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.