Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Italian fresco of late 14th early 15th C naval battle? Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Mackenzie Cosens




Location: Vancouver Canada
Joined: 08 Aug 2007

Posts: 238

PostPosted: Fri 18 May, 2012 3:03 pm    Post subject: Italian fresco of late 14th early 15th C naval battle?         Reply with quote

Does anyone know this mural?
It has very interesting helmets and other armour.

http://www.rd20.it/iconografia/Spinello_Areti...Navale.jpg
http://fe.fondazionezeri.unibo.it/foto/40000/16800/16590.jpg

"A huge fresco at the Palazzo Publicco in Sienna, of a naval battle between Venice and Frederick Barbarossa. The painting was executred no later than 1407 by Spinello Aretino" (http://1381-1424.hys.cz/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=48)

Thanks
Mackenzie
View user's profile Send private message
Mark Shier
Industry Professional




Joined: 27 Mar 2005

Posts: 83

PostPosted: Fri 18 May, 2012 3:53 pm    Post subject: armour and weapons         Reply with quote

Lots of variety in helmets, including a klappvisor bascinet.
As well, there is a two handed Mac-Bible chopper in the bottom right corner of the first image.

Gaukler Medieval Wares
http://www.medievalwares.com
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Fri 18 May, 2012 4:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Its in David Niccole's two volume book on medieval Eurasian arms. I've never seen a colour photo!

The kit looks early 14th century to me. Lots of mail and small reinforcing plates, and no houndskull visors; the crossbows look self or composite to me and have no visible spanning device. The rowers are naked in the old sense except for their pot helms.
View user's profile Send private message
Jojo Zerach





Joined: 26 Dec 2009

Posts: 288

PostPosted: Fri 18 May, 2012 5:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
Its in David Niccole's two volume book on medieval Eurasian arms. I've never seen a colour photo!

The kit looks early 14th century to me. Lots of mail and small reinforcing plates, and no houndskull visors; the crossbows look self or composite to me and have no visible spanning device. The rowers are naked in the old sense except for their pot helms.


I think in Italy, mail was more popular to a later date than it was in England or France.
View user's profile Send private message
Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Sat 19 May, 2012 6:36 am    Post subject: Re: Italian fresco of late 14th early 15th C naval battle?         Reply with quote

Mackenzie,

One of my all time favorite images, since seeing it in an Osprey book long ago.

The frustrating thing is that no image I have seen really does it justice: this covers two walls and the individual figures range in size but are often over a foot tall! I was astounded when I saw it. The bad part was that no photography is allowed, and after searching through every museo gift shop and book store in the old city of Sienna, I could not find a single decent reproduction of the sala! Grrr....

The image is definitely late 14th c. There are some interesting commonalities of artistic style with two of the dei Liberi manuscripts (how the faces are rendered, etc) which links them to a late Siennese school. Another example are the brimmed bascinets/early celate. A wealth of goodies here. One obvious example: notice the clear use of fingering the cross when thrusting.

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Kel Rekuta




Location: Toronto, Canada
Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 612

PostPosted: Sat 19 May, 2012 10:04 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah, you'd think one of the photo art libraries would have at least some of the mural detail in for sale in decent resolution... but no. Very frustrating, isn't it? I wonder if it may have been studied in some Renaissance art book. I have a handful but there are hundreds out there. Sad
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Mackenzie Cosens




Location: Vancouver Canada
Joined: 08 Aug 2007

Posts: 238

PostPosted: Sat 19 May, 2012 10:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There are bascinets with cheek pieces, what may be great helmets covered with mantel and cool bevor worn by the man with the "Mac-Bible chopper". From the technique end of things there is a dagger play where one covers the eye of the opponent, a little bit like one of Fiore's axe plays, and stab him and there is what appears to be a left hand parry with imbroccata thrust over the shield.

