About This Item
Brunellus in speculo stulto[rum]
Brunellus in speculo stultorum
Brunellus and the mirror of fools
Woodcut printed by Konrad Kachelofen, artist unknown.
Woodcut depicts Brunellus the ass, his tail in hand standing opposite Galienus the doctor, both characters from Speculum stultorum (or Mirror of fools). The donkey's head is reflected in a mirror, held aloft by a donkey-eared jester balancing on one foot.
Original image in: Wireker, Nigellus, approximately 1130-approximately 1200. Speculum stultorum (Leipzig: Kachelofen, Konrad, 1490), leaf a1r. 8h 27 1490 (Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia)
A Mirror for Fools (Speculum Stultorum) is a satirical poem written in Latin elegiacs describing the adventures of Burnel the Ass, a runaway donkey in search of a longer tail. Burnel initially consults the physician Galen, who advises him to be satisfied with the tail nature gave him, but eventually sends him off to Salerno with a sham tail-lengthening prescription. A popular manuscript in its time, Mirror of Fools is referenced in the story of The Cockerel’s Revenge in Chaucer’s The Nun Priest’s Tale.
Digitized by the Historical Medical Library of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Kachelofen, Konrad, -1528 or 1529
1 print : woodcut, hand-colored
13 x 9 cm
“Brunellus in speculo stulto[rum],” The College of Physicians of Philadelphia Digital Library, accessed February 3, 2023, https://www.cppdigitallibrary.org/items/show/142.