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Peter the Painter


Latin poet, known also as Petrus Pictor; fl. c. 1100. All that is known of this remarkable figure is that he was a canon of the cathedral at Saint-Omer, where he probably received his education. By 1120 a number of his poems are already to be found in the Liber floridus, a compilation of lambert of saint-omer. These works are typical of the carmina, or short poems, produced in the cathedral and monastic schools of the late 11th and early 12th centuries, and Peter is one of the better authors to practice this genre. Mention should be made of his eloquent Contra simoniam, a bitter attack against the Roman clergy in 70 rhyming hexameters, and his De sacra Eucharistia, which explores the nature and doctrine of the eucharist in 688 verses. The De vita Pilati presents in 369 rhyming couplets the various legends concerning Pontius pilate; the Dominus vobiscum is a 152-verse satire on clerical ignorance and materialism; and the De illa quae filium adamavit is a drama in 246 leonine hexameters on a classical theme. Peter was also the author of the charming De laude Flandriae, writtenjudging from internal evidencebetween 1100 and 1110; it is a poem of 43 hexameter lines with a variety of rhyme combinations, a eulogy in praise of his native Flanders. Seventeenth-century scholars often attributed much of this author's work to either peter of blois or hildebert of lavardin, but more recent research has assured Peter his rightful place in literary history.

Bibliography: Works. Contra simoniam, Monumenta Germaniae Historica Libelli de lite, (Berlin 1826 ) 3:70810; Dominus vobiscum in Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque nationale et autres bibliothèques (Paris 1884) 31a:130132; De sacra Eucharistia, Patrologia Latina, ed. j. p. migne, 217 v., indexes 4 v. (Paris 187890) 207:113554; De illa quae impudenter filium suum adamavit, in b. haurÉau, ed., Notices et extraits de quelques manuscrits latins de la Bibliothèque nationale, 6 v. (Paris 189093) 5:220226; De laude Flandriae, ed. w. wattenbach, Neues Archiv der Gesellschaft für ältere deutsche Geschichtskunde 18 (1893) 509510. a. boutemy, "Quelques oeuvres inédites de Pierre le Peintre," Latomus 7 (1948) 5169. Literature. Histoire littéraire de la France (repr. Paris 1865) 13:429433. l. willems in Biographie nationale de Belgique 17:466470. m. manitus, Geschichte der lateinischen Literatur des Mittelalters, 3v. (Munich 191131) 3:877883. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al, 15 v. (Paris 190350; Tables générales 1951) 12.2:203638. w. wattenbach, Deutschlands Geschichtsquellen im Mittelalter. Deutsche Kaiserzeit, ed. r. holtzmann, v. 1.14 (3d ed. Tübingen 148; repr. of 2d ed. 193843) 1.4:710773. e. r. curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, tr. w. r. trask (New York 1953) 472. f. j. e. raby, A History of Secular Latin Poetry in the Middle Ages, 2 v. (2d ed. Oxford 1957) 2:2630.

[b. j. comaskey]

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