Its a very cool mural,

Note: It looks like the colour photo has a centre join line which may be a seam of a book

Another blurry image from an other angle http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fil:Spinello_Are...blico2.JPG

Images from the right side different angle http://storage.canalblog.com/69/23/180492/6629169.jpg


Interesting smaller images including some of this mural http://www.rositour.it/Arte/Spinello%20Aretino/Spinello.htm


mackenzie
View user's profile Send private message
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Sun 20 May, 2012 6:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As far as equipment goes it is very likely that many of these gents, especially the ones in lighter armour are pedes, or footmen. Their still fairly well equipped for the place they were supposed to fulfill but not men-at-arms. My guess is gents equipped like this could be found in many places in Europe for the time frame it was created in.

Further it is likely that sailors, mariners and such often fought in lighter gear, as pedes did on land usually. Most of the inventories I have seen for English equivalents simply are in aketons and bascinets for most with some in the same plus gauntlets of iron and pairs of plates.

I do wonder if somethings like the possible great helm are simply used for IDing some one as seems a problem to fight in a confined space like this with one on.

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Neil Melville




Location: Scotland
Joined: 27 Oct 2009

Posts: 183

PostPosted: Sun 20 May, 2012 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

According to what I've read Spinello painted this fresco in 1407-8, in the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena in honour of Pope Alexander III who was Sienese. The oddity is that the battle (Punta San Salvatore) which it allegedly commemorates, between Papal/Venetian and Imperial forces, never actually took place. It was painted for diplomatic purposes - to give the Pope a bit of glory, even if fictitious! But marvellous evidence for Italian arms and armour of c.1400.
Neil

N Melville
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Sun 20 May, 2012 9:46 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
As far as equipment goes it is very likely that many of these gents, especially the ones in lighter armour are pedes, or footmen. Their still fairly well equipped for the place they were supposed to fulfill but not men-at-arms. My guess is gents equipped like this could be found in many places in Europe for the time frame it was created in.

Further it is likely that sailors, mariners and such often fought in lighter gear, as pedes did on land usually. Most of the inventories I have seen for English equivalents simply are in aketons and bascinets for most with some in the same plus gauntlets of iron and pairs of plates.

I do wonder if somethings like the possible great helm are simply used for IDing some one as seems a problem to fight in a confined space like this with one on.

RPM
I agree that many of the soldiers are probable pedites not milites, but even leaders (like the man with the red surcoat, top row centre- Barbarossa?) have a few small plates laced over mail for arm harness and no houndskull bascinets. So I still suspect that if this was painted in 1407, the author tried to use old-fashioned armour for a battle several centuries ago (even if "old fashioned" was what fashionable Italians wore in the 1360s and 1370s).

Compare Lippo Vani's picture of the Battle of Sinalunga, which was probably done in the 1360s or 1370s. There are more complete arm harnesses, and some great helms that may be visored like in the second row, lower right of Spinello's painting. Or that Arthurian romance from Milan which is now in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. Of course, both are focused on rich milites not militia and marines!

Its also interesting that each side has a consistent shield device: either the imperial eagle or what I guess are the arms of Venice. Is that just an artistic convention, or did states like Venice have the resources to make people paint their shields a particular way?
View user's profile Send private message
Jonathon Janusz





Joined: 20 Nov 2003

Posts: 467

PostPosted: Sun 20 May, 2012 5:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:
So I still suspect that if this was painted in 1407, the author tried to use old-fashioned armour for a battle several centuries ago (even if "old fashioned" was what fashionable Italians wore in the 1360s and 1370s).

Compare Lippo Vani's picture of the Battle of Sinalunga, which was probably done in the 1360s or 1370s. There are more complete arm harnesses, and some great helms that may be visored like in the second row, lower right of Spinello's painting. Or that Arthurian romance from Milan which is now in the Bibliotheque Nationale de France. Of course, both are focused on rich milites not militia and marines!


