Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Palfreys in Les Grandes Chroniques de France circa 1350AD

Salvete Omnes,
just a short entry this early morning:
Jean le Bon (John II, king of France) when he was the Duke of Normandy (1332-1350) commissioned a manuscript that became part of  Les Grandes Chroniques de France, today the codex is  kept at the British Library - Royal MS 16 G VI - information here, viewing on line here,
Within the wiki commons collection there are several larger photos of the illuminations from this codex showing riding horses of the period, these are palfreys or pacing horses of the nobility.

I will be returning to these manuscripts from time to time, I hope.

nota bene - there is this petition to save the wild horses and burros from removal and slaughter in the US; as the Bundys have been cleared (dura lex sed lex - the Bundy affair - Cliven Bundy speaking here - have been monitored by the environmental groups eg here , the voice on the wild horse & cattle grazing from 2014), so this is the matter of the America public lands (managed by BLM, US Corps of Engineers, US Department of Defense, Forrest Service etc), rights of ranchers and citizens, taxpayers' subsidized  cattle (cow and sheep ) grazing on public lands (fees have been lowered), and the fate of  constitutionally protected (Idaho LawReview article) Wild Horse and Burro in the American West.
also a rather hostile to wild horses article from the Smithsonian

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Happy Epiphany or the Magi have arrived

Salvete Omnes,
and so we have arrived at the end of the Journey of the Magi, and today we have the Feast of Epiphany.
For this occasion I selected this illumination from an East Anglian codex titled Carrow Psalter presently held at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, USA.
It was created during the mid-century and is very important in many ways, including the depiction showing the murder and martyrdom of Saint Thomas Becket by 4 knights (with their retainers) of king Henry II of England inside the Canterbury Cathedral.
The Magi are shown riding at the flying gallop (?), or with the front and hind horses' legs extended as in a jump, a traditional way to show fastest gait of the horse before the XIX century. They are following the Bethlehem Star with their gifts shown a bit in right hand, while guiding their mounts with the left, or at lest the two Magi are doing this.
The mounts are presumably stallions as their sex is shown, and again are grey, just the middle one is shown to be a steel grey for the sake of contrast I presume.
The monk painting this illumination created flying tails which is perhaps another indication of the fast speed.
 Horses have multicolored tack, their bridles have no curb-bit but what appear to be a snaffle and a single set of reins. Perhaps they are riding in full collection, as their heads are elevated etc. The bridle has no throatlatch but a browband.
The saddle of the front Magi has black color covering the saddle skirts and shabraque or just longish skirts, extending and tapering to the back, and light brown high arches, typical of the period saddles.
Whether the saddle skirts were in fact this long or painted & dyed black, or dyed some other color we will not know, but the single cinch is also typical, note its width and the criss-cross pattern on it most likely indicating that it was made out of  woven fabric.

Matthew of Paris pinxit - war saddle of the period, note the breastcollar arrangement in relationship to the saddle, also the cinch buckle

Matthew of Paris, saddle with larger skirts, underneath rectangular shabraque
Matthew of Paris,  a saddle with short saddle skirts, but large textile shabraque edged with loose fringe

the second half of XIIIc, saddle with either saddle skirts or a saddle shabraque
There is also a typical for the period breast collar strap, simple and without any additional adornments

Magi riding and then visiting Herod the Great
 The foremost Magi is riding with his legs fully extended forward, feet in stirrups and spurs indicated,
Adoration of the Magi - detail from the illumination


Friday, January 5, 2018

Magi - Codex Bruchsal from Karlsruhe

Salvete Omnes,
one more day to los Reyes Magos - so one more medieval manuscript illumination we can ponder..
So another High Middle Ages wondrous painting - via Wiki Commons- from Badischen Landesbiliothek in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Journeying Magi
Our three kings are shown in the fashion of the Holy Roman Empire costumes and outfits. Their horses are stallions, all are shod and of uniform grey color.
All  bridles are similar - with large metal discs for bridle adornments, including the bit,  and metal studs complementing the bridle straps. Note that there are no nosebands and bits used are of a curb type. There is large and wide embossed (presumably) but different in design leather brestcollar on each horse. Saddles with the saddlepads and /or shabraques are quite ornate and also uniform; sort of roundish saddle skirts, not unlike many centuries later in Old California or Mexico (mochilla leather covering the wooden saddle tree).
Saddles are of high arches type, used for combat with a couched lance and apparently travel too. Unless this high saddle represents the idea of a nobleman saddle in the Medieval art? Some time later we see similar tack features in a three-dimensional Holy Roman Empire sculpted figure at the Bamberg Cathedral - known as der Bamberg Reiter.
Riders use one hand to hold the reins, military style but rather loose and thus perhaps indicating neck-reining and highly trained mounts, while seated astride their steeds in la brida (legs extended) style. Stirrups and spurs are present.
Note that we see only one cinch on each saddle.
following the Star of Bethlehem, this stallion appears highly collected while cantering
this stallion is clearly pacing, hence a palfrey. Also, there are two leather bands adorning the neck

this one is perhaps pacing too
 the Codex is associated with the XII century Archdiocese of Trier.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Magi Journey - St. Albans Psalter

Salvate Omnes,
Magi journey - this time another illuminated page from a medieval manuscript - a fine example of the Norman art called Saint Albans Psalterpainted around 1130AD, for or at the Saint Albans Abbey. Believed to have been ordered by the abbot Geoffrey of Gorham for his friend an anchoress Christina of Markyate.
The manuscript is kept at the Basilica Library at St. Godehard, Hildesheim, Germany.

