CORDELIA MOLLOY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CORDELIA MOLLOY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artwork from the book Liber de Intellectu (Paris, 1510) by the French writer, philosopher and theologian Charles de Bouvelles (1471-1553). The artwork ("Liber de Sapiente") shows four levels: est (being), vivit (living), sentit (feeling) and intelligit (understanding). At left, a 'chain of being' rises from rocks to plants to animals to humans. At right, the same concepts are used to illustrate levels of human existence, from simple existence, through living and feeling, culminating in a studious man as the pinnacle of humanity. This chain of being, or divine order, was a central concept in the theology and natural philosophy of medieval Europe and the Renaissance.
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