Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Lorenzo Veneziano - horses and knights

Salvete Omnes,
Spring is around us, and where is the global warming or climate change? It has been cold and cold.
anyway, to warm up the historical equestrianism a bit - maestro Lorenzo Veneziano and the horses and  horsemen in his art :
first this little picture, the triptych from 1370sAD - Museo Tyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain -on the right side of the triptych there is a horseman with his grey steed, but owing to the small size of the picture I cannot see much there

the second image, a predella, from the Staatliche Museum in Berlin shows  Conversion of Saint Paul, is more populated, with 7 horses and riders, and due to the proper size for more investigative approach  appears quite rich in detail.

the center figure - of Saint Paul the Apostle - the knight soon to become saint Paul carries a great sword, and a combination of cuir-bouilli (hardened leather) armor that for the last quarter of the XIV c. appear to have been purposefully antiquated as already the Italian armor industries were the most advanced in Christian Europe.

 the red leather saddle is interesting,as with its low pommel and cantle appears to portray a riding knightly saddle (note the saddle skirts and cinch - it is a leather one?), but the gray  horse (shod with horse shoes), with its tied tail and short mane and tied up forelock, perhaps is supposed to represent  a dextrarius and not a palfrey. Horse tack is rich in beautiful vermillion red, the bridle has a curb-bit with a single set of reins.
the figures on the left
we see two figures on the left, one sorrel horse with a long- shanked curb-bit hanging from its bridle and dark blue tack,  behind him(presumably the armed men rode male horses) a gray horse with red tack - both horses appear collected.

 the horses on  the right - the brown horse with another set of rich red horse tack, also a curb-bit and studded crouper and breastplate. The saddle with long skirts appears to have been portrayed with larger pommel and cantle than that of Saint Paul. There are three more horses, seen in less detail - gray, bay, and dark brown,

 So in this little predella we get a glimpse of the rich equestrian  life of the northern, Venetian?,  Italian nobility.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

William Tylee Ranney - the West of the 1840s

Salvete Omnes,
I have bought and waiting for this book to arrive -   Forging an American Identity: The Art of William Ranney, With a Catalogue of His Works.
 I am looking forward to read it, to study and to copy some of the work by maestro Ranney, who was a soldier - sort of like our Polish XVI-XVIII century noblemen - volunteer in the Texas revolution.
There are some of his painting from wiki commons and The Atheneuem ..




also he was a historical painter, especially the American Revolution
Ranney's vision of the Cowpens battle

Gen. George Washington - detail from the work titled The Battle of Princeton

 very interesting detail from a great painting of the Revolutionary War showing Marion crossing the Pee Dee

nota bene one of my most favorite Western giants - Kit Carson

and trappers


Sunday, May 5, 2019

Jacob van Loo's black horse

Salvete Omnes,
Spring is in full swing, so off to some green pastures we go -
 for example let us visit this canvass by Jacob van Loo,

This Golden Age Dutch master, and father of many children (and the patriarch of painters' dynasty of painters), while drinking at the tavern had gotten into altercation with one Hendrik Breda whom  he had stabbed  so successfully that the victim died.
Below one of his paintings showing a bucolic scene at a tavern or inn. All men carried weapons, swords and daggers, so any serious altercations could have turned into violent brawls with wounded etc.

Master Jacob, being in danger of getting his justice at the gallows in return for his felonious deed,  had to hastily abscond from the Dutch Republic's justice and quit the realm.  Fleeing in this  rather inglorious manner, being condemned to death in absentia and banishment, he successfully changed his family's residence from Amsterdam of Netherlands to Paris, the capital of then still very slowly rising sun of king Louis Bourbon or Louis XIV Kingdom of France. In Paris he became a popular painter and in 1663 AD the member of the Royal Academy.
ad rem, the horse in  question, with his owner's family ( circa AD 1640 - the Meebeeck Cruywagen family portrait with a black horse in front of their country home,  apparently family portraits were popular in the XVII century Netherlands - eg a series of articles on the subejct ) :

and the black horse
his head with bridle

the bridle has some unusual strap arrangement. Namely the cheekpiece has  one large shiny buckle low immediately next to the curb-bit and then another one above the browband, on the crownpiece, and the second buckle for the throatlatch.  Note that it is not clear if this bridle has a browband at all.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Roman saddle from Aegyptus frontier

