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Tondal Appears to be Dead
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Attributed to Simon Marmion
French, Valenciennes, 1475
Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment

MS. 30, FOL. 11

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Tondal fell dead...without any further movement of foot or hand. All the signs of a dead man manifested themselves on him: his eyes rolled, his nose was pinched, his lips grew thin, his chin receded, and his arms and legs grew stiff.

Drawing on vivid details from the text describing Tondal's appearance, the artist represented him in a dead faint on the floor. Around him hover the stunned onlookers; two women clasp their hands and bow toward him in grief. According to the story, because Tondal's body was still warm, he was not buried. Meanwhile, in his comatose state, Tondal's soul saw "an awful and horrifying multitude of devils who soon invaded the house as well as the air all over the city." The devils are represented as almost translucent figures penned in gold on the darkness above the onlookers' heads. This marks the beginning of Tondal's vision, in which an angel leads his soul through Hell, allowing him only a glimpse of the rewards of Paradise. Like Ebenezer Scrooge in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol , Tondal will lead a better life upon his return.

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Tondal sees devils
Tondal sees devils

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