Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Early modern spurs from Bonifacio Veronese's Adoration of the Magi

La Serenissima had ruled her multiethnic empire until Bonaparte extinguished her completely, but her lands, between the foothills of the Alps, isles, plains and valleys of  Dalmatia, and sweet scented mountains of Crete and other islands of Greece were fertile grounds for intermingling of styles and types of weaponry, horse equipment, costumes and fashions. Artists working within her territories, especially in Venice close vicinity,  left ample evidence of their familiarity with their neighbors (Turks, Hungarians, Germanic folks) and subjects (Slavs, Greek, Albanians).

So let us give a quick look at two sets of spurs from an early modern (early XVI century) painting by  a Venetian artist  known as Bonifacio Veronese or Bonifacio de' Pitati.

The photos of the painting are not very sharp (via Wiki Commons),but one can see two types of these fine equestrian tools of late Medieval/early modern cavalryman

the Magus of the yellow boots ( a Moor Balthazar ) carries a Turkish sabre?

Magus of the green boots (Melchior) has his sword covered,  only the scabbard's butt is visible, presumably of the sabre (because it is curving, and he is a Magus -:) )

Short shank, pointing downward, with a large robust 6-points star rowel, gold-plated,  also a nicely visible buckle of the spur, note the green Maroccan leather boot
slender longer shank with a rather delicate looking 6-point star rowel,  perhaps gold-plated,
manner of securing the spur on the ankle, note soft tanned yellow boot
In short, these spurs belong to the long tradition of the Medieval riding equipment; the same tradition would live until our very modern age.
and some other images that are interesting
another Turkish sabre? from this painting

Noblemen and ladies from Veneto (? ) hunting, from this painting, horses, some horse tack and manner of riding visible

detail from another Adoration of the Magi, gray horse and its bridle somewhat visible

Rider on a spirited horse in a background of this amazing painting


[1] Latin - be healthy! or farewell!  - )

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