Historiated- adj.- Adorned with the figures of humans or animals, often with foliage, and often for narrative purposes. Used especially of initial letters in manuscripts and of the capitals of columns.

I do my best to accurately credit the images I post here; however, if you see an image belonging to you that is either improperly credited or you simply do not want it on the blog, please feel free to contact me and I will edit/remove it. I don’t claim ownership of any of these images unless stated otherwise. Images may have text captions that credit the source or they may have click-through links.

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Sebald BehamLarge Church Festival (also Large Peasant Holiday and Large Kermis)1535Woodcut
"Beham’s long woodcut is organized symmetrically on either side of the central tavern. To the upper left, a wedding procession arrives at a church. On the lower right, well-dressed couples are shown dancing. Beham has borrowed from earlier woodcuts on this theme by his brother Barthel and himself to create this composite scene.
Church festivals were the only holidays (literally, holy days) that peasants at this time normally enjoyed. The Nuremberg city council seems to have regarded them with alarm: The authorities tried to reduce their number in 1525, and ban them in 1526, for reasons made very clear on this woodcut.
On the far left, wine or beer is being drawn from barrels sheltered from the sun. A drunk vomits in front of the tavern. Wine leads to both lust and violence. Two chickens copulate in front of the wedding procession. Embracing couples are everywhere to be seen, including inside the tavern. In front of the church, a patient having a tooth drawn by the dentist is also losing his purse to a thief. On the upper right, a quarrel has escalated into armed violence, and a severed hand lies on the ground.”
In the collection of the British Museum. Image and description taken from the British Museum website (link). View a (slightly) larger image here.

Sebald Beham
Large Church Festival (also Large Peasant Holiday and Large Kermis)
1535
Woodcut

"Beham’s long woodcut is organized symmetrically on either side of the central tavern. To the upper left, a wedding procession arrives at a church. On the lower right, well-dressed couples are shown dancing. Beham has borrowed from earlier woodcuts on this theme by his brother Barthel and himself to create this composite scene.

Church festivals were the only holidays (literally, holy days) that peasants at this time normally enjoyed. The Nuremberg city council seems to have regarded them with alarm: The authorities tried to reduce their number in 1525, and ban them in 1526, for reasons made very clear on this woodcut.

On the far left, wine or beer is being drawn from barrels sheltered from the sun. A drunk vomits in front of the tavern. Wine leads to both lust and violence. Two chickens copulate in front of the wedding procession. Embracing couples are everywhere to be seen, including inside the tavern. In front of the church, a patient having a tooth drawn by the dentist is also losing his purse to a thief. On the upper right, a quarrel has escalated into armed violence, and a severed hand lies on the ground.”

In the collection of the British Museum. Image and description taken from the British Museum website (link). View a (slightly) larger image here.

Portal from the Abbey Church of Saint-LaurentFrom near Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, central France1120-50 CE”This imposing portal originally served as the main entrance to the small Augustinian abbey church of Saint-Laurent in central France, on one of the pilgrimage roads to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It displays bold abstract patterns on round arches and capitals with complicated intertwined branches, leaves, and birds characteristic of Romanesque architecture. The style seen here was inspired by that of the most influential Benedictine monastery in Europe, Cluny, which had founded the large church of La Charité-sur-Loire near Saint-Laurent. At the suggestion of George Grey Barnard, sculptor and collector of medieval architecture and sculpture, when the portal was installed in the Museum two smaller doorways were added on either side following a design popular in the region of Saint-Laurent, although the origin of these doors remains undetermined. In the Museum the portal now faces a group of large Romanesque capitals, of which six are known to have come from the interior of the church of Saint-Laurent. (Dean Walker, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 111.)”Currently in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image and description taken from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website, which includes additional images of the doorway. 

Portal from the Abbey Church of Saint-Laurent
From near Cosne-Cours-sur-Loire, central France
1120-50 CE

This imposing portal originally served as the main entrance to the small Augustinian abbey church of Saint-Laurent in central France, on one of the pilgrimage roads to the shrine of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. It displays bold abstract patterns on round arches and capitals with complicated intertwined branches, leaves, and birds characteristic of Romanesque architecture. The style seen here was inspired by that of the most influential Benedictine monastery in Europe, Cluny, which had founded the large church of La Charité-sur-Loire near Saint-Laurent. At the suggestion of George Grey Barnard, sculptor and collector of medieval architecture and sculpture, when the portal was installed in the Museum two smaller doorways were added on either side following a design popular in the region of Saint-Laurent, although the origin of these doors remains undetermined. In the Museum the portal now faces a group of large Romanesque capitals, of which six are known to have come from the interior of the church of Saint-Laurent. (Dean Walker, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p. 111.)”