We see here no horseshoes (but they were in use as seen here  or here), but they do appear in other XII century illuminations, the saddles have high arches and what appears to be  some very colorful saddle blankets while the visible horse tack contains a breastcollar, bridle with a curb-bit  and single pair of reins. Stirrups are long and our magi ride military style, holding reins with the left hand. No crouper is visible, but there are perhaps two cinches, the rearone clearly visible with its buckle etc.
the XII century illumination showing  pack animals - a mule and a donkey with a attendant on foot carrying an instrument of not a small persuasion aka three-thonged whip (I wonder if of any association with Jehudiel)

Siculo-Normans and Stauferian tradition in this manuscript  by Petrus of Ebulo -  lots of horses and also a sidesaddle-riding queen.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Magi in Journey - Leiden Saint Louis Psalter

Salvete Omnes,
ha, and there we have a very first post in the brand new calendar year of 2018.
We should go right back to the Magi and their journey ( still several days ahead of this sweetly warm holiday of gift-giving and celebrating the birth of Jesus) as portrayed in the noble medieval art while keeping up with the hipology theme.

So here we have this page from the Leiden Saint Louis Psalter - painted for Geoffrey, Archbishop of York in around 1190AD and later on used by young Saint Louis. The manuscript is presently kept at the Leiden University Library.

Magi - riding pacing horses, highly collected

Holy Family - Madonna and Child are riding a grey mule, as probably the monk-painter and his milieu could not fathom Madonna riding a donkey.  Note that Madonna and Child Jesus are riding side-saddle. The bridle is also very interesting, as we see here a curb-bit and a curb-chain or a chin-strap. 

and another horse from this Psalter, Joseph sold by his brothers is being taken to Egypt as a slave

images from Wiki Commons

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wojciech Kossak - a birthday note

salvete Omnes,
last post in the calendar year of 2017 - happy New Year!

Wojciech Horacy Kossak has been one of the pillars of the Polish art and his brush works on canvas are firmly entrenched in the pantheon of Polish art, in spite of many years of prejudice or even ridicule.
 He was born 15 minutes before midnight on December 31 1856, while his twin brother Tadeusz was born right after midnight on January 1, 1857.
Happy birthday Wojciech Kossak

 Kolejna rocznica urodzin Wojciecha Kossaka, urodzonego kwadrans przed północą AD 1856, a jego brat-bliźniak urodził się już po północy, AD 1857(o Tadeuszu i jego wspomnieniach o wojnach 1914-20 mam nadzieje napisać w przyszłości)
 Załączam link do podcastu Muzeum Miasta Lodzi o Wojciechu Kossaku, linki do listy audycji w Polskim Radio o Kossaku i jego rodzie, oraz przede wszystkim fragment ze Wspomnien (wyd. 1912) opisujący polowanie w Godollo (na Węgrzech), gdzie pan Wojciech  pędził na cesarskiej siwej irlandzkiego chowu klaczy galopem przez 1 godzinę i 40 minut tuz za cesarzem Franciszkiem Józefem:

 Imć Pan Kazimierz Olszański przywrócił swoimi publikacjami pozycje Wojciecha Kossaka w historii sztuki polskiej, a dzisiaj przydalby sie powazny, calosciowy album pokazujący  twórczość, ponad 2000 obrazów, mości Wojciecha.
Dosiego Roku!
 Year of Kościuszko - 2017

in Poland this passing and very old year has been named and celebrated as the year of Tadeusz Kosciuszko, hero of Poland and USA - in 1894 Wojciech Kossak , Jan Styka and a number of artists painted the famous Racławice panorama, that had used to be housed in the city of Lwów, but since in 1945 the Soviets robbed (with the American and British approval - bloody & idiotic Curzon Line pretense)  Poland of city of Lwów, then today displayed in tis specially built museum in Wrocław, Poland


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Anna Zyndwalewicz - a painter

Salvete Omnes,
today we can preview some of the paintings, drawings and sculpture by a very talented and prolific Polish contemporary artist pani Anna Zyndwalewicz. 'Moscipani' Ania comes from the voivodeship of Dolny Slask (Lower Silesia), from a family of artists, and  is a graduate of the Wroclaw Academy of Fine Arts  and practices her art in that Polish sunniest province. Multi-talented, versatile and very skilled with a pencil, brush, or chisel she is also a horse owner and horsewoman.
Pani Ania graciously agreed to share the equine-themed part of her art on my blog, for which I am most grateful.
You can find her work and contanct on Facebook.
Anna Zyndwalewicz with one of her horses and one of her paintings




all images Copyright @ Anna Zyndwalewicz