Sunday, June 25, 2017

Garden of Love and Earthly Delights - 1490 Stop to Smell the Roses

Illuminated Manuscript [folio 020v] MS. Douce 195 (Le roman de la rose) Robinet Testard 1490.  The walled garden here did not provide the privacy intended, as the gardener easily peeks over the wall.

1490 Illuminated Manuscripts [folio 020v] MS. Douce 195 (Le roman de la rose) Robinet Testard.  Here the flowers are in a walled garden, where a courting couple rest.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Garden of Love and Earthly Delights - 1546 A Party in the Garden...

1546 Detail The Fountain of Youth by Lucas Cranach the Elder (German Northern Renaissance Painter, 1472-1553)

1546 Detail  The Fountain of Youth by Lucas Cranach the Elder (German Northern Renaissance Painter, 1472-1553)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Courtly Love takes aim in the Garden - Illuminated Manuscripts

 c 1487-95 Artist Unknown British Library, London, Harley 4425   f. 42   Amour and the Lover

Phoebe, sitting on a rainbow with bow and arrow, looks upon people below her, Epitre d'Othea, by Christine of Pizan -- Cod. Bodmer 49, 24r

c 1487-95 Artist Unknown Harley MS 4425 f 22 British Library, London, England The God of Love Aiming at the Lover


 c 1487-95 Artist Unknown British Library, London, Harley 4425 Amour (Love), with bow and arrows, awaiting the right moment to strike the Lover.


The God of Love Aiming at the Lover (detail) from The Romance of the Rose, about 1405. The J. Paul Getty Museum

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Illuminated Manuscripts - Lancelot & Guinevere's 1st kiss in a Garden

Galehaut Arranged Lancelot and Guinevere' First Kiss Manuscript illustration, c 1400 Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris   Author's note: Lancelot has a fetching leg...

And so, the story goes...Guinevere wanted to meet the knight, who saved her husband King Arthur's kingdom. She persuaded Galehaut to arrange a meeting between her & the unknown Black Knight. Galehaut left them alone, so that they could talk; & he joined a group of ladies that Guinevere had brought along. One of the ladies was the Lady of Malohaut, who once had imprisoned Lancelot & soon recognized her former prisoner. Lancelot was overwhelmed & embarrassed in her presence. Guinevere soon recognized, that he was Lancelot of the Lake. She quickly realized, that the young hero was in love with her; & that all he had done was for her sake, not for her husband Arthur. Guinevere was smitten. Galehaut coaxed the queen to return Lancelot's love, which was certainly not difficult. She agreed to kiss Lancelot, as a token of her love for the hero. Galehaut arranged that they would kiss one another, while Galehaut blocked the view from the ladies. Lady of Malohaut knew that Lancelot was in love with the queen. She told the queen, that she would help her be with Lancelot. Each day Guinevere's friends secretly made arrangements for where Lancelot & Guinevere could meet to make love. Or they might have just talked about the weather, this part of the story is not very specific.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

15C Garden of Love and Earthly Delights - Roses, & Chivalry in the Walled Garden or Locus Amoenus

Illuminated Maniscripts 1490 [folio 006r] MS. Douce 195 (Le roman de la rose) Robinet Testard

The Roman de la Rose ("Romance of the Rose") is a medieval French poem written as an allegorical dream vision as courtly literature. The poet hopes to both entertain and to teach others about the Art of Love. At various times in the poem, the "Rose" of the title is seen as the name of the lady, and as a symbol of female sexuality in general. Similarly the other characters' names function both as regular names and as abstractions illustrating the various factors that are involved in a love affair. The poem was written in 2 stages. The first 4058 lines, written by Guillaume de Lorris circa 1230, describe the attempts of a courtier to woo his beloved. Around 1275, Jean de Meun composed an additional 17,724 lines for the Roman de la Rose, in which allegorical personages (Reason, Genius, and so on) hold forth on love in the tradition of the Code of Chivalry.