I would offer this link to an Italian effigy, dated 1405, showing similarity to the great helm wearers in the painting. Considering that it is a coin toss as to whether the effigy would represent a person at the time of death, or in the prime of their life, I would hope it at least keeps us in the ballpark of the very turn of the century. Further, I would suggest that it gives us an indication that, aside from the differences in helms, the body defenses shown look to scale all the way up the social classes in the Italian context?

http://www.effigiesandbrasses.com/monuments/niccolo_benedetti/
View user's profile Send private message
Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Sun 20 May, 2012 7:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

also, just walking through Sienna and its region of Tuscany you see the same style of arms and armour in late 14th artwork in the Duomo and the various art museums. This is not the height of c.1400 harness, but I don't think it is meant to be old-fashioned at all. Certainly, I wouldn't use the lighter arm harness as proof, since even in the mid-15th C it is common to see fully armoured knights in Italy without pauldrons, or wearing a simple couter-vambrace.
Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Sun 20 May, 2012 7:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So just a quick look.

The gents who can be IDed clearly for arm armour-

16 full arms
13 partial (couter at least but often a vambrace or rerebrace as well)
12 only with mail

so out of 41 clearly displayed 29 are with some plate defense and over half have the majority of their arms covered with plate armour over the mail.

There are a load of men who only have a part of the arm showing that are excluded or no arm showing.

RPM
View user's profile Send private message
Sean Manning




Location: Austria
Joined: 23 Mar 2008

Posts: 420

PostPosted: Mon 21 May, 2012 10:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Randall Moffett wrote:
So just a quick look.

The gents who can be IDed clearly for arm armour-

16 full arms
13 partial (couter at least but often a vambrace or rerebrace as well)
12 only with mail

so out of 41 clearly displayed 29 are with some plate defense and over half have the majority of their arms covered with plate armour over the mail.

There are a load of men who only have a part of the arm showing that are excluded or no arm showing.

RPM

Still, the upper arm defenses are usually a plate strapped over mail that protects one side of the arm. In the 1400s I would expect to see a two-piece hinged rerebrace, often with a short mail sleeve hanging over it. And the helmets still worry me. You and Greg have been looking at late 14th century stuff longer and harder than I have, but the arm defenses still feel older than the Pistoia Altarpiece or Lippo Vanni's Battle of Sinalunga, both from around 1370, let alone Jacopo Cavali's effigy or BNF Francais 343 or the three early Fiore MSS. But it may just be that this picture focusses on militia and the poorer half of the men at arms, whereas effigies and illuminations tend to focus on the rich.

Although its not directly comparable, since he doesn't have an "Italy" section and doesn't distinguish between types of plate defense, Doug Strong's figures suggest that 95-100% of effigies from 1370 to 1410 have plate upper arms. David Niccole (Medieval Warfare Sourcebook, Vol. I p. 211) felt that something was odd about the armour here too.

Edit: I also notice that his photo there is a completely different part of this fresco ...
View user's profile Send private message
Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

PostPosted: Mon 21 May, 2012 11:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi Sean,

I do suspect that the subject matter - a naval battle of common soldiers - is a part of what is impacting what we see, as is locale - Sienna vs. Lombardy. You can clearly see differences in Neapolitan fashions and northern Italian, and likewise we see a greater emphasis on heavy cavalry in Lombardian art over Tuscan, again perhaps (note the qualifier!) reflecting the artists perception of their local armies. I say perception since, in reality, by 1400 Tuscan armies are primarily condottieri, not city militia, anyway, and they would be armed according to their own internal needs.

Certainly, as I said, there is a bias toward wearing only a left should defense or nothing over the mail, amongst Italian knights even into the mid-15th c that does not seem to be reflected in English and French sources.

If you showed me this image and I didn't know what it was, I'd say "Italian, c.1370s or 80s". But after wandering around Tuscany, it seems fairly consistent with c.1400 - as long as we assume take in the caveat of the subject matter.

Regardless, it is a stunning fresco.

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Ryan S.





Joined: 04 May 2012

Posts: 132

PostPosted: Mon 21 May, 2012 1:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean Manning wrote:

Its also interesting that each side has a consistent shield device: either the imperial eagle or what I guess are the arms of Venice. Is that just an artistic convention, or did states