Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sasseta - Journey of the Magi

Salvete Omnes,
another XV century Sienese master Stefano di Giovanni or Sasseta painted this  piece - tempera on wood panel -  it is the cover image of the already mentioned on this blog MET's catalogue on the Sienese and Central Italian Art during the late Middle Ages - page 84-6.Dora Sallay's dissertation, linked in the last post, also contains more information of Sasseta's work, technique and life, p. 101-111.

We get here a glimpse of the Magi's caravan, traveling in their wintry but very medieval landscape. while not as splendid as Benozzo Gozzoli's work it is nevertheless very interesting and worth studying first half of  XV century piece.
the Magi are in the center of their retinue -  riding with long stirrups, double reins, but appearance of curb-bits; red leather is used for the bridles of and tack of the grey and black horse, while dark-brown or even black for the roan's. Horses are powerful animals and ridden with ease, single-handed.
roan, grey and this time perhaps a black horse, all appear to be palfreys - for comfort and steadiness -

the retainers and attendants, one with a hawk - hawking was the sport of the chivalry, both men and women.
Retainers are armed - naturally, as travel was dangerous these days. The black horse is saddle with a red saddle and tack, in fine contrast to his coat.
grey horse and his rider exhibit some showmanship?

lesser armed attendants - various reins arrangements and colors, also saddles with long skirts
more retainers on horseback -

finally,  the sumptuous and exotic gifts for baby Jesus carried on the backs of pack mules? while the camels have been truncated from this panel. Pack animals have just halters or perhaps hackamore/cavesson bridles.
mules? are being led from the ground by the walking attendants,  evidently rods are being used to hurry on the laden pack animals.
very colorful caravan, following the Star of Bethlehem - :)

1 comment:

Dario T. W. said...

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