Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments Posted 07.14.13 | PERMALINK | PRINT

John Foster

The Voynich Manuscript


Recently, in The New Yorker online, I read a fascinating article by Reed Johnson relaying his description of a rare and undecipherable manuscript said to have been written and illustrated more than six centuries ago. Reed tells the story of the modern discovery of the manuscript in 1912 by Wilfred Voynich, a rare book dealer who found the tattered manuscript in Rome. The wonderfully maddening aspect of this book is that, despite the best efforts of cryptologists and code breakers — not a word has ever been officially declared deciphered.

The manuscript includes muted watercolor drawings of plants, herbs, astronomical diagrams, and odd human figures that are as otherworldly as the undecipherable text. While some of the plants may appear familiar, we quickly realize that these illustrations seem to emerge and take shape from a Hieronymus Bosch-styled artist who lives in his own garden of earthly delights.

You can see the entire Voynich manuscript online at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.


The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript

The Voynich Manuscript
|
Share This Story

Comments

Design Observer encourages comments to be short and to the point; as a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.
Read Complete Comments Policy >>


Name             

Email address 




Please type the text shown in the graphic.


|
Share This Story



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Foster and his wife, Teenuh, have been longtime collectors of self-taught art and vernacular photography. Their collection of anonymous, found snapshots has toured the country for five years and has been featured in Harper’s, Newsweek Online and others.
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS









RELATED POSTS


The Public Library
“The public library is a singularly American invention.” An excerpt from the new book The Public Library: A Photographic Essay.

De Vinne at the Grolier Club in New York
A review of the Grolier Club’s quiet, yet noteworthy exhibition, “The Dean of American Printers: Theodore Low De Vinne and The Art Preservative of All Arts”.

The Filmic Page: Chris Marker's Commentaires
The French director Chris Marker’s book Commentaires is as innovative as book design as his documentaries are as films.

Why Tatlin Can Never Go Home Again
Raoul Hausmann’s photomontage Tatlin at Home is much pinned on Pinterest, but what has become of the original?

Speaking Typography: Letter as Image as Sound
Just as a poet weaves the intent of his poem into its sound and craft, so did Lissitzky, as designer, hope to marry intent with the typography and the design of the book itself. But did he?