Sunday, December 30, 2012

The "Book of Flags", 16th Century

Fribourg/Freiburg, Archives de l'Etat de Fribourg/Staatsarchiv Freiburg, Législation et variétés 53/Gesetzgebung und Verschiedenes 53, p. 1r – Livre de Drapeaux/Fahnenbuch (Book of Flags)
Arms of the City and Republic of Fribourg, surmounted by a third shield, also oval-shaped arms of the Empire. It is surmounted by the imperial crown. The whole is supported by two lions, one holding a sword in dexter and sinister than a world

Fribourg/Freiburg, Archives de l'Etat de Fribourg/Staatsarchiv Freiburg, Législation et variétés 53/Gesetzgebung und Verschiedenes 53, p. 4r – Livre de Drapeaux/Fahnenbuch (Book of Flags)
The arms of bailiwicks, from left to right from the top middle: Corberss (Corbières), Remond (Romont) Ruw (Street) Staffys (Estavayer), Boll (Bulle) Wiypingen (Vuippens) Uberstein (Surpierre) Bossonens (Bossonnens), Chastel-[D] ionized (Châtel-St-Denis), Attalens, S. Albin (St. Aubin), Talbach (Vaulruz), Font, Cugie (Cugy) Plaffeyen (Plaffeien) Jounn (Bellegarde) Corsery (Corserey), Orbach (Orb), Granson (Grandson) Grasburg (Grasbourg) Murtten (Morat), Alten [r] Yff (Hauterive) Chinaulx (Chenaux) 1 , Montenach (Montagny) Gruningen (Everdes) Illingen (Illens) Bridge and Gryers (Gruyère)
Fribourg/Freiburg, Archives de l'Etat de Fribourg/Staatsarchiv Freiburg, Législation et variétés 53/Gesetzgebung und Verschiedenes 53, p. 13r – Livre de Drapeaux/Fahnenbuch (Book of Flags)
Banner of the City of Milan: Round medallion in the center of which is placed Ambrose , the patron saint of Milan, in priestly garb, holding a whip in his right hand and the stick in his left hand, he is surrounded by allegories of the cardinal virtues: Justice, Strength, Prudence and Temperance. Part of the medallion bears the following legend: + COMVNITASMEDIOLANI in Roman capitals (Enlarge the image to observe letters)

In 1646, the Petit Conseil or Executive Council of Fribourg, equivalent to the Canton of Fribourg, commissioned Pierre Crolot (did my best but couldn't find complete BIO, so far) an artist from the Free County of Burgundy, with the task of illustrating the flags and banners that were carried by Fribourg troops on campaigns in Sundgau, Burgundy, and Italy (at the end of the 15th century and the beginning of the 16th century), which were then displayed in the church of St. Nicholas.
These objects themselves disappeared without a trace in 1822, with the exception of two ceremonial vestments of the Order of the Golden Fleece (which are now on display in the castle of Gruyere). The book contains a total of 240 illuminations: three frontispieces show the city’s coat of arms, its bailiwick, and the coats of arms of the members of the Executive Council; 30 tables reproduce the banners, and 9 tables portray Burgundian clothing items and tapestries. The “Book of Flags” is an art object, valuable as a record of objects that have been lost, as well as a witness to the glory of the Fribourg troops in the late middle ages.
Technical details about the codex: Parchment: 42 plates, size 31 x 48 cm. Original title (classic german): "Fahnenbuch". Hosted at Archives de l'Etat de Fribourg (Freiburg), and also well known (even best) as "Le Livre des Drapeaux de Fribourg"

Fribourg/Freiburg, Archives de l'Etat de Fribourg/Staatsarchiv Freiburg, Législation et variétés 53/Gesetzgebung und Verschiedenes 53, p. 16r – Livre de Drapeaux/Fahnenbuch (Book of Flags)
Banner of Milan (II) Round medallion in the center of which is placed St. Ambrose, in the same suit and the same attributes, but it is not surrounded by allegories. The medallion is placed in the center of a white cross occupying the whole field of the flag. In each canton is inscribed the motto libertas, lowercase Gothic, surmounted by a crown.
Fribourg/Freiburg, Archives de l'Etat de Fribourg/Staatsarchiv Freiburg, Législation et variétés 53/Gesetzgebung und Verschiedenes 53, p. 22r – Livre de Drapeaux/Fahnenbuch (Book of Flags)
Flag of Pierre de Gingins, lord of Châtelard, killed in June 1476 defending Tour de Peilz against the Bernese
Fribourg/Freiburg, Archives de l'Etat de Fribourg/Staatsarchiv Freiburg, Législation et variétés 53/Gesetzgebung und Verschiedenes 53, p. 25r – Livre de Drapeaux/Fahnenbuch (Book of Flags)
Etendard of Louis XII, King of France and Count of Pavia

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Book of Hours of Henry VIII, 15th Century

The miniature shows Adrian's two-part martyrdom. He is seated on the anvil, his intestines having already fallen out, as two executioners begin to hack off his legs. Adrian looks heavenward, while in the background Natalia prays contentedly; the emperor, at the left, directs the torture. N. of the A. : for further detail regarding St. Adrian's BIO go to the end of this post...