Much of the story is set in a walled garden or locus amoenus, one of the traditional settings and forms of chivalric literature. A locus amoenus usually has 3 basic elements: trees, grass, and water. Often, the garden will be in a remote or walled situation and function as a landscape of the mind. This garden can also be used to highlight the differences between urban and rural life or be a place of refuge from the processes of time and mortality. In some works, such gardens also have overtones of the regenerative powers of human sexuality marked out by flowers, springtime, and goddesses of love and fertility. 

Monday, June 19, 2017

15C Garden offering Choices of Lifestyles

The Nature Garden of Conty Évrard. The Book of Chess Lovers. Evrard Conty, Cognac, c 1496-1499. BNF, Manuscripts, French 143, f. 198 v o.

The Book of Chess Lovers, as is the famous manuscript Roman de la Rose, is structured as an allegory suggesting that the type of garden one chooses to enter is a lifestyle choice. As literary settings, gardens of this period were idyllic spaces where lovers met, courtiers retreated from city life, & adventurers sought an earthly paradise. Nature's Garden (depicted in the foreground) includes, inside high walls, 3 gardens representing ways to live that are available to man. The Garden of Pallas (Minerva), guarded by Religion (background) represents the contemplative life. The Garden of of Juno, guarded by Wealth (left), suggests the active, commercial life. The final garden, the Garden of Voluptuous Life, is guarded by a naked woman at an idle door admiring herself in a hand mirror. The narrator of The Book of Chess Lovers is about to turn toward the Voluptuous garden. "All the young people of the world would have done the same," declares Évrard Conty.  (And it is a big dog vs little dog world here as well.)

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Garden of Love and Earthly Delights - 1400s Netherlandish

Master of the Gardens of Love (fl. ca. 1430-1440-45) was a Netherlandish engraver

Beginning in 15C Italy & in Northern Europe, images of The Garden of Love appear in secular art depicting courtly love. The Garden of Love is often a landscape with a flowery meadow, a grove, & a fountain, where lovers gather to meet, eat, sing, dance, & make love. The Garden of Love, a literary theme in poetry of classical antiquity & the Middle Ages, was usually portrayed as an idyllic realm of courtly love - music, feasting, & games where ladies inspired dedicated service from their admirers. Much like the medieval Hortus Conclusus, an enclosed monastery garden usually a symbol of the Virgin Mary represented as a fortress in a religious allegory, the Garden of Love was also usually enclosed, secluded, & ordered but a world apart from the guilt of Christian religious symbolism. 

An enclosed medieval Hortus Conclusus located at royal palaces & grand manor houses usually represented a garden of earthly delights. Both the secular & the religious gardens could be enclosed by formidable high brick or stone wall, but sometimes a wicker fence or a wooden trellis. Both gardens would probably be filled with scented flowers & herbs. Most Gardens of Love have a flowing fountain, sometimes octagonal, often located in the garden center. In classical myth, a fountain traditionally belongs to the god of love. Often Cupid is included in the fountain design or is a carving beside it aiming arrows at the elites gathering & playing in The Garden of Love. 

The well-born needed leisure time to indulge in exploring love in an atmosphere where religious transgression was encouraged. Passing time; the constraints of religious & secular law; & infirmity & death existed only outside the wall of The Garden of Love which seemed to be unending spring. The Garden of Love could reflect earlier classical & religious investigations of the nature of love. The Garden of Love in European art declined during the late 15C.  However, The Garden of Love tradition was continued only occasionally later by Titian (fl 1506-1576) in the 16C; by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) in the 17C; & by Watteau (1684–1721) in the 18C.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Garden of Love - Monogrammist WH 1475

Monogrammist WH (printmaker; German) Garden of Love; couples within an enclosed garden,  outside are people swimming in a river and further back into the landscape are soldiers on horseback. c. 1475-80

Friday, June 16, 2017

Garden of Love and Earthly Delights - 1430s-70 attrbuted to Master E. S.

Attributed to Master E.S.German (or conceivably Swiss) engraver, Southwestern Germany 1430s-1470 Also attributed to Master bxg , active c. 1470-1490 Pair Of Lovers

Master E. S., is derived from the monogram, E. S., which appears on eighteen of his prints. The title, Master, is used for unidentified artists who operated independently. He was probably the first printmaker to place his initials on his work. Remaining signed works by E. S. indicate that he was active in printmaking from 1450 to 1467, the latest date to appear on one of his prints. 

