Thursday, March 9, 2017

Raffaelle Santi - early modern curb bit

I admire Italian painting from XIV-XVII centuries, but especially so called high Renaissance painters like Raffaelle Santi.
But before going about his knightly Saint George paintings I would like to draw your attention to this painting (circa 1517) known as lo Spasimo di Sicilia, famous not only for being his masterwork, but because it had survived the shipwreck during the delivery (at least according to Vassari), was sold to Spanish  grandee a century later and had the dubious pleasure to have been looted by the French during the Peninsular War (the French Napoleonic 'collectors,' in the footsteps of the Swedish looters during the Northern Wars, and the Royal French during the wars of Louis XIV, were in fact forerunners of the Soviet and German systematic thievery of art objects during the World War II).

suffering of the Holy Mother during the Passion

 ad rem, the horses depicted in the canvass (well, as you can read, it is now canvass, but  Raffaelle originally painted it on wood and the French 'restorers' transfered it onto canvass in the XIX century, damaging the ground and causing irreparable injury to the masterpiece)

Jewish high priest's dark bay or black horse,  - Oriental bridle (perhaps) but the interesting feature is the very wide nose band with metal adornments. Very long shanks on the curb-bit, and the reins are also adorned with metal pieces, making it rather heavy (perhaps a happy union of protection from sword's slashing to to reins and fine art of beautifying of horse harness)

Roman offcial - Pontius Pilate perhaps - mounted on a neighing gray horse, as suitable for a commander. The bridle is complete, with its leather tanned what appears to be rose or vermilion. There is only one rein set, the curb-bit is long shanked, very late Medieval. The curb-bit chain is not visible, also the attachment of the cheek straps to the shanks is not visible.  The head of this horse is interesting in its conformation, very bull-like. More about this feature some other time.

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