Saturday, June 22, 2013

Could The Voynich Manuscript Be The Very First Ever Known Example Of "Outsider Art"?

This image courtesy of the Nasa/apod website, here

It's a leisurely and grey morning in Brussels, and so over my coffee today I had the great pleasure of reading about the Voynich Manuscript on the BBC News website. Not being a Medieval Art specialist, especially when it concerns manuscripts, it's the first I've heard of it.

Apparently there are tons of theories about it (is it a hoax? how come nobody can decipher its coded language?) etc.  but nobody seems to mention what immediately jumped to my mind when I saw those gorgeous images: could this be the earliest conserved example of "outsider art", ever?

The style of the images brings to mind everybody from Henry Darger to  Hilma af Klint, and as for the "coded language" nobody can read, well maybe only a schizophrenic person could have written it? And in that case, whatever the meaning of the language doesn't matter at all, it's just beautiful to look at.

Both Medieval Art and so-called "Outsider Art" lie outside of my area of competence, so this is only an hypothesis I'm throwing to the winds, but I don't see why a mentally ill person stemming from a well-off enough family wouldn't have been able to produce it.

This image from Wikipedia.

Whatever it is, it's a gorgeous piece of art. I can only recommend you look for images of it, and I'm hoping someone will one day publish a beautiful (and affordable) fac-simile of it.

UPDATE: since I published this post about 20 minutes ago, CT-based painter Matthew Best sent me a link about all things Voynich Manuscript, where I found to my great pleasure there was a downloadable pdf. of it in its entirety. Many thanks to Matthew, and I hope you will enjoy this as much as do.

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