Monday, February 27, 2023

Leopold Wilhelm Habsburg on horseback

Salvete Omnes,

back to the XVII century equestrian portraits from royal Europe.

a detail of Peter Snayers' painting - Siege of Armentierers - and archduke on a gray horse

another Snayers - Siege of Diskmuided - this time archduke is mounted on a chestnut steed 

This time it will be archduke Leopold Wilhelm  von Osterreich (Hapsburg) - a scion of the Austrian imperial family: son of emperor Ferdinand II and brother of emperor Ferdinand III, who was not very lucky or perhaps unlucky as a military commander, but made it into history as art collector and bishop of Wroclaw (Breslau) upon  passing of  our Vasa royal, Karol Ferdynand Wasa in 1655/6 (he held 3 more bishoprics as the time of his passing in 1662), and also a Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.

National Trust images

a stallion and most likely a Spanish royal horse

I think this mount was a dark chestnut horse
and here archduke hawking by David Teniers the Younger 

nota bene Leopold Wilhelm had some nice suits of armor as evidenced in these portraits, also showing the changes in fashion, including helmets etc. 


Friday, February 24, 2023

Back to George Catlin's Warriors

 Salvete Omnes,

there is war in Europe, as we all know, and Ukraine is the epicenter of it, the current escalation is a year old today.
I hope the war will end soon, the suffering and blood letting of the Ukrainian people.
Peace must prevail in Ukraine...

Long gone warriors from the Great American Plains will illustrate this post - all painted and drawn by Catlin's masterful hand
The Pawnee, Crow, Blackfeet, Mandan, Hidatsa and Sioux (Lakota):



Nowadays it is the time of scalp taking in Ukraine, but let us hope perhaps soon they will celebrate their acquired honors and stop the war, burring the war hatchet, and leaving this war in the past and for the historians, giving peace a chance.

let us hope the parties to this conflict will sit down and parley, like these Sioux in the Dog Feast Ceremony

and things will go back to normal, and  their peace and tranquility will be closer to the image of  the horses in this print

all images come from the Smithsonian American Art Museum and National Gallery of Art.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Wolfgang Wilhelm von Pfalz-Neuburg on horseback

 Salvete Omnes,


a quick entry showing equestrian portrait from the XVII century, German lands as there was no one Germany then, rather 'Germanies' then under the emperor and collectively known as the Holy Roman Empire.
So in this picture we have a chivalrous  prince Wolfgang Wilhelm, who was the groom from the wedding pictured in etchings by  Herr Zimmermann in Munich,  portrayed in a full equestrian plate armor, with a Marschallstab aka marshal baton .
The canvas was painted by a master from Rubens close circle of artists, named Deodat del Monte  ,

Let us take a closer look at his mount- 

 A palomino horse, perhaps a Spanish one. with a star a snip, and a sock on his left rear leg.

the head with a nice star and snip , while the bridle has a gilded curb-bit with longish shanks popular of this period

a Baroque Western saddle with a ornate 'horn'  - textile skirts 


gilded stirrups and spurs, a textile woven cinch visible

 and our  prince in the chisels of Abracham Hogenberg, German Kupferstecher .

If you ever in Dresden, ancient capital of Saxony, do check the castle where they display the most sumptuous XVII century saddles of the Saxon 


Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Favila de Asturias' Last Kiss



The occasion seems apt - the Valetnine's Day - so let us look at this XII century Spanish art showing king Favila de Asturias (son of king Don Pelayo and the 2nd king of the Kingdom of Asturias) and his wife Foiluba.
The Christian Reconquista (reconquest) of the Iberian peninsula from the Moorish occupation started with these Visigothic Asturian dynasts, with the legendary battle of Cavadonga, 722AD.  

From his capital Cangas de Onis Don Favila ruled but for two years, and in 739 was killed by a bear while hunting. He was burried

At the defunct monastery of San Pedro de Villaneuva (presently a parador aka hotel) there is Romansque art showing this Asturian king and his, in the spirit of Valetine's Day, beloved wife.

and there is a capitel carving  showing the royal couple in their last farewell
 and another capital sculpture showing hunters (XII century attire etc) hunting lions? or bears?

King was buried inside the small church he had founded - the  Santa Cruz de Gangas de Onis, and where he wife was also buried with him. but this temple   was destroyed and rebuilt twice (in 1632 and during the Spanish Civil War in 1936, when local Republicans? or Communists? destroyed the building to show the ancient dolmen that had been an integral part of the Christian temple) in its history, . But no trace of the  earthy remains of these royals can be found nowadays. 


enjoy your Valentine's Day


Sunday, February 12, 2023

In the saddle, on horseback - The art of war of the conquest-era Magyars - a film

 Salvete Omnes,

X century Magyar horse archer from Basilica Patriarcale (Aquileia)

a short entry - 
there is an amazing production to be watched on the web.
Namely, Digitalis Legendarium, from Hungary, produced a 28 minutes film titled:
In the saddle, on horseback - The art of war of the conquest-era Magyars. - link here

a screen shot - 

It is breathtaking presentation of the Magyar warriors and their military equipment in a very short, beautifully shot and presented video production. We get to see the bowmaking - arrows, recurve Hungarian bow, quivers, and bowcases, including straightening the arrow shafts with a special but simple device ; iron smithing , forging sabres and making them beautiful, making helmets and chainmail etc
We get to see the display of historic horsemanship & horse archery, and spear, battleax, and sword skills while astride the fabulous Hungarian horses. 
Then there is a segment on Magyar miltary organisation, strategy, tactics, and a short story of their campaigning in the early X century Italy etc. 
at the end we get a list of archaeological sites  from where this film reconstructed objects originated.  

the makers of these Netflix,Disney or Amazon etc films and movies could learn a thing or two about how to show history and make it amazingly accurate and pleasing to the eye too.. alas, they gave us the horrible Witcher, Rings of Power and some other ridiculous imagery of the viking or some other fantasy.. 


Wilhelm Peter Zimmermann - quintain at the wedding feast

Salvete Omnes,

back to the XVII century 

quintain with lances

 let us move fast - so, the German printmaker Herr Wilhelm Peter Zimmermann (1589-1630) did execute 11 etchings and based on them a number of  prints celebratory of the noble wedding of the houses of Bavarian Wittelsbach  and Pflaz(Palatinate)-Neuberg Wittelsbach.
From MET description:

This print is one of 11 etched illustrations from a book containing a description of the wedding festivities for 

Wolfgang Wilhelm, Duke of Pfalz-Neuberg, Pfalzgraf (1578–1658 - great portrait with his dog) and Magdalena, Duchess of Bavaria (1587–1628) (beautiful portrait here). 

The marriage took place in Munich on November 12, 1613, and the commemorative book was published by

 Wilehlm Peter Zimmermann in 1614 in Augsburg. 


Plates 4, 7, and 10 are in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Book title: Beschreibung und kurtze Radierte entwerffung der Füsrtlichen Hochzeit So Der Durchleuchtig und

Hochgeborn Fürst und Herr Herr Wolffgang Wilhelm Pfalzgraff bey Rhein/ Hertzog in Bayrn... Mit.. Fürstin Fraw 

Magdalena Pfalzgräfin bey Rhein Hertzogin in Obern und Nidern Bayrn. 

Zu München im sechszehenhunfert und dreyzehenden Jahr den zwölfften Novembris Celebriert und gehalten

 (Wilhelm Peter Zimmermann, Augsburg, 1614)

 I will 'dissect' a bit the plate showing lancers on horseback , showing the stages in this quintain


Herr Zimmermann executed plenty of etchings showing Hapsburg-Ottoman wars in Hungary, but these we will save for later.