Monday, 29 July 2013

Some Medieval idea development

Skull Trim

My sketchbook thoughts on how to make the 'keyhole' shapes at the top  of the reliquary,
using gold thread and a tiny crochet hook. I thought they could easily be turned into skull shapes.

All this gold and silver yarn got me thinking about gold and how much there seems to be in opus anglicanum and the pictures of grand or saintly people I have seen. Gold has a meaning which still holds in western culture - of wealth and power.

Gold backgrounds

There are lots of examples of regular patterns
made in the gold background of Medieval images.
This one is from Spain in about 1320,
and is a Haggadah containing the order of service
for the celebration of Passover-eve in the home.
From a British Library postcard.

Boehius, Concerning Music Paris ca 1405

These two images show the use of triple gold lines to make squares, with repetitive patterns inside, in the background, which seems to indicate riches and wordly power. 

Below is Charles V receiving spurs from Phillip the Bold, an image from The Coronation Book of Charles V, Paris 1365

This shows a miniature in a book of hours dated ca 1450-55, painted by Master of Guillevert de Mets. The lady is Saint Veronica, displaying a cloth called the Sudarium with the miraculous image of Jesus on it. 

Apart from the lovely ivy leaves all around, and checkerboard floor, she has squares of blue red and gold making a pattern behind her which seems to be popular.

These three colours are the basis of most of the images I could find.

Gold stars in a blue sky are popular in images of saints. This one shows St Bellinus in Ferrara in 1649 under a starred roof. In squares.

And finally, two gold on gold. 

 St Peter Martyr, identifiable by the hatchet and sword that killed him, stands in front of what looks like a large sheet of gold leave which has squares and spots embossed into it.

From Gualenghi d'Este Hours painted by Taddeo Crivelli in Ferrara ca 1465.

The grand person below is Louis XII of France, painted by Jean Bourdichon in The Hours of Louis X11 Tours, 1498-9.

His tunic is gold on gold with a pattern of suns surrounded by rope in squares, in this case rotated. I'm not sure whether this is meant to be gold armour with fake rope decoration, or applique of gold rope on gold fabric.

Because of all this, I gathered the gold yarn I had, and made some squares.

The whole box

This was my sketch of the box itself at the British Museum

I thought about the imagery of it, and about whether an empty reliquary would be an interesting metaphor to go with.

What is inside is a tricky question. There has to be something, but if there is, it won't be visible. Unless it is broken, or opened.

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