Phaeded wrote: ↑
24 Jun 2020, 23:29
Phoenix is even more of a problem - you can decide for yourself is the lower bird on BR151v is a phoenix, which Meiss/Kirsch unhelpfully describe as "strange winged creatures" (the last Grassi illumination in the Visconti Hours, BTW).
One of the Spanish libraries (Valencia?) has a manuscript of Ippolita Sforza (married an Aragon) who used the Phoenix as an impresa. Sorry I can't remember which manuscript...
Found the Ippolita MS - it was Valencia: https://colecciones.uv.es/s/Somni_sub/item/57823
(can't get the zoom function to work there)
The Wiki summary:
This manuscript of 1465, belonged to the Duchess of Calabria, Ippolita Maria Sforza. After his wedding with Alfonso de Aragón, Duke of Calabria, fourteen manuscripts were taken to Naples as part of his dowry. Of these codices, two are preserved in the University of Valencia, Ms. 49 and this Ms. 891 that contains the works of Virgil. This codex is one of the most beautiful manuscripts of the miniaturist known as the Master of Ippolita Sforza.
Decoration: in the frontispiece (1st page) appears the initial P with the image of Ippolita in the interior accompanied by a phoenix, emblem of immortality and resurrection. The entire manuscript presents initials, beautifully miniatures that illustrate the works of Virgil.
328 pages. 433 x 280 mm, binding 450 x 310 mm. Transcribe the Eclogues, Georgics and the Aeneid. Ancient humanistic writing on vellum. Language: Latin
Duke of Calabria Collection. Historical Library. BH. Ms. 891.
The image quality is for shit, but below is Ippolita on the Virgil MS with the phoenix at her feet (the rest of the folio is surrounded by the Visconti dove) and to the right the BR151v "strange bird" that looks close enough to Ippolita's phoenix (angular and brightly colored):
Edit: finally got the Valencia biblioteca zoom to work - 2nd initial of Ippolita with the phoenix (the long beak looks very much like the "strange bird" in the Visconti Hours and nothing like the hooked hawk beak in Grassi):
Too bad not a male - you could make that image King of Phoenixes. Also note it dates from 1465 as part of her dowry.
At all events, as an imaginary bird, there does not seem to be a set prototype. I can see the temptation to use Grassi's fenice
, but quite frankly that looks like a "swan-duck" and would just confuse the viewer. At least make the bird multi-colored or red to denote its fantastic nature.
And to be fair to what Huck posted, that bestiary-style phoenix lasted well in to the 15th century: