Jean Corbechon, Livre des propriétés des choses

Book 1: On God

Texts and Images

Containing 21 chapters, the first book comprises a detailed discussion of the Trinity. It opens with a discussion of the divine names attributed to God the Father who is shown in the opening miniature with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The final chapter concerns the divine names attributed to Jesus Christ.

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Detail of Adam’s face under magnification (20x).
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Detail of God’s face under magnification (20x).
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Detail of Eve’s face under magnification (20x).
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Detail of an unfinished bird under magnification (7.5x). The artist sketched the outline of the bird but never painted it in.

Dressed in a bright blue robe and crowned with a papal tiara, God presents Eve to Adam in the Garden of Eden, before an audience of angels and animals, including a mythical unicorn. Three six-winged seraphim, angels at the top of the heavenly hierarchy, hover in the sky above. It was thought that the term ‘seraphim’ meant burning or fiery, which explains why these angels are painted red.