Currently in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image and description taken from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website, which includes additional images of the doorway.
 

The Cloisters has a relatively new blog called In Season (link) that features posts about their gardens (which was the focus of their previous blog) as well as posts on their collections, exhibitions, and programs. So far, there have been posts about the museum’s Canterbury Cathedral stained glass exhibition, conservation efforts, the architecture and design of the museum’s building, family programming, and plants grown in the gardens and their varying uses in the Middle Ages.

I felt compelled to share about the blog because The Cloisters is dear to my heart, and also because the blog’s most recent post focuses on the museum’s summer internship program for college students (link), which is the program I participated in during my undergrad. It was an incredible experience and I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in the program to apply! I’m happy to talk about my experience if anyone is interested, just message me.

Disk BroochFrankish650- 700Gold with green and clear glass, mother-of-pearl, and copper
"The dress of Frankish women generally consisted of a tunic, cinched by a belt from which hung an array of pendants. A wrap or cloak went over the tunic. Shoes and hosiery, fastened with buckles, covered the legs. Earrings, necklaces, and hairpins completed the ensemble.Aspects of this dress changed from the 300s to the 600s, and brooches in particular convey changes in taste. From the 300s to the 500s, pairs of small brooches, in an array of inventive shapes, held the wrap in place. By the 600s, a single large disc brooch, usually elaborately decorated, served the same function. No other piece of jewelry is more characteristic of Frankish dress than the brooch, and no other better demonstrates the virtuosity of Frankish metalworkers.”
In the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image and description taken from the object’s page on The Met’s website. Visit the object’s page for zoom capability, related objects in the collection, and online resources.

Disk Brooch
Frankish
650- 700
Gold with green and clear glass, mother-of-pearl, and copper

"The dress of Frankish women generally consisted of a tunic, cinched by a belt from which hung an array of pendants. A wrap or cloak went over the tunic. Shoes and hosiery, fastened with buckles, covered the legs. Earrings, necklaces, and hairpins completed the ensemble.

Aspects of this dress changed from the 300s to the 600s, and brooches in particular convey changes in taste. From the 300s to the 500s, pairs of small brooches, in an array of inventive shapes, held the wrap in place. By the 600s, a single large disc brooch, usually elaborately decorated, served the same function. No other piece of jewelry is more characteristic of Frankish dress than the brooch, and no other better demonstrates the virtuosity of Frankish metalworkers.”

In the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Image and description taken from the object’s page on The Met’s website. Visit the object’s page for zoom capability, related objects in the collection, and online resources.

I accidentally published that last post before I had added the collections information, but now the post has all the information - sorry for the hiccup!

Basket EarringLombardic / LangobardicLate sixth- seventh century CEGold with garnets and glass paste
"One of the most common types of Langobardic jewelry, the basket earring derives its name from the hemispherical "basket" of gold wire as in this example. The front disk of gold is inlaid with gold wire cells for four red glass or garnet inserts arranged like the arms of a cross around a central, circular cell filled with a rounded green stone or glass. A triad arrangement of one large and two small circular gold wire circlets fills the space between the garnet inlays and creates a ring around the cross. A thick, flattened lip of gold decorated with hatching and cross-hatching overlays the outer edge of the disk where it joins the basket. On the front of the hoop are a row of five cells for red glass or garnet inlays, of which three are still filled. The sides of the hoops are decorated with a row of four wire circlets. A loop attached to the base of the earring once suspended an additional pendant."
In the collection of the Walters Art Museum. Image and description taken from the object’s page on the Walters Art Museum website. Visit the objects’ page for additional images (in which you can see the “basket” described above) and zoom capability.

Basket Earring
Lombardic / Langobardic
Late sixth- seventh century CE
Gold with garnets and glass paste

"One of the most common types of Langobardic jewelry, the basket earring derives its name from the hemispherical "basket" of gold wire as in this example. The front disk of gold is inlaid with gold wire cells for four red glass or garnet inserts arranged like the arms of a cross around a central, circular cell filled with a rounded green stone or glass. A triad arrangement of one large and two small circular gold wire circlets fills the space between the garnet inlays and creates a ring around the cross. A thick, flattened lip of gold decorated with hatching and cross-hatching overlays the outer edge of the disk where it joins the basket. On the front of the hoop are a row of five cells for red glass or garnet inlays, of which three are still filled. The sides of the hoops are decorated with a row of four wire circlets. A loop attached to the base of the earring once suspended an additional pendant."

