Monday, January 27, 2014

Miklós Zrínyi/Nikolaus Zrinski - another winged hussar

 leaving the present politics behind, let us turn again to the period prints from XVII century.

This print shows  Croato-Hungarian aristocrat, poet and military leader Sir Miklós Zrínyi/Nikolaus Zrinski
 again we have typical hussar equipment, a shishak helmet adorned with feathers in a jewelled feather holder and half-armour with coat-of-mail protecting the hips. Instead of the wild cat pelt our hero covers his armoured torso and arms with mente lined with fur and with a huge fur collar. Typically Hungarian nobility would use a kaftan called dolman under the armour or under the over-garment (like delia, szuba or mente). 

Note the curved sabre with  a thumb ring to put one's thumb finger there, holstered pistol (presumably 2) and a sword under the thigh
 His footwear is typical of the Polish and Hungarian nobility - a mid-length Moroccan leather boots, saddle not visible except for parts of the skirt (perhaps he is using a Ottoman Turkish style saddle), while stirrups and stirrup leathers are prominent. He is riding short,  so whether this was characteristic of the Croatian and Hungarian cavalry or this was his own style of riding might be beyond discovering, while it is a fact that the author of this engraving decided to show this style of riding. and the artist was  quite well  acquainted with the Eastern European military, having lived and worked in the Kingdom of Poland prior to moving back to Germany (Nuremberg).
Horse, a true Baroque animal, is spirited and a bit fearsome, bitted with a long-shanked curb-bit and lead with a single set of reins (while it was popular in our part of Europe aka Eastern Europe to use two sets of reins, or at least a lead rein in addition to curb-bit reins), his chest displaying a very nice metal halzbant adoring the leathers of his breastplate; I wonder if the engraver omitted the the adornment (horse tug or just a metal half-moon ) under the throatlatch, typical of the bridles of the Eastern European military? Horse is covered with a Turkish or Persian style rug-shabraque (could have been of the msot expensive materials, with gold, silver and silk thread), a fashion typical to the Eastern European military.

Again, we are given a sketch of a winged hussar with a shishak helmet, wild pelt on his shoulders, but it is unclear if he holds the lance or his companion rider who is also wielding a sabre.

 Nice drawing of a Turkish bow in a bowcase, arrows in a quiver, and in the background a Turkish horseman executing  so called 'Parthian shot'

 the following citation from 1911 Britannica describes nicely this Kingdom of Hungary aristocrat:
ZRINYI, MIKLÓS, Count (1620-1664), Hungarian warrior, statesman and poet, the son of George Zrinyi and Magdalena Széchy, was born at Csákvár. At the court of Péter Pásmány the youth conceived a burning enthusiasm for his native language and literature, although he always placed arms before arts.
From 1635 to 1637 he accompanied Szenkveczy, one of the canons of Esztergom, on a long educative tour through Italy. During the next few years he learnt the art of war in defending the Croatian frontier against the Turks, and approved himself one of the first captains of the age. In 1645 he acted against the Swedes in Moravia, equipping an army corps at his own expense. At Szkalec he scattered a Swedish division and took 2000 prisoners. At Eger he saved the emperor, who had been surprised at night in his camp by Wrangel. Subsequently he routed the army of Rákóczy on the Upper Theiss. For his services the emperor appointed him captain of Croatia. On his return from the war he married the wealthy Eusebia Draskovics.
In 1646 he distinguished himself in the Turkish war. At the coronation of Ferdinand IV he carried the sword of state, and was made ban and captain-general of Croatia. In this double capacity he presided over many Croatian diets, always strenuously defending the political rights of the Croats [ 1046 ] and steadfastly maintaining that as regarded Hungary they were to be looked upon not as partes annexae but as a regnum. During 1652-53 he was continually fighting against the Turks, yet from his castle at Csáktornya he was in constant communication with the learned world; the Dutch scholar, Jacobus Tollius, even visited him, and has left in his Epistolae itinerariae a lively account of his experiences. Tellius was amazed at the linguistic resources of Zrinyi, who spoke German, Croatian, Hungarian, Turkish and Latin with equal facility. Zrinyi's Latin letters (from which we learn that he was married a second time, to Sophia Löbel) are fluent and agreeable, but largely interspersed with Croatian and Magyar expressions.
The last year of his life was also its most glorious one. He set out to destroy the strongly fortified Turkish bridge atEsseg, and thus cut off the retreat of the Turkish army, re-capturing all the strong fortresses on his way. He destroyed the bridge, but the further pursuance of the campaign was frustrated by the refusal of the imperial generals to co-operate. Still the expedition had covered him with glory. All Europe rang with his praises. It was said that only the Zrinyis had the secret of conquering the Turks. The emperor offered him the title of prince. The pope struck a commemorative medal with the effigy of Zrinyi as a field-marshal. The Spanish king sent him the Golden Fleece. The French king created him a peer of France. The Turks, to wipe out the disgrace of the Esseg affair, now laid siege to Uj-Zerin, a fortress which Zrinyi had built, and the imperial troops under Montecuculi [ Raimondo Montecuccoli ] looked on while he hastened to relieve it, refusing all assistance, with the result that the fortress fell. It was also by the advice of Montecuculi that the disgraceful peace of Vásvár was concluded. 
Zrinyi hastened to Vienna to protest against it, but in vain. Zrinyi quitted Vienna in disgust, after assuring the Venetian minister, Sagridino, that he was willing at any moment to assist the Republic against the Turks with 6000 men. He then returned to Csáktornya, and there, on the 18th of November, was killed by a wild boar which he had twice wounded and recklessly pursued to its lair in the forest swamps, armed only with his hunting-knife...*

