Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Paris Bordone - knightly lance

Salvete Omnes,
I am going to return today to the knightly lance of the early modern period.
In the work of Paris Bordone, Venetian painter of the XVI century, we can fins a very interesting depiction of a knightly lance.
The work, at the  Russian Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts in Moscow, is titled Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist and Saint George (Holy Conversation).

The painting, shows Saint Mary  with Baby Jesus 'in conversation' with saints - sacra converzatione. - they are of the same size, thus breaking with the prior medieval traditions.
On the right we have here a knight, Saint George, in his field or battle armor holding his lance fresh from his battling with the dragon or Evil that is laying slain behind his armored feet. His breastplate or cuirass does not have a lance rest or arret de lance.

 The lances of this period could have been as long as  4.5 meters and the hollowed ones even longer (over 5 meters), made out of ash, pine or fir (tournament use especially) or beech; the wooden  staff between the hand grip and the point could have been whole, fluted (check Durer's Knight , Death and the Devil engraving) and  or hollowed (already in use in Asia eg bamboo lance of the Seljuk, Turk, Persian, Indian, and Arab etc horsemen).
The Italians being the most industrious of all the European races at that time (XIV-XV centuries), perhaps reinvented the hollowing of the staff of a lance, applying the Eastern practices to the heavy knightly lance, making it longer and more deadly than before ( Turks were using some short hollowed lances already during their great expansion in the late I millennium). By the end of XV century Italian lancers were using hollowed lances (famous battle of Fornovo is one example where the Italian men-at-arms used them to astonishment of  French chroniclers who called them a bourdonnasse ) - this blog has a very interesting article on the subject of pre-1600 lances. Perhaps at this time hollowed lances came to use in the Jagiellonian kingdoms (Polish and Lithuanian realms), Czech Crown, Hungarian crown realms) where the developing winged hussars would make a hollow lance their weapon of choice (while the rulers picked up the tab for the cost of constructing it).

The wood could have been gessoed and painted(including gilded), and/or wrapped with glue-covered parchment to strengthen it even further, and then painted.

My attention was drawn to the way our master painter depicted his Saint George's lance.

Thus the lance staff appears to have been wrapped with parchment? in its entirety and painted?.
 Then the lance end, from the hand grip to the end tip or the part that was held under the armpit and stuck out some behind the elbow, is very short thus leaving the vast majority of the shaft sticking out in from of our mounted lancer.

Lately, I have been making the argument that also our Polish winged hussar lances were had the very short end to provide more staff in from of the horse where it was needed.
Finally we do not see the lance head, but perhaps master Borodne deemed it immaterial in this composition since the dragon is slain.

In addition I am attaching some of Bordone's paintings with armored knights





Dario T. W. said...

https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k52339b/f338.item Les mémoires de messire Philippe de Commines, chevalier, seigneur d'Argenton

Dario T. W. said...

Les mémoires de messire Philippe de Commines, chevalier, seigneur d'Argenton - translated memoirs end with the death Louis XI.

Willem Plink said...

Salvé I want the adres, Emailadres of A.F. Telenik. with some comrades we are writing about a daiery from an officier in the Russian campain 1812. We saw a nice picture from two Don Cossacks against a French Cuirassier. But thera are copyrights so we want to contact mr. Telenik. Couldt you help us greetings Willem link wplin@omniataal.nl

Dario T. W. said...

hi Willem,
sure thing - I will put you in touch with maestro Telenik

Dario T. W. said...

on bevors - https://harringtoncompanye.wordpress.com/2016/05/28/bevors-how-not-to-wear-them/?fbclid=IwAR1_gHECsC-3O7Hhwse8o3zfHw61k70ZZHluahsndupupdLQLbuYghMxjo8