In the collection of the Walters Art Museum. Image and description taken from the object’s page on the Walters Art Museum website. Visit the objects’ page for additional images (in which you can see the “basket” described above) and zoom capability.

Pair of Eagle FibulaVisigothicSixth century CEGold over bronze with gemstones, glass, and meerschaum (a soft white mineral)
"Walters 54.421 and 54.422 are a pair of superb eagle-shaped fibula found at Tierra de Barros (Badajoz, southwest Spain) made of sheet gold over bronze inlaid with garnets, amethysts, and colored glass. Pendants once dangled from the loops at the bottom. The eagle, a popular symbol during the Migration period adopted from Roman imperial insignia, was favored by the Goths. Similar eagle-shaped fibulae have been excavated from Visigothic graves in Spain and Ostrogothic graves in northern Italy, but this pair is one of the finest. These fibula would have been worn at the same time to fasten a cloak at either shoulder."
In the collection of the Walters Art Museum. Image and description taken from the object’s page on the Walters Art Museum website. Visit the objects’ page for additional images and zoom capability.

Pair of Eagle Fibula
Visigothic
Sixth century CE
Gold over bronze with gemstones, glass, and meerschaum (a soft white mineral)

"Walters 54.421 and 54.422 are a pair of superb eagle-shaped fibula found at Tierra de Barros (Badajoz, southwest Spain) made of sheet gold over bronze inlaid with garnets, amethysts, and colored glass. Pendants once dangled from the loops at the bottom. The eagle, a popular symbol during the Migration period adopted from Roman imperial insignia, was favored by the Goths. Similar eagle-shaped fibulae have been excavated from Visigothic graves in Spain and Ostrogothic graves in northern Italy, but this pair is one of the finest. These fibula would have been worn at the same time to fasten a cloak at either shoulder."

In the collection of the Walters Art Museum. Image and description taken from the object’s page on the Walters Art Museum website. Visit the objects’ page for additional images and zoom capability.

Abbess Seal in the Form of a MadonnaFrenchca. 1325-50Ivory and silver
"Seals were used to authenticate personal as well as state documents. The design carved on the base would be pressed into melted sealing wax that would then harden in the air. The letter "H" on this seal was probably the first letter of a name. The handle is made in the shape of a tiny statuette of the Virgin and Child."
In the collection of the Walters Art Museum. Image and description taken from the object’s page on the Walters Art Museum website. Visit the object’s page for additional images and zoom capability.

Abbess Seal in the Form of a Madonna
French
ca. 1325-50
Ivory and silver

"Seals were used to authenticate personal as well as state documents. The design carved on the base would be pressed into melted sealing wax that would then harden in the air. The letter "H" on this seal was probably the first letter of a name. The handle is made in the shape of a tiny statuette of the Virgin and Child."

In the collection of the Walters Art Museum. Image and description taken from the object’s page on the Walters Art Museum website. Visit the object’s page for additional images and zoom capability.

Capital with Demons Punishing the Sins of Avarice and BlasphemyMade in southern France1175-1200
Currently in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Purchased with Museum funds from the George Grey Barnard Collection, 1945). Image taken from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website.

Capital with Demons Punishing the Sins of Avarice and Blasphemy
Made in southern France
1175-1200

Currently in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Purchased with Museum funds from the George Grey Barnard Collection, 1945). Image taken from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website.

Cloister with elements from the Abbey of Saint-Genis-des-FontainesRoussillon, France1270-80s, with medieval elements from southwestern France and modern additionsMarble
"At the heart of every medieval monastery stood a cloister, an arcaded walkway surrounding a courtyard. The Museum’s cloister is modeled after a thirteenth-century example at the Abbey of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines in the Roussillon region of southwestern France, and includes sculpture originally from the abbey, contemporary elements from the province, and early-twentieth-century reproduction carvings.
Medieval cloisters served both practical and spiritual purposes. Most were open air, often with a garden in the courtyard. A ninth-century architectural drawing known as the Plan of Saint Gall, which is considered a blueprint of the ideal monastic compound, features a large, centrally located cloister that would have been reserved for the monks. At Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines, the outer walkway held doors that opened into the dining hall, the chapter house (where the abbey was administered), and the church. In addition to functioning as a connecting space, the courtyard and its colonnade were used by the religious community for processions, services, and communal readings. The cloister also provided an area where individual monks could engage in private prayer and contemplation.
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A medieval cloister, an arcaded walkway surrounding an open courtyard, was usually a space at the heart of a monastery where a variety of highly regulated events in the lives of members of the religious order took place, including silent prayer, meditation, or reading aloud from holy books. The design for this cloister installed in the Museum is based on that at Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines in southwestern France, the source of some of the Museum’s cloister capitals. In the center of the cloister stands a rare Romanesque fountain known to have come from Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, the largest monastery in the eastern Pyrenees. The massive basin of the fountain is decorated with a continuous design of arches on columns that echo the elements of the cloister itself. Fountains served a variety of practical purposes in monasteries, such as providing water for shaving or washing clothes. Transplanted to a museum, the fountain and its cloister setting afford modern-day visitors a space for quiet thought. Eda Diskant, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p.109.”
Currently in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image and description taken from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website, which includes additional images of the cloister.

Cloister with elements from the Abbey of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines
Roussillon, France
1270-80s, with medieval elements from southwestern France and modern additions
Marble

"At the heart of every medieval monastery stood a cloister, an arcaded walkway surrounding a courtyard. The Museum’s cloister is modeled after a thirteenth-century example at the Abbey of Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines in the Roussillon region of southwestern France, and includes sculpture originally from the abbey, contemporary elements from the province, and early-twentieth-century reproduction carvings.

Medieval cloisters served both practical and spiritual purposes. Most were open air, often with a garden in the courtyard. A ninth-century architectural drawing known as the Plan of Saint Gall, which is considered a blueprint of the ideal monastic compound, features a large, centrally located cloister that would have been reserved for the monks. At Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines, the outer walkway held doors that opened into the dining hall, the chapter house (where the abbey was administered), and the church. In addition to functioning as a connecting space, the courtyard and its colonnade were used by the religious community for processions, services, and communal readings. The cloister also provided an area where individual monks could engage in private prayer and contemplation.

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A medieval cloister, an arcaded walkway surrounding an open courtyard, was usually a space at the heart of a monastery where a variety of highly regulated events in the lives of members of the religious order took place, including silent prayer, meditation, or reading aloud from holy books. The design for this cloister installed in the Museum is based on that at Saint-Genis-des-Fontaines in southwestern France, the source of some of the Museum’s cloister capitals. In the center of the cloister stands a rare Romanesque fountain known to have come from Saint-Michel-de-Cuxa, the largest monastery in the eastern Pyrenees. The massive basin of the fountain is decorated with a continuous design of arches on columns that echo the elements of the cloister itself. Fountains served a variety of practical purposes in monasteries, such as providing water for shaving or washing clothes. Transplanted to a museum, the fountain and its cloister setting afford modern-day visitors a space for quiet thought. Eda Diskant, from Philadelphia Museum of Art: Handbook of the Collections (1995), p.109.”

Currently in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Image and description taken from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s website, which includes additional images of the cloister.

Diptych with scenes from the Life of Saint Martin of Tours: The Consecration of Saint Martin as Bishop (left), Saint Martin shares his Cloak with a Beggar (right)Cologne, Germany, 1340-50Ivory with polychromy, gilding, and original silver hinges
"This beautiful and well-preserved diptych includes its original polychromy, gilding, and silver hinges, though these are no longer connected. With its lapis background, red roof tiles, and gilded details of the figures’ clothing, the appearance is one of luxuriousness. The diptych provides us with a rare and vivid impression of how such devotional ivories were originally decorated in the 14th century."
Currently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Image and description taken from the Cleveland Museum of Art website.

Diptych with scenes from the Life of Saint Martin of Tours: The Consecration of Saint Martin as Bishop (left), Saint Martin shares his Cloak with a Beggar (right)
Cologne, Germany, 1340-50
Ivory with polychromy, gilding, and original silver hinges

"This beautiful and well-preserved diptych includes its original polychromy, gilding, and silver hinges, though these are no longer connected. With its lapis background, red roof tiles, and gilded details of the figures’ clothing, the appearance is one of luxuriousness. The diptych provides us with a rare and vivid impression of how such devotional ivories were originally decorated in the 14th century."

Currently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Image and description taken from the Cleveland Museum of Art website.


Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, 1380-1439)Mourner from the Tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy1404-1410Alabaster
"Throughout most of their history these alabaster mourners have evoked a sense of awe and mystery as well as curiosity and admiration. They were originally arranged in processional order around the sides of the ducal tomb within a marble arcade in the Chartreuse de Champmol. The realistically carved mourners remain the most famous elements from Philip the Bold’s tomb. Carved by Claus de Werve, no two are alike. They retain minute details of costume and features, and the faces of some are nearly portrait-like in their depiction of facial creases and expression, suggesting actual individuals, while the faces of others are partly obscured by their cowls."
One of three mourners currently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Image and description from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s online collection pages (1, 2, and 3 (shown here)).

Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, 1380-1439)
Mourner from the Tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
1404-1410
Alabaster

"Throughout most of their history these alabaster mourners have evoked a sense of awe and mystery as well as curiosity and admiration. They were originally arranged in processional order around the sides of the ducal tomb within a marble arcade in the Chartreuse de Champmol. The realistically carved mourners remain the most famous elements from Philip the Bold’s tomb. Carved by Claus de Werve, no two are alike. They retain minute details of costume and features, and the faces of some are nearly portrait-like in their depiction of facial creases and expression, suggesting actual individuals, while the faces of others are partly obscured by their cowls."

One of three mourners currently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Image and description from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s online collection pages (1, 2, and 3 (shown here)).


Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, 1380-1439)Mourner from the Tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy1404-1410Alabaster
"Throughout most of their history these alabaster mourners have evoked a sense of awe and mystery as well as curiosity and admiration. They were originally arranged in processional order around the sides of the ducal tomb within a marble arcade in the Chartreuse de Champmol. The realistically carved mourners remain the most famous elements from Philip the Bold’s tomb. Carved by Claus de Werve, no two are alike. They retain minute details of costume and features, and the faces of some are nearly portrait-like in their depiction of facial creases and expression, suggesting actual individuals, while the faces of others are partly obscured by their cowls."
One of three mourners currently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Image and description from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s online collection pages (1, 2 (shown here), and 3).

Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, 1380-1439)
Mourner from the Tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
1404-1410
Alabaster

"Throughout most of their history these alabaster mourners have evoked a sense of awe and mystery as well as curiosity and admiration. They were originally arranged in processional order around the sides of the ducal tomb within a marble arcade in the Chartreuse de Champmol. The realistically carved mourners remain the most famous elements from Philip the Bold’s tomb. Carved by Claus de Werve, no two are alike. They retain minute details of costume and features, and the faces of some are nearly portrait-like in their depiction of facial creases and expression, suggesting actual individuals, while the faces of others are partly obscured by their cowls."

One of three mourners currently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Image and description from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s online collection pages (1, 2 (shown here), and 3).

Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, 1380-1439)Mourner from the Tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy1404-1410Alabaster
"Throughout most of their history these alabaster mourners have evoked a sense of awe and mystery as well as curiosity and admiration. They were originally arranged in processional order around the sides of the ducal tomb within a marble arcade in the Chartreuse de Champmol. The realistically carved mourners remain the most famous elements from Philip the Bold’s tomb. Carved by Claus de Werve, no two are alike. They retain minute details of costume and features, and the faces of some are nearly portrait-like in their depiction of facial creases and expression, suggesting actual individuals, while the faces of others are partly obscured by their cowls."
One of three mourners currently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Image and description from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s online collection pages (1 (shown here), 2, and 3).

Claus de Werve (Netherlandish, 1380-1439)
Mourner from the Tomb of Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
1404-1410
Alabaster

"Throughout most of their history these alabaster mourners have evoked a sense of awe and mystery as well as curiosity and admiration. They were originally arranged in processional order around the sides of the ducal tomb within a marble arcade in the Chartreuse de Champmol. The realistically carved mourners remain the most famous elements from Philip the Bold’s tomb. Carved by Claus de Werve, no two are alike. They retain minute details of costume and features, and the faces of some are nearly portrait-like in their depiction of facial creases and expression, suggesting actual individuals, while the faces of others are partly obscured by their cowls."

One of three mourners currently in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Image and description from the Cleveland Museum of Art’s online collection pages (1 (shown here), 2, and 3).

I meant to make a post about this a while back when it happened, but I want to say thank you to my now over 1,000 followers! I know I’m not the most regular poster but I am happy that so many people have continued to enjoy the art and this blog.

I’m starting grad school in the fall, so I’m sure my posting will continue to be irregular in the future, but I am sincerely going to try to post more this summer.

As always, please feel free to message me if you want to chat or are interested in following my personal blog.

Thanks again!
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