Attributed to Master E.S.German (or conceivably Swiss) engraver, Southwestern Germany 1430s-1470 Also attributed to Master bxg , active c. 1470-1490  Two Card Players in the Garden

Master E. S. probably came from southwestern Germany or Switzerland, as did the engraver called the Master of the Playing Cards. This view rests mainly on stylistic comparisons with the contemporary painting of that region. Although evidence indicates that he was most active in the Upper Rhine region, there also is evidence that he visited Mainz, to the south on the Rhine at the confluence of the Main River opposite Wiesbaden, a major economic & cultural center.


Attributed to Master E.S.German (or conceivably Swiss) engraver, Southwestern Germany 1430s-1470 Also attributed to Master bxg , active c. 1470-1490  Playing Music in the Garden

E. S. probably came from a background & training as a goldsmith, rather than as a painter. He sometimes used goldsmith punches in his prints & some works are clearly designs for metalwork. He was the first printmaker to sign his prints with an engraved monogram, which was standard practice on significant pieces of metalwork. He engraved 2 images of Saint Eligius, the patron-saint of goldsmiths. He liked to fill his engravings with decorative detail, sometimes overloading the composition, & only slowly does a sense of volume or recession develop in his work.


Attributed to Master E.S.German (or conceivably Swiss) engraver, Southwestern Germany 1430s-1470 Also attributed to Master bxg , active c. 1470-1490 Delilah Cutting Sampson’s Hair. c. 1460-1465. Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Dresden, Germany. 

Since his earliest prints show a practiced use of the burin, he is presumed to have worked as a goldsmith for some years before beginning printmaking.  His level of production of prints probably means that he worked on these only during his later years. Another important printmaker & goldsmith, Israhel van Meckenem, was probably his leading assistant at the end of his career & 41 of his plates passed to him, being reworked by van Meckenem.


Attributed to Master E.S.German (or conceivably Swiss) engraver, Southwestern Germany 1430s-1470  Also attributed to Master bxg , active c. 1470-1490  Lovers On Horseback  (Perhaps in a park.)

Attributed to Master E.S.German (or to The Master of the Housebook) engraver, Germany.  The Garden of Love. Two Lovers in a Garden sitting on a raised bed.  The bed is raised inside wood to prevent plants becoming waterlogged, & grass treated as a flowery mead planted with low growing wild flowers plus a clever castle-design flower pot.  A bird seems entranced by the courting rituals of the humans or perhaps by the gentleman's pointy-to-the-extreme shoes.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Garden of Love and Earthly Delights - 1400s Italian

The Garden of Love, (c. 1465-1470) Antonio Vivarini (studio of)

Beginning in 15C Italy & in Northern Europe, images of The Garden of Love appear in secular art depicting courtly love. The Garden of Love is often a landscape with a flowery meadow, a grove, & a fountain, where lovers gather to meet, eat, sing, dance, & make love. The Garden of Love, a literary theme in poetry of classical antiquity & the Middle Ages, was usually portrayed as an idyllic realm of courtly love - music, feasting, & games where ladies inspired dedicated service from their admirers. Much like the medieval Hortus Conclusus, an enclosed monastery garden usually a symbol of the Virgin Mary represented as a fortress in a religious allegory, the Garden of Love was also usually enclosed, secluded, & ordered but a world apart from the guilt of Christian religious symbolism. 

An enclosed medieval Hortus Conclusus located at royal palaces & grand manor houses usually represented a garden of earthly delights. Both the secular & the religious gardens could be enclosed by formidable high brick or stone wall, but sometimes a wicker fence or a wooden trellis. Both gardens would probably be filled with scented flowers & herbs. Most Gardens of Love have a flowing fountain, sometimes octagonal, often located in the garden center. In classical myth, a fountain traditionally belongs to the god of love. Often Cupid is included in the fountain design or is a carving beside it aiming arrows at the elites gathering & playing in The Garden of Love. 

