A propos de la variété des sources iconographiques des Jours de la Création au XII siècle en Europe Occidentale : tentative de reconstruction d’un modèle perdu
Focus on the variety of iconographic sources used to compose the Six Days of Creation in the 12th Century in Western Europe: an attempt to recreate a lost model
The concentric composition dating from 1110-1114 which depicts the Six Days of Creation (Verdun Miscellanea, Verdun, Public Library, Ms.1, folio J), is noteworthy for the heterogeneity of its elements, most of which represent the Days as characters whose attributes refer back to the late antique tradition of depicting months. This tradition was still present in 12th century artwork. By contrast, the Third Day, represented by a character running between two branches of a tree, bears little resemblance to the personifications of April in the zodiacal cycles of the 11th and 12th centuries (a derivative of these images is present in the same composition as the personification of Spring). Taking into account the diversity of the sources of the other elements (including that of the Light) which can be seen in several Genesis and Zodiac cycles (frontispiece of Erlangen Bible, cod.121, folio 5 verso; Zwiefalten calendar, Stuttgart, Cod.hist.2, folio 17 verso), it is possible to imagine the existence of a book of motifs combining the ancient cosmographical, zodiacal and mythographical cycles. This book of patterns can be dated between Adhémard de Chabannes’s book and that of Villard de Honnecourt, and contained, among other things, a picture of Daphne turning into a laurel tree, which may have served as the model for the depiction of the Third Day in the Verdun manuscript.