Sunday, December 5, 2010

Two Renaisance drawings from 'Joconde'

     Renaissance art is full of horses, and while looking  for some examples of Alphonse de Nueville art (  Alphonse-Marie-Adolphe_de_Neuville  great French military and equine painter  of XIX century) I found two nice Renaissance drawings from France. I find them quite intriguing as they show rather large horses, most likely stallions or geldings, in harness outfits that  resemble Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque  carousels (equine festivals with equine games and displays of courtly ridding).

   Ad rem, the  French net library/depository 'Joconde' offers us these two fine ink wash drawings from the 3rd quarter of XVI century by the workshop of Niccolo dell'Abbate dell'Abbate , Italian artist who worked in XVI century France and was one of the masters of the Fontainebleau School.
In the first drawing we can see a page holding a saddled parade horse, dressed for occasion. It seems to me that our messer Niccolo or his pupil was showing a proposed design for a horse parade outfit, most likely intended   for his royal masters, the House de Valois as horse furniture/harness in this painting showing Francis I and H.R. Emperor Charles V  Franz_I_und_Karl_V    or in this famous full armor portrait of Francis I, nota bene we need to examine it in the future as opposed to the Titian's Charles V portrait ,  commons FrancoisI I France.jpg   Tizian Charles V .  Besides the flamboyant harness we can observe a very nicely decorated war saddle, long stirrup leathers, long curb-bit (long shanks),  two cinches/girths.

Drawing below shows a page riding another caparisoned horse. Here we got this beautifully drawn  example of a gaited horse, ridden by a page with one hand in a really long-shanked curb-bit. Please note that the saddle is different from the one above, it is not a war saddle per se, as it seems to lack the extended thigh protectors characteristic to XV-XVI century war saddles, or perhaps it represents the new type of Western European saddle.  Again we see two cinches/girths and long stirrup leathers. The style of ridding, long stirrups etc, seems to be what the Spanish and Portugese called ' la brida.'
This bridle, like the one above, has a not throatlatch per se, but there is a second 'headstall' attached to the proper headstall acting both a throatlatch and a suspender for a small tassel, done  in the ancient Turkish/Islamic/Mongol fashion.

 Here you can see an example of the master Niccolo painted horses, a but different from these two drawings  - Niccolo dell'Abbate_002.jpg


Samuel said...

Many thanks for sharing those images Dario. I think I saw a similar saddle whilst browsing this forum:

The picture -

shows the war-saddle of emperor charles V (located in armeria madrid).. It does seem to feature a somewhat similar pommel/cantle configuration with the drawings you posted - in addition to those bulky thigh protectors.. The photo also reveals a little bit of the internal construction as well..


Dario T. W. said...

thank you Samuel'u :)
I've got this book - depicting royal Renaissance artifacts from Spain - where some royal saddles are shown, but sadly no construction is depicted.