BNF Français 995

The cardinal
BNF 995, Cardinal

All the old manuscripts from the 15th century that contain the text from La danse macabre of St. Innocents are unfortunately without illustrations.

The manuscript on the present page, BNF 995, is however a little newer, from 1500-1510, and lavishly illiustrated. Thirty men and 36 women — all in all almost 80 images in splendid colours framed by leaves, flowers, snails, birds and lots of skulls. This was the manuscript that Miot-Frochot used to copy his own simple woodcuts from.

Death on a pale horse
BNF 995, Pale horse

The book contains

As the content shows, the BNF 995 is very dependent on Marchant's printed books. None of the many manuscripts contain a dead queen, four dead musicians or abbess, prioress, bigot woman or fool. Nor are there any other versions of Danse Macabre containing »A mort a mort«, Death on a pale horse or Aveugles.

The problem is that if the artist behind the BNF 995 only has looked in the books of Marchant, then BNF 995 is unable to tell us anything about the original painting on the cemetery of St. Innocents.

The French national library has scanned BNF 995 in a good resolution; see external link.

Gå fremad

For more details about the text, read the men's dance, the women's dance or comparison between Marchant's printed book and the BNF 995.

BNF 995 1510: Cardinal
BNF 995 1510: King
BNF 995 1510: Physician
BNF 995 1510: Witch
Pale horse
BNF 995 1510: Pale horse


Further information