Salvate Omnes,
perusing the Wiki Commons I came across this very interesting artefact from the Oriental Institute Museum, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
It comes from the Qustul site in southern Egypt and is dated to the last quarter of the IV century AD. This was the frontier of the Roman Aegyptus and Meroe/Kush//Nobadia of the Nile Valley.

also a quiver

some further visual aids regarding the Roman Aegyptus and Nubia and the Nile





The ancient Egyptian sanctuary of Isis and Roman stronghold of the island of Philae, situated within the rapids of the Nile known as the 1st Cataract (also the other famous fortresses of Elefantina and Talmis), on the Roman southern frontier and where traditional ancient Egypt frontier was set between Egypt and Nubia, where the early I century Ad Roman fortress at Primis (Qasr Ibrim) lay within the land of  Dodekaschoenos  that traditionally was the buffer zone between the Ptolemaic Egypt, later  Roman Aegypt and Meroe/Nubia/Nobadia and raided by the Blemmye( the Eastern desert nomads and skilled raiders - ancient Arab desert dwellers - riding as far north as the famous Wadi Hammamat spice and silk trade and gold mining route between the Nile and the Red Sea ports). South of the Roman frontier on the Nile sat Faras (ancient Pachoras) that was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Meroe (famous for the war  its queen Amanirenas waged against the Augustus praefect of Egypt Gaius Petronius), and after 350AD was the capital of the Christian kingdom of Nobadia/Noubadia, and later of the medieval Christian Makuria( it was a Christian state  until it had fallen victim to the Islamic conquest in the XIV century AD).
The area was the subject of military expeditions during the later Empire, including one by Diocletian. During the later Roman rule in Egypt the region became Christian and resisted Saracen invasions for many centuries to come.
Presently Faras is under the water of the Aswan Dam and it was many archaeologist teams from Europe and the US who helped to save many of the objects from the water-induced destruction. Polish archaeologist under prof. Michalowski   helped to save some of the amazing artefacts from Faras - today some of the frescoes and other treasures from the Faras Cathedral can be seen at the Warsaw National Museum special Faras section. I had the pleasure to walk these galleries with the distinguished  members of the Siedlce conference in 2016.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Simone Martini et tents etc

Salvete Omnes,
I would like to bring your attention to several works of the XIV century Sienese painter Simone Martini , disciple of the famous Giotto. In his brushwork we see medeival Italian horses, horse tack and event tents used by the medieval armies.

 first, the fresco of Guidoriccio da Fogliano, the Sienese condotiero (mercenary) commander, at the siege of Montemassi at the Palacio Publico in Sienna.
He is riding a tall grey dextrarius that is shod and  caparisoned.

We do not see much of the condottiere's armor but for his neck, arms and legs that are protected by the mail, and the legs are reinforced by some early plate armor. Riding in the military fashion, double reins in left hand, he holds the botton, the symbol of his authority as the commander (and conqueror of Montermassi).

 very interesting portrayal of the pavilon tents of the nobility and commanding officers and also tents for the troops (included grass or perhaps straw covered tents) and it is my guess that the green structures are stables for their horses.

Another work, a panel painting, that is interesting is the  Blessed Agostino Novello Altarpiece
 where in this tempera panel we see a fallen horse

 and the details of the saddle (painted leather skirts) and stirrup  with the stirrup leathers.



Friday, April 26, 2019

Goya & horse paintings

Salvete Omnes,
today a short entry - thanks to wiki commons -  the selection of Spanish painter Francisco Goya's portraits paintings that include very Spanish-looking horses
 María Teresa de Vallabriga


Duke Wellington

Royal portraits of Spanish Bourbon monarchs Carlos IV and Ferdinand VII, and Carlos' wife Maria Luisa de Parma