Friday, November 18, 2016

Procession of the Magi in the Palazzo Medici Riccardi in Florence (1459-60)
Benozzo Gozzoli 

Cosimo de' Medici chose Benozzo Gozzoli to decorate the chapel, and this commission brought the artist back to Florence. The pictorial program of the chapel is also structured in two parts: the Procession of the Magi in the main room and the Adoration of the Child in the chancel with the Angels worshiping on the side walls.

There is an incredible amount of detail in this for people, and animals.

The Journey of the Magi
This is not one piece specifically, but rather a search category in itself. Often it seems that the journey is made from horseback and the artist at the time did what they know.

The Journey of the Magi : Sassetta
The Journey of the Magi: Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni) (Italian, Siena or Cortona ca. 1400–1450 Siena)

Below are two images from a site doing picture details of Wall Painting restorations.That direct link is here:

The Journey of the Magi, detail, wall painting, 1435, Maria Saal (Carinthia), Cathedral

The Journey of the Magi, detail, wall painting, c. 1420/25, St. Peter am Kammersberg (Styria), Parish Church

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Hippiatria sive Marescalia (1532)
by:  Lorenzo Rusio aka: Laurentius Rusius

The full title of this is actually:
Hippiatria sive Marescalia Laurentii Rusii ad Nicolaum sancti Hadriani diaconum Cardinalem, in qua praeter variorum morborum plurima, ac saluberrimaremedia, plures quam in priore editione comodissime frenorum formae excusaesunt, vt nullum tam nouo oris vitio laborantem equum inuenias, cui non hincoccurrere facilime possis. -

Below is a summary written about this book:
"The horse has been an important animal throughout human history. The healing of injured or sick horses took a dominant place in early veterinary literature. Theories about equine physiology mirrored those about humans. Literature on both subjects was inherently linked. Many discoveries, including the circulation of the blood, developed in tandem. Astrology was an important ingredient to medieval and Renaissance human healing. The influence of the stars on the body was studied and carefully charted. Veterinarians did the same for horses. The signs of the zodiac were associated with different parts of the body. Do not, for example, treat the head while Aries is in the sky.

Medieval and Renaissance veterinary medicine looked to ancient texts for support. In the case of horses, veterinarians relied on a set of Classical and Byzantine Greek texts which are collectively known as the ‘Hippiatrica’. The most noted of ancient authors was Absyrtos, a military veterinarian in the service of the Roman Emperor Constantine I. Italian veterinarian Lorenzo Rusio (1288-1397), using the Latinized name of Laurentius Rusius, published his Hippiatria sive Marescalia in 1532. The book was published in Paris by Christianus Wechelus. The links to ancient veterinary practices are evident. Absyrtus had described a disease in the horse which appears like influenza. It was the earliest record of such an affliction in animals. Rusius recorded a similar occurrence of equine influenza, describing the symptom in these terms: ‘The horse carried his head drooping, would eat nothing, ran from the eyes, and there was a hurried beating of the flanks. The malady was epidemic, and in that year one thousand horses died.’

The Hippiatrica is a rich source of information about horses, medicine and magic, which was transmitted to the medieval scriptorium and ultimately to the printed edition. By the mid-1500s, sumptuous anatomical studies of human anatomy began appearing as dissection yielded new perspectives on the human body. Soon after, veterinarians started publishing similar studies of the anatomy of the horse."

Also inside are a number of drawings of various types of bits. Below are just a few examples:

La Mascalcia Di Lorenzo Rusio Volgarizzamento Del Secolo Xiv.: Della Cura De' Cavalli (Italian Edition)

"De medicina equorum, by Giordano Ruffo, farrier to Frederick II (1194-1250), Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily.

An early witness in a single, later 13th-century hand to the foundation text of medieval equine medicine, composed soon after the Emperor's death, in either Latin or Italian. The format of the text and evidence of the script suggest an early copyist's exemplar.

There follows a table of fifty-seven chapter headings on accidents and specific diseases although the text finishes at the end of chapter 55; the last few words have been erased and the word finis inserted in a later hand."

The language part of this book makes it a challenge. It is a hand written script/cursive text. The Latin, French, Italian hand and style all make this is a very difficult read. Although it seems the content could be quite interesting, the difficult nature of reading this is a challenge in itself.

The title at the top of the page is a link to Amazon to obtain a paperback copy of the book. The quote provided is a paraphrased summary from the The Library at Wellcome Collection.  They have the text digitized and available for download.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Works on Horses and Equitation: A Bibliographical Record of Hippology

By Frederick Henry Huth (1887). The dedication of the book is to The Duke of Cambridge.

What does an author and collector of research do in the 1800’s when they cannot stand up a blog? Well, it seems they index their books on a topic and write it into a book so that they know how to guide others doing research.