The Book of Hours of Henry VIII is hosted in the Morgan Library & Museum, in New York under H.8 tag (Henry 8). Receives its name from the possible but unproven eighteenth-century tradition that holds King Henry of England once owned this splendid manuscript. This lavish Book of Hours -I've seen a lot but the detail on each illumination in this manuscript makes this in particular unique- receives its name from King Henry VIII of England, second monarch of the House of Tudor. About the author, Jean Poyer, was a French miniature painter and manuscript illuminator, active from 1483 until his death. He worked in the courts of Louis XI of France, Charles VIII of France and Louis XII of France.
The manuscript contains the standard texts—Calendar, Gospel Lessons, Hours of the Virgin, Hours of the Cross, Hours of the Holy Spirit, Penitential Psalms with Litany, Office of the Dead, and Suffrages; as well as a number of common accessory prayers.
References: (internal,) see other related posts on facsimilium- The amazing "Book of Hours from Rouen", 15th Century and Book of hours (use of Rome), 15th Century. External references: about The Book of Hours of Henry VIII, I do recommend the spanish editor Manuel Moleiro webpage (english version available). For the rest of this post, I'll focus on the splendid calendar -located on manuscript first chapters-:

(January) Inside, the lord of the house sits at his meal, his back to the hearth, as his wife, closer to the fire, warms her hands. While a heavy snow covers the land, a laborer carries a few logs from the woodpile into the manor.

February's labor is not much different from January's. The lord of the house, richly dressed in fur-lined garments and hat, raises the folds of his clothes, the better to warm his backside. His attention has been caught by his servant, who enters with flagons of wine.

In the early spring month of March, work begins outdoors with the typical labor of pruning the vineyard. Workers trim the leafless vines and tie them to the grape arbor. A wood cask for drink is in the foreground.

 With April, the landscape becomes green and alive, and the month's activity is not laborious, but one for the leisure class. A foppishly dressed youth, his hands filled with freshly picked spring flowers, waits while his lady friend weaves the blossoms into a garland.
Another leisurely couple partakes of May's pleasure, the gathering, on the first of the month, of flowering or leafing branches. While one dog slowly leads the couple along a dirt path marked by branches tied across tree boughs, a second dog runs deeper into the woods on an uncharted track.

Summer's hard labors of the begin in June with the mowing of the hay. Three men rhythmically attack the field with large scythes. Two women rake the loose hay into stacks. Behind them, a wagon waits to be filled. In the foreground at the right are the workers' bundles of food and casks of drink.

The summer harvest continues in July with the reaping of the wheat. Four men, minimally dressed to keep cool, carefully cut the stalks with sickles and lay them in neat bundles. As in June, the foreground features, in the manner of a still life, their containers of food and drink.
The wheat harvest continues in August as the cut stalks are brought in oxcarts to the barn, where three men beat them with jointed flails. Threshing with flails loosens the kernels of wheat from their stalks so that they can then be winnowed and thus separated from the chaff.

The task for September is wine making, an activity that requires a division of labor between men and women. In the fields in the background, seated women pick the grapes, while a man stands, awaiting a full basket to bring to the winepress. Inside the barn men dump their baskets into large winepresses where the fruit is trampled. Crushed, the grapes are then transferred to a large vat from which, at the bottom, the liquid can be extracted for storing and aging in the nearby barrels.
In October the winter wheat is sown. The man at left sows the field with grain he holds in his apron. The man on the right plows his field with a team of white horses.

In November the labor is to take the pigs to the forest and rattle the branches of the oak trees so they shed their acorns, thus fattening up the animals.

The portrait of this post is about St. Adrian's Martyrdom. Adrian (or Hadrian) was a young Praetorian Guard in Nicomedia under Emperor Maximian (r. 286–305). The soldier was converted by witnessing the steadfast confidence of a group of Christians under torture. Impressed by their constancy, he asked to be counted among their ranks. Needless to say, Adrian was promptly arrested and imprisoned. His new wife, Natalia, (a secret Christian) was overjoyed, ran to the prison, and encouraged him to remain firm in his new faith, kissing his chains. When he learned the date of his impending martyrdom, the saint convinced the guards to allow him to tell his wife so that she could witness the event.

On the day of his death (ca. 300), Adrian was first beaten so severely that his "bowels fell out." After he was returned to prison, the emperor ordered that the legs of all the imprisoned martyrs be broken on an anvil and cut off. Natalia, who was present, additionally requested that the guards cut off her husband's hands, so that he would be equal to other saints who had suffered more. After Adrian's death Natalia managed to get away with a hand (holding it to her bosom), taking it with her to Argyropolis, where she died peacefully.