columbus
Dove /columbus/ 10.5×6 cm
In the story of the dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit /John 1:32/, the bestiary follows the narration of “Physiologus” about the diversity of colours in the dove’s plumage comparing it with the diversity of means by which the Holy Spirit addresses himself to Man. The white doves seem to signify the chastity of christening; the red ones, the blood of Christ and his torments; the black reminds one of a sophisticated sermon whose message is obscure; the motley-of difference in the images of the twelve prophets. The dove calling the wild doves into his cote is identified with the symbol of Christ uniting the whole of mankind.
Proceeding from the antique tradition, Isidor /XI. VII.61/ also mentions the diverse colouration of the doves. “Aviarium” /I—11/ assigns the doves quite a particular role, his story being dominated by the mystic image of the silver dove and its symbolic interpretation. Philippe de Thaun /2389—2396/, Guil-laume le Clerc /2883—3174/ and Pierre of Beauvais /III.275/ speak about the diversity of doves’ breeds and colours. Brunetto Latini gives a brief account of doves’ habits /I.V.157/.
Not infequently the miniatures of the bestiaries illustrate the diversity of doves’ breeds: the painter of the Saint Petersburg manuscript drew six medallions in two rows, each medallion showing a couple of breast-size doves against the background of bright red.