Fredrick Henry Huth was such a researcher on the topic of hippology – or rather, the study of the horse. In his own words “By far the greater number of books collected in these pages are monographs on the Horse but I have not thought it wise to exclude other works on Natural History dealing with the Horse Ass or Mule in any very distinct degree.”

He was a collector of rare books on the subject and put together an index of his own collection. He was later guided to do so for as much of the collected works on the topic as he could. This compiled index has the material listed by date, then later by author and then again organized by subject matter. In the preface of this book he cites that he only included works that were of hippography specifically and not works that made just casual mention of horses. Again in his words “I have endeavoured to condense this volume to the utmost limit of its utility by the excision of all superfluous matter”.

The first- thus earliest record he cites- is a partial work from Kimon of Athens circa 430bc. That is a record 50years prior to the famous Xenophon in 380. There are summaries of 77 works from Kimon up to Bernardo deVargas in 1600. There are another 500+ works of books, journal writings and articles ranging from 1602 until 1886. 

This is not a book full of beautiful pictures and artwork. This is a researchers dream to be pointed to sources many did not even know existed. This index is a free eBook online ... 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Manesse Codex 1305-1340

The Manesse Codex is a book copied and illustrated between 1305 and 1340 in Zürich for the Manesse family.

It contains love songs in Middle High German by important poets, several of whom were famous rulers.

More importantly for the purposes of this posting it has several drawings and depictions of various horse related items.

Below are just a few images from the codex:

The Battle of San Romano by Paolo Uccello

The Battle of San Romano 
ArtistPaolo Uccello (1397-1475)
MediumTempera on panel

Description from the
UK National Gallery

"This brilliantly structured and colourful painting depicts part of the battle of San Romano that was fought between Florence and Siena in 1432. The central figure is Niccolò da Mauruzi da Tolentino on his white charger, the leader of the victorious Florentine forces, who is identifiable by the motif of 'Knot of Solomon' on his banner.

This panel is one of a set of three showing incidents from the same battle. The other two are in the Louvre, Paris, and the Uffizi, Florence. This painting and its two companion panels were commissioned by the Bartolini Salimbeni family in Florence sometime between 1435 and 1460: only the Uffizi panel is signed. Lorenzo de' Medici so coveted them that he had them forcibly removed to the Medici palace.  The pictures may originally have had arched tops designed to fit below Gothic vaults. They were made into rectangular panels in the 15th century, possibly by Uccello himself. Uccello was much preoccupied with one point linear perspective, seen here in the foreshortening of shapes and arrangement of broken lances."

Zooming into the image will allow close inspection of quite a lot of detail. Note the way the horse tack is created, the artist even shows the inside rivet pieces and how things were attached.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Codex Vallardi

Antonio di Puccio Pisano
The Louvre, Paris

This is a collection of line drawings and sketches by Antonio di Puccio Pisano. According to his biography in the National Museum of Art in Washington D.C., he was born in Pisa circa 1395 and died in Rome sometime between July and October of 1455. The nickname "Pisanello," which most likely referred to his small stature, seems to have stayed with him throughout his career. Although Pisanello did larger works such as decoration for the Doge's Palace in Venice between 1415 and 1422 and the Basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome between 1431 and 1432 the interest in him here is in the Codex specifically. The sketches in the Codex are quite varied ranging from people, dogs and other animals, to ships and architecture.

His sketches of horses, and their associated tack are quite detailed and why this work is included here.
Presented here are only three of such sketches, there are many more in the book itself. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Hans Thalhofer, Fechtbuch von 1467

Hans Thalhofer
Fechtbuch von 1467 - BSB Cod.icon. 394 a

Hans Talhoffer (Dalhover, Talhouer, Thalhoffer, Talhofer) was a 15th century German fencing master. His martial lineage is unknown, but his writings make it clear that he had some connection to the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer, the grand master of the German school of fencing. Talhoffer was a well educated man, who took interest in astrology, mathematics, onomastics, and the auctoritas and the ratio. He authored at least five fencing manuals during the course of his career, and appears to have made his living teaching, including training people for trial by combat.
          excerpt from:

These images are just a few taken from the section on "Mounted Sword Play".

Illuminating the Medieval Hunt

Illuminating the Medieval Hunt features nearly fifty miniatures from the Morgan's celebrated hunting manuscript by Gaston Phoebus (1331–1391), Le Livre de la chasse (Paris, ca. 1407). Since the manuscript was disbound—for reasons of conservation and the preparation of a facsimile—the exhibition provides a unique opportunity for the public to "walk" through the manuscript as well as to turn the pages of the facsimile. The miniatures illustrate the four books of the treatise, which deal with gentle and wild animals, the nature and care of dogs, instructions on hunting with dogs, and the use of various snares and crossbows by hunters.
A rare first edition of Le Livre de la chasse (ca. 1507) is also on view as well as the Book of St. Albans, the first English book (1486) on hunting. In addition, a dozen manuscripts illustrate how the medieval hunt was used as a metaphor in both sacred and profane texts. To show that the noble hunt was not limited to Europe, the exhibition ends with six examples of Islamic and Indian origin.
Excerpt from : 
The Morgan Library and Museum: 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street, New York, NY 10016

The Medieval Horse and its Equipment, c.1150-1450

The Medieval Horse and its Equipment, c.1150-1450 (Medieval Finds from Excavations in London) (Volume 5)

This is a basic work of reference for archaeologists and those studying medieval artifacts.

