Sunday, October 1, 2017

Landscape with Tournament and Hunters - Jan van Scorel

Salvete Omnes,
 again we shall stay for a bit in the Age of Renaissance, although what it truly means nowadays or whether there was any renaissance in the late medieval & early modern Christian Europe I have been having second and third thoughts for years.
Ad rem,  the XVI century artists left us with a plethora of horse-related images, and one of the images I would like to point your attention to is this lovely large piece by a Romanist Dutch painter Jan van Scorel who painted his large panel using oils, and the artwork can been presently located at the collection of the Chicago Art Institute.
The painting, aside from the its high artistic value and most likely fantasy, imaginary landscape,  contains lots of interesting historic information on the north-western European costume, horses, horse tack and customs.
Horses appear to have been schooled in airs, ridden with curb-bits, long reins and long stirrups. There are no particular colors within the horses shown, and no horse appears to be of a Frisian conformation.. at least the way I see it.

the work is dated to AD 1519-20 (Reformation is being born within the Holy Roman Empire), which was the era of developing gunpowder arms,  landsknecht and arquebus infantry, but also the era of flamboyant tournaments, parades and schooling of horses according to written manuals and master ecuyers instructions.
So here we have a town's fair perhaps saint George or saint Hubert (patron of chase & hunters), with a tournament taking place and town populace present in their finery.
lancers in tournament armor  on fine caparisoned horses, with attendants in their finery typical costumes of the Northern and Central Europe of these times

mounted musicians
on the right there is a horseman moving away from the tournament with his sweetheart riding behind his saddle seated on the rump of his mount, image that would be shown often in the Dutch art in the coming centuries

in the foreground town ladies in their fashionable costume next to some lowly horsemen

hunting activity contained in the title of this piece, and its apparently hunting the wild boar on horseback with a short heavy spear (boar spear?) and sight hounds, is given  just a glimpse and very little detail, sort of a view through a looking glass.


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