Named Zrínyi Miklós, a költő hadvezér és politikus Sir Nicolas, this true knight faithful to the cannons of chivalr , also wrote poetry - Britannica says:

His poetical works first appeared at Vienna in 1651, under the title of The Siren of the Adriatic (Hung.); but his principal work, Obsidio Szigetiana, the epopeia of the glorious self-sacrifice of his heroic ancestor of the same name, only appeared in fragments in Magyar literature till Arany took it in hand. It was evidently written under the influence of both Virgil and Tasso, though the author had no time to polish and correct its rough and occasionally somewhat wooden versification. But the fundamental idea — the duty of Hungarian valour to shake off the Turkish yoke, with the help of God — is sublime, and the whole work is intense with martial and religious enthusiasm. It is no unworthy companion of the other epics of the Renaissance period, and had many imitators. Arany first, in 1848, began to recast the Zrinyiad, as he called it, on modern lines, and the work was completed by Antal Vékóny in 1892.

Portraits of Sir Nicolas, showing the national costume of the Hungarian and Croatian nobility of the period, very similar to the Polish one. In the first portrait he is wearing a 'dolman'  with a 'mente'? lined with fur.
 In this portrait he wears his crimson kaftan or dolman (over a shirt), and over the dolman he wears a mente. Flanged mace or buzogány in his right hand is the symbol of his command and military prowess.

Until this day, legend maintains that he was killed at the order of the Habsburg Court. No conclusive evidence has ever been found to support this claim; however, it remains true that the Habsburgs lost their mightiest adversary with his death (from Wikipedia).
Zvonimir Grbasic, Croatian artist and military historian (in English speaking workd known for two books on cavalry - here and here) drew a very fine reconstruction of ban Nicolas Zrinski on horseback some years ago.
I received artist's permission to use his reconstruction on my blog, so it is my pleasure to display it here, in its beauty :
 By the way Zvonimir is about to bring more books to us, the reader and admirers of his art and research, so I am looking forward to see more of his books on Amazon.
Thank you Zvonimir!

 some military aspects & assessment of the warfare on the Hapsburg-Turkish border on this page 
Miles Cameron's 'Red Knight', just received a new and fantastic webpage 'facelift,' as the second volume in the series is about to be released, so do visit it to see yourself and definitely read the first volume when you can - medieval and magical world - with dragons, chivalry, demons, knights and strong damsels -  Traitor son Cycle

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Podajże rękę Kozakowi

Vivat Ukraina - all the best to You
today just a poem  by Taras Shevchenko, the Poet of Ukraine...
  Taras Szewczenko
''Do Polaków ''- wiki


Ще як були ми козаками,
А унії не чуть було,
Отам-то весело жилось!
Братались з вольними ляхами,
Пишались вольними степами,
В садах кохалися, цвіли,
Неначе лілії, дівчата.
Пишалася синами мати,
Синами вольними... Росли,
Росли сини і веселили
Старії скорбнії літа...
Аж поки іменем Христа
Прийшли ксьондзи і запалили
Наш тихий рай. І розлили
Широке море сльоз і крові,
А сирот іменем Христовим
Замордували, розп'яли.
Поникли голови козачі,
Неначе стоптана трава.
Украйна плаче, стогне-плаче!
За головою голова
Додолу пада. Кат лютує,
А ксьондз скаженим язиком
Кричить: “Te deum! алілуя!..”

Отак-то, ляше, друже, брате!
Неситії ксьондзи, магнати
Нас порізнили, розвели,
А ми б і досі так жили.
Подай же руку козакові
І серце чистеє подай!
І знову іменем Христовим
Ми оновим наш тихий рай

Taras Szewczenko "Do Polaków"

Kiedyśmy byli Kozakami,
I nic o unii nie słyszeli,
Na wolnych stepach, wolni sami,
Brataliśmy się z Polakami
I żyli sobie najweselej!
W sadach dziewczęta, niczym białe
Lilije, kwitły dla miłości.
A matki z dumą spoglądały
Na swoich synów, którzy rośli
Jak wolni ludzie i koili
Matczyne starych lat cierpienia...
Aż przyszli księża i w imieniu
Chrystusa Pana podpalili
Nasz cichy raj, rozlali morze
Łez i krwi ludzkiej, a sierotom
Zadali śmierć męczeńską oto
Ku jeszcze większej chwale Bożej...

Już głowy chylą się kozacze
Jak wiatrem przygnieciona trawa,
Już Ukraina jęczy, płacze,
Już się zaczęła uczta krwawa
A ksiądz bez przerwy wyśpiewuje
Wściekłe: "Te Deum! Alleluja!..."

I tak Polaku, druhu, bracie,
Zachłanni księża i magnaci
Nas poróżnili, rozdzielili,
A my wciąż zgodnie byśmy żyli.
Podajże rękę Kozakowi
I serce do niego przychyl,
I razem w imię Chrystusowe
Odbudujemy raj nasz cichy!

Taras Shevchenko  “To the Poles”

We were Cossacks once,
Never heared of religious union
As free as our steppes
Fraternizing with Poles
And living happily!
Girls in orchard like white
Lilies blossoming for love.
And their mothers looking with pride
At sons who were growing up
Like free people and soothing
Motherly suffering of elder age...
Till priests came and in the name
Of The Holy Christ set fire
To our peaceful heaven on earth, spilled
The sea of tears and human blood.
Inflicted orphans with martyr’s death to
Magnify God’s glory...

Cossacks’ heads bowing down
Like grass overwhelmed by the wind,
Ukraine is moaning, she cries,
Bloody feast has already begun
And the priest hailing
Furiously: “Te Deum! Hallelujah!...”

And that - my Pole, my companion, my brother -
Is how greedy priests and magnates
Set us against ourselves, separated us,
And we could have lived in harmony though.
Lend a hand to the Cossack
Open your heart to him
And together in the name of Christ
Bring our peaceful heaven on earth back to life
English translation from the site linked below

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Sassanian hippotaxotai - a sketch

a Sassanina hippotaxotai or horse archer - a MyPaint sketch


Friday, January 24, 2014

Sketching a horse in MyPaint

 Getty Museum opened its coffers to us, Net surfers, and soem nice books are available for download or just reading directly on line.
Meantime I have sketched a horse using just MyPaint & my Wacom Intuos4
Two versions below

ps here the link to the free Getty books

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Count Adam Batthyany - winged hussar extraordinarie

Wikimedia Commons has this fantastic print from the studio of  Jakob von Sandrart who was one of the best engravers in Nuremberg.
The print is dated to 1664 and shows count Adam Batthyany or Adamus de Betania, Hungarian magnate and one of the chief defenders of Holy Roman Empire's border with the Ottoman Empire during the 1640s and 1650s - of the so called Capitancy of Kaniza.

He was appointed the capital-general in 1640 and his military duties included the security of the entire area south of Lake Balaton.

 This Hapsburg Empire border region, de jure secure under the 20 year extension of the treaty of Zsitvatorok of 1606,  was in constant chaos and threat of small scale raiding by the enterprising commanders leading small Turkish forces while both sides pretended there was peace observed, i.e., no large scale war; hence in this state of no-official-war the Turkish commanders exploited Hapsburg inability to conduct war on two fronts (Thirty Years' War)on their side of the border conducted raids across the border into Royal Hungary for plunder, slaves, cattle and glory.

Count Adam must have achieved his goals with enough success since he was called 'a pillar of Fatherland, ' name coined by his friend and Hungarian poet Miklos Zrinyi (Zrinski). He was to have a very large retinue and being the last Batthyany to hold such vast estates in Royal Hungary, had some 1000 courtiers et al., amongst them he hosted young noblemen from Austria, Transylvania,  Croatia and Poland.
On the subject of Croats he was keen to resettle Croatian mercenaries with their families in Royal Hungary, Croats being experienced warriors and Catholics. He was known for using hussars in his border wars with the Ottomans.
On 15 March 1659 count Batthyány died in Güssing, but it is known that during the battle of Székesfehérvár (1654) when his troops defeated the pasha of Kaniza he had suffered a stroke and yet in 1657 he had been leading the troops, along with  Franz III  Nádasdy , against another Turkish incursion into his Royal Hungary..
But enough about count Adam, let us turn to the engraving itself, done about
 5 years after count Adam's death.