The well-born needed leisure time to indulge in exploring love in an atmosphere where religious transgression was encouraged. Passing time; the constraints of religious & secular law; & infirmity & death existed only outside the wall of The Garden of Love which seemed to be unending spring. The Garden of Love could reflect earlier classical & religious investigations of the nature of love. The Garden of Love in European art declined during the late 15C.  However, The Garden of Love tradition was continued only occasionally later by Titian (fl 1506-1576) in the 16C; by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) in the 17C; & by Watteau (1684–1721) in the 18C.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Garden of Love and Earthly Delights - Israhel van Meckenem c. 1445 - 1503

Israhel van Meckenem German, c. 1445 - 1503 1 Ornamental garden engraving with 2 lovers; at the lower centre grows a tendril with flowers and foliage winding to either side, with numerous birds and figures

Israhel van Meckenem was also known as Israhel van Meckenem the Younger (Active c. 1450-1465),  a German engraver apparently trained by his father & possibly Master E.S.  His birth date is an estimate ranging from the early 1430s to 1450. His father arrived in Bocholt, Germany, near the border of the Netherlands, in 1457. Attempts have been made to identify the father as the Master of the Berlin Passion, an early engraver, but this remains uncertain. Some writers also assign to the father works traditionally given to the son. The name "Israhel" suggests the family may have had Jewish origins, but Israhel the Younger was buried at a Christian church, perhaps because it might not have been possible for Jews to work as goldsmiths. The "van" suggests a Dutch origin for the family; various places in Germany & the Netherlands have been suggested as "Meckenem," as no place generally called exactly that existed at the time. The Master of the Berlin Passion probably worked mainly in the Netherlands, so his identification with the artist's father Israhel Senior would have implications for identifying the family origin.
Israhel van Meckenem German, c. 1445 - 1503 2 Ornamental engraving with 2 lovers tucked into the tendrils with flowers and foliage on either side. Detail

Israhel van Meckenem probably trained initially as a goldsmith & engraver with his father, before travelling to work with Master E. S., the leading Northern European engraver of the day. He probably trained with Master E. S. in South Germany, & may well have been with him at his death c. 1467, since he acquired & reworked 41 of the master's plates. Another 200 of van Meckenem's "own" prints also were copies of ones by Master E. S. In total, he produced over 600 plates, most of which were copies of other prints; they represent about 20% of print production by all Northern European artists in the period of his working life. His career lasted long enough for him to copy Dürer prints. His earliest dated print comes from 1465, & indicates that he created it in Cleves, modern Kleve, on the Dutch border & then Dutch-speaking, where his family had moved. In 1470, he is documented as working in Bamberg in Bavaria; but he returned to Bocholt by about 1480, where he remained for the rest of his life.


Israhel van Meckenem German, c. 1445 - 1503 The Falconer and Noble Lady in a Garden c. 1495-1503

Israhel van Meckenem continued to work at goldsmithing. Some surviving pieces are widely accepted as his & many commissions from the Bocholt council are documented between 1480 & 1498. He was evidently a prosperous & established figure in the town. One of his prints is a double portrait of himself & his wife, Ida, whom he married in the late 1480s. He is documented in various lawsuits against neighbors, & Ida was fined for "unseemly speech" as well as for "mocking & scolding public officials." He is known to have made over 600 plates with up to a 100 prints a plate. He was the 1st engraver to engrave his own features.  

Israhel van Meckenem copied prints by The Housebook Master, including some now lost, Martin Schongauer, & many other German engravers. His famous series on the Life of the Virgin appears to have been based on drawings by Hans Holbein the Elder or his workshop, & he may have entered into a regular commercial relationship with Holbein.
Israhel van Meckenem German, c. 1445 - 1503 The Dissimilar Couple in a Garden c. 1500

Israhel van Meckenem's early works were fairly crude, but in the 1480s, he developed an effective personal style & made increasingly large & finished works. His own compositions are often very lively, & demonstrate a great interest in the secular life of his day. 

