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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 8:51 am    Post subject: Muscle cuirasses at the battle of Scannagallo (1554)         Reply with quote

Looking at illustrations of the Battle of Marciano/Scannagallo (1554), I can't help noticing the muscle shapes shown on some of the men's torso, as in this painting:



or this:



What are they supposed to represent? Tight leather/fabric overcoats as shown in some Landsknecht illustrations? Very tight-fitting shirts of mail? Neoclassical muscle cuirasses? Or just Classical references to ancient Roman cavalry panoplies that don't really have anything to do with armor actually worn in the battle?
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Christopher Lee




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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 2:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I would be inclined to agree with your last suggestion that it was a artistic licence and the particular style of the time. The muscle cuirasses are i suspect an anachronism for the purposes of assosciating the battle and the Medici with classical ideals; this particular painting and others by Vasari were comissioned by the medici to commemorate the campaign against Siena.

I'm unsure of which particular side is being represented by those soldiers with the shield with the scrolled edges and the other soldier with the scimitar but given that this painting was a propaganda piece the image has "meaning" and probably meaning that would have been clearly apparent to a contemporary. For instance it would be interesting to know if those particular soldiers in the muscle cuirasses represent the defeated senese or the florentines, so that on the one hand, depending upon the way you "spin" the image, it might represent the defeated senese garbed in archaic armour and wielding "outlandish" scimitars and sporting scroll edged shields; or if those soldiers are the victorious florentines then perhaps they could be seen as heroic conquerers, wearing armour that harks back to the classical ideals. I seem to remember that in the other battles depicted in the same series also show soldiers with similarly anachronistic armour and weapons. The Battle of Anghiari by Vasari also shows clearly classically inspired soldiers; i'm pretty sure that fashions were somewhat different in 1440.



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Douglas S





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 3:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a lot of artistic license in that style of painting. For instance, have you ever seen a horse that looks like that? I don't know that even the helmets are period.
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Bill Grandy
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Douglas S wrote:
I don't know that even the helmets are period.


There are a number of parade helmets that look just like those in the painting from the 16th century. The armour of Filipo Negroli comes to mind. I don't know if they ever saw use outside of ceremony, however.

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Bruno Giordan





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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 3:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is a lot of classicism in such paintings, and Vasari seems to have delighted to represent such cuirasses as muscled torsos, as if they were just transparent veils rather than cuirasses: most likely to have an occasion to show his prowess in depicting human torsos, to prove his bravura in a difficult and appreciated task.
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Nat Lamb




Location: Melbourne, Australia
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PostPosted: Fri 20 Mar, 2009 5:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think the painter takes a few liberties. For instance, in the lower painting, one of the guys with the falchions, the "s" shape of the cross of his sword is facing the wrong way, curving up at the fron of the blade, leaving the hand very exposed, down at the rear of the blade, perfect for interfering with his wrist. I have never seen a real sword with that (plenty of crappy drawings though) and I can't imagine a swordsmith with a brain crafting one.-sorry, pet peeve

Maybe the guys are all so super buff that their awsome muscles show through their steel armour?

And is it just me, or does one of the horses look like Liberace?
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JE Sarge
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PostPosted: Sat 28 Mar, 2009 7:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Definately liberal artistic license in this painting. Alot of Greco-Roman influence there.

And yes, one of the horses does look like Liberace...

J.E. Sarge
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sun 29 Mar, 2009 2:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's good to hear that I can pretty much ignore this one--it's one particular aberration that stuck out like a sore thumb among the sources I'm using for some armor designs inspired by Renaissance Neoclassicism. I'll just stick with the more conventional sources for now.
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