He is shown here as a war leader and winged hussar commander mounted on a spirited stallion, holding a mace as a sign of captaincy, command and war prowess.

He is protected with a splendid,  apparently gilded, half-armour but instead of wearing thigh & hip plate ( Faulds & Cuisses ) protection he has a coat-of-mail under his cuirass, not unlike the winged hussar on the Tablica Gołuchowska and Stockholm Rolka paintings.  Around his shoulders, covering parts of his armour he is wearing a wild cat pelt, lynx or leopard, although perhaps this pelt looks more like a lynx one with a short tail?

A typical hussar shishak helmet covers his head, with a splendid 'egreta' of precious stones and feathers, perhaps a mix of egret featehs with   falcon or hawk feathers.

Under his right thigh there is a broadsword, typical arrangement for these shorter weapons, whereas longer 'estocks' were usually carried on the left side. He is wearing a 'dolman' underneath his armour, or at least should have worn one, as it was Hungarian fashion of almost 2 centuries, and would persist well into XIX century. His boots are typical Hungarian of the period, most likely of Moroccan leather.

We are offered a closer look at count Adam's horse bridle, with a typical curb-bit with long shanks, while our hero is riding with one hand holding the reins in a military style, not unlike the style the California vaqueros were using some 100 years ago. We see just the lower skirts of his saddle, and perhaps it is a Ottoman Turkish-Hungarian blend, with high pommel and wide cantle.

While this imaginary portrait is splendid in itself,  the background images  shows one spectacular scene, namely they show winged hussars attacking their foe.

We have the entire retinue - the noble towarzysz hussar and his retainer. Behind them there is a mounted archer and another winged hussar charging the pillaging Turkish soldiers.

Both soldiers wield lances, but only the retainer has a wing attached to his back, while the towarzysz is wearing armour and is covered with wild cat, leopard (?) , pelt.
 Again, the winged retainer with a wing not unlike the Tatars at the battle of Warszawa 1656, except this Royal Hungarian has a long lance aka kopia (Lat. 'copia')

 The wings are also little similar to the wings from Certmen Equestre and wings drawn by Dollabella in his prints showing entry of Polish ambassador  Jerzy Ossoliński entry into Rome.

 images from Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Certamen Equestre - mounted drummers

Salve Friends and net travellers,
still hoovering over the Certamen equestre prints from Gallica, we can eject another interesting set of images from that set. Namely, the drummers that in the olden days always accompanied horse troops, especially the more expensive companies, like armoured knight banners, cuirassiers, or winged hussars - in Polish Kingdom one or more mounted drummers were  attached to the winged hussar banners (along with trumpeters), long after they shed the wings and most armour, while medium cavalry like the pancerni did not have normally any drummers, just trumpeters during 1750s-1770s.

Ad rem, Certamen esquestre prints allows us to see 4 different mounted drummers.  There are some interesting distinguishing aspects within the horse tack and the drums themselves - I invite you to study them and share with all of us here, in the comment section - :)

Alla antica -





Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Certamen Equestre - Gallica

great news - French National digital Library Gallica has the entire Certamen Equestre for all to view and download the iamges :)

This time the King Charles XI's horses were outfitted alla antica - in the Ancient [Roman] style-


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sketches - Parthians etc

just adding a few sketches as I have been doing more reading of the Parthians of the III-I centuries BC
They are done on computer
the one I 'coloured' it with MyPaint, I had had the black and white one already

and this one is a bit different - i was reading some articles on my friend Dr Kaveh Farrokh's webpage and Dr Kaveh has these old Iranian watercolours from the 1970s there, and while looking at one I sort of copied the standard that had been painted there... 

I like drawing them with what esteemed Russian scholar Valerii Nikonorov calls a klevets - a battle-axe with acutely pointed blade,
I hope you will enjoy them :)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Horses of Gericault - adendum

in December I made this entry on the wonderful equestrian art of Monsieur Gericault, and today I am going to add several images from his 'stables.'

 I especially like the watercolour sketches and the drawings done on tinted paper with sepia and white gauche.
All of these images again and again shows us the beauty of the horse and amazing skill of Master Gericault.

also, I made a sketch, a few weeks back, of a horseman based on his famous horseman of the Napoleon's guard. I am going to make this horseman into a Polish or Hungarian rider from the 1600s or 1700s, I am not sure just yet.  Perhaps more than one horseman since digital painting allows us to do create multiple images  :)
In any event, studying the Old Masters and using their compositions etc to draw and paint that is the time honoured tradition, and a great learning tool.