Israhel van Meckenem was sophisticated in self-presentation, signing later prints with his name & town, & producing the 1st self-portrait print of himself & his wife. Some plates seem to have been reworked more than once by his workshop, or produced in more than one version, & many impressions have survived; so his ability to market, distribute & sell his prints was evidently equally well developed. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Garden of Love and Earthly Delights - Queen introduces her son to the 1400s Garden

Queen Catharina of Batavie presents her son at the court of love. c.1480 Poems of Charles d'Orleans and other works, c.1480 -1500 British Library, Royal ms 16 F 2, f.1r, detail.

Catharina of Batavie ("Catharina the Radiant") (1358-1400) was the 2nd wife of King Edvard II of Arendaal & thus the Queen Consort of Arendaal & Queen Consort of Suionia between 1378 & 1388. She married the Aren King a year after the death of his 1st wife, Louise of Montelimar. Though profoundly affected by Queen Louise's death, King Edvard II was pressured by his counselors to remarry. He did so in 1378, choosing the much younger Batavian Princess, Catharina, in order to reinforce the nation's alliance with Batavië.

Catharina was the daughter of the King of Batavië. Her father's interest in securing an alliance with the Aren Kingdom was the reason that Catharina was put forward as a prospective bride for the Aren King, in spite of the sizable age difference between them. Aren courtiers had been exceptionally fond of Catharina's predecessor, Louise of Montelimar, & did not warm up to the young, new queen easily. However, Catharina did become popular with her husband's subjects.

She delighted the Aren court by naming her 1st daughter by Edvard Princess Lovisa (an Aren form of the French name Louise) in honour of Edvard's wife Queen Louise. Although Catharina was decades younger than her husband, the mismatched couple reportedly had a happy marriage. Catharina became close to Edvard's children by Louise, who were more or less her age, & to her husband's grandchildren. Edvard II's eldest son by his 1st wife, Crown Prince Lief, predeceased him; & so the King was succeeded by his granddaughter Blanche I in 1388.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Garden of Love and Earthly Delights - 1430-1500 German Engraving

Master of the Housebook (active c1470-1500) Attributed to Master E.S.German (or conceivably Swiss) engraver, Southwestern Germany 1430s-1470  Detail The Garden of Love. 1475-1485. 

Beginning in 15C Italy & in Northern Europe, images of The Garden of Love appear in secular art depicting courtly love. The Garden of Love is often a landscape with a flowery meadow, a grove, & a fountain, where lovers gather to meet, eat, sing, dance, & make love. The Garden of Love, a literary theme in poetry of classical antiquity & the Middle Ages, was usually portrayed as an idyllic realm of courtly love - music, feasting, & games where ladies inspired dedicated service from their admirers. Much like the medieval Hortus Conclusus, an enclosed monastery garden usually a symbol of the Virgin Mary represented as a fortress in a religious allegory, the Garden of Love was also usually enclosed, secluded, & ordered but a world apart from the guilt of Christian religious symbolism. 

An enclosed medieval Hortus Conclusus located at royal palaces & grand manor houses usually represented a garden of earthly delights. Both the secular & the religious gardens could be enclosed by formidable high brick or stone wall, but sometimes a wicker fence or a wooden trellis. Both gardens would probably be filled with scented flowers & herbs. Most Gardens of Love have a flowing fountain, sometimes octagonal, often located in the garden center. In classical myth, a fountain traditionally belongs to the god of love. Often Cupid is included in the fountain design or is a carving beside it aiming arrows at the elites gathering & playing in The Garden of Love. 

The well-born needed leisure time to indulge in exploring love in an atmosphere where religious transgression was encouraged. Passing time; the constraints of religious & secular law; & infirmity & death existed only outside the wall of The Garden of Love which seemed to be unending spring. The Garden of Love could reflect earlier classical & religious investigations of the nature of love. The Garden of Love in European art declined during the late 15C.  However, The Garden of Love tradition was continued only occasionally later by Titian (fl 1506-1576) in the 16C; by Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) in the 17C; & by Watteau (1684–1721) in the 18C.