Saturday, 11 July 2009

Off the shelf: Medieval Pageant 2

According to the book this illumination was painted by King René of Anjou, 1409 - 1480, ‘the most remarkable artist king in history,’ and quite an influential dude. He is said to have ridden at the side of Joan of Arc at Orleans and commissioned Columbus’ first ship. He was also a friend of Cosimo de Medici and founded an order of chivalry. This painting is from the ‘Livre du Cueur d’Amours Espris’ or ‘The book of the Heart Possessed by Love,’ an allegorical romance which René wrote in 1457. Here’s the caption explaining the plot:
‘Here René’s heart is portrayed as a flesh-and-blood knight named Cueur. In the scene above, Cueur, after losing a battle with the Black Knight (Trouble) who has pushed him into the Stream of Tears, is rescued by the golden-haired Lady Hope, while his page, Desire, bows to her in homage.’
What I like about this, apart from the feet, is the landscape. If ever I find myself called upon to do a proper background, it usually ends up looking similar to this one. It’s no doubt based on observation, but not very close observation. It's a bit of a cartoon landscape.

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