Marginal thinking: Simon Vostre

This version includes a part of the text from the Danse Macabre. Click for details.
Simon Vostre, Pope

The main subject for this section is the marginals printed by Simon Vostre in his books of hours. These are the same cuts that adorn the left margin on every page of the present site.

The number of dancers varies a little from book to book, but the complete set consists of 10 columns of men and 12 of women. All together: 30 men and 36 women.

The source itself is not a secret: Vostre has simply copied the persons from the printed versions of the Danse Macabre in Paris. But apart from this there isn't much connection between these books and Simon Vostre's marginals. The exception are those few versions, where a small sample from the text of the Danse Macabre is included on every page (see picture to the right).

The only slight puzzle is, which edition Vostre has looked into.

The original Danse Macabre in Paris had 30 dancing men, and so had the book that Guy Marchant published in 1485. The next year Marchant had invented 10 new male dancers, such as papal legate, duke, halberdier and fool. At the same time he expanded the text to include a Danse Macabre for women, of which only the queen and the duchess were portrayed by woodcuts. It wasn't before 1491 that woodcuts were created for all the female participants, and at the same time "la Bigote" (bigot woman) and "la Sotte" (female fool) were added.

So to start with the women: Since Simon Vostre includes "la Bigote" and "la Sotte", it means that he has taken the women from a copy of Marchant's book from 1491.

When it comes to the men, it appears that Simon Vostre instead has copied some of the other publications that stayed with 30 men. The similarity is most convincing when comparing to the books published by Antoine Vérard. Here are two examples, The minstrel and the citizen:

Guy Marchant
Guy Marchant: Minstrel
BnF 995
BnF 995: Minstrel
Antoine Vérard
Antoine Verard: Minstrel
Vostre: Minstrel
Guy Marchant
Guy Marchant: Citizen
BnF 995
BnF 995: Citizen
Antoine Vérard
Antoine Verard: Citizen
Vostre: Citizen

But without further ado: Here come the 22 marginals.

Margin 01
Margin 02
Margin 03
Margin 04
Margin 05
Margin 06
Margin 07
Margin 08
Margin 09
Margin 10
Margin 11
Margin 12
Margin 13
Margin 14
Margin 15
Margin 16
Margin 17
Margin 18
Margin 19
Margin 20
Margin 21
Margin 22

Let us take a closer look at the individual dancers.

Go forth

The next chapter takes a closer look at the 66 dancers in Simon Vostre's marginals

The previous subject was a manuscript owned by Carlos V.

External links