"Over 400 recent finds associated with horses and excavated in London, from the utilitarian to the highly decorated, illustrated and discussed. Whether knight's charger or beast of burden, horses played a vital role in medieval life.

The wealth of medieval finds excavated in London in recent years has, not surprisingly, included many objects associated with horses. This catalogue illustrates and discusses over four hundred such objects, among them harness, horseshoes, spurs and curry combs, from the utilitarian to highly decorative pieces. London served by horse traffic comes vividly in view."

 click to read as .pdf
click image to read as .pdf

Gervase Markham, A Discource of Horsmanshippe

Markham, Gervase, 1568?-1637
Online link and references here 

A discource of horsmanshippe Wherein the breeding and ryding of horses for seruice, in a breefe manner is more methodically sette downe then hath been heeretofore. 

With a more easie and direct course for the ignorant, to attaine to the same arte or knowledge. Also the manner to chuse, trayne, ryde and dyet, both hunting-horses, and running-horses: with all the secretes thereto belonging discouered. An arte neuer heeretofore written by any authour.

At London: Printed by I. C[harlewood] for Richard Smith, and are to be sold at his shoppe at the West-doore of Poules, Anno. Dom. 1593.

Ann Arbor, MI ; Oxford (UK) :: Text Creation Partnership,
2003-05 (EEBO-TCP Phase 1)
To the extent possible under law, the Text Creation Partnership has waived all copyright and related or neighboring rights to this keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above, according to the terms of the CC0 1.0 Public Domain Dedication ( This waiver does not extend to any page images or other supplementary files associated with this work, which may be protected by copyright or other license restrictions. Please go to for more information.

The Art of Horsemanship, by Xenophon

by Xenophon; Morgan, M. H. (Morris Hicky), 1859-1910

This translated Version Published 1893

Veterinary Library's copy part of the John A. Seaverns Equine Collection

Publisher Boston, Mass. : Little, Brown, and Co.
Pages 224
Possible copyright status NOT_IN_COPYRIGHT
Language English
Call number 19347510
Digitizing sponsor Tufts University
Book contributor Webster Family Library of Veterinary Medicine

Collection websterfamilyvetmed; blc; americana

Among the earliest known works on choosing, caring for, and riding horses, this book is still hailed--2,300 years after it was written — as one of the most complete, thoughtful, and accessible guides of its type. Civilization has changed radically in the centuries since it was written, but the equestrian arts have remained essentially the same. Much of what we presently accept as common wisdom about horsemanship derives from this volume.

A student of Socrates, Xenophon was an accomplished cavalryman and one of the foremost scholars of his day. This translation by Morris H. Morgan offers a fluid interpretation of the ancient Greek's advice, plus 38 carefully chosen illustrations. Equestrians and other horse lovers as well as military history buffs and students of Greek culture will find The Art of Horsemanship a treasury of practical tips and enlightened observations.

German fencing manual created by Paulus Kal

Paulus Kal

Bavarian State Library - Die Bayerische Staatsbibliothek

This manual has many images and detailed positions for fighting from horseback and from foot.

German fencing manual created by Paulus Kal
The Cgm 1507 is a German fencing manual created by Paulus Kal in ca. 1470. The original currently rests in the holdings of the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, Germany. The manuscript is dedicated to Ludwig IX "the Rich" of Wittelsbach (1417-1479), Duke of Bavaria-Landshut. This seems to be the archetype of Paulus Kal's treatise, and the only copy that was certainly commissioned by the master himself.

The manuscript consists of a redaction of some of the teachings of Johannes Liechtenauer on mounted fencing, armored fencing, and unarmored fencing, as well as Kal's own teachings on a variety of other weapons. It differs from the works of other followers of Liechtenauer in that instead of offering extensive glosses of the high master's verse, Kal relies on detailed illustrations.
Despite being the most complete version of Kal's treatise, this manuscript is missing several pages, including two leaves between ff 2 and 3 and one each between 18/19, 79/80, 91/92, and 93/94. The missing folio 18a may have corresponded to the plays on ff 12v - 13r of the MS Chart.B.1021, but any content on the other five folia cannot currently be determined.

 Excerpt from: