouds beneath or enclosing angels, god’s hand, saints and sundry heavenly hosts). Here’s two canonical examples: Brunelleschi’s Bapistry competition panel (,_sacrificio_di_Isacco.JPG) and St. John on Patmos ( from the Très Riches Heures. Mario won’t do here, alas.. maybe Portal? (

Ha! Great examples. Thanks for pointing out the original blog post, as well. Maybe Mario will join his anti-gravity friends when he finally runs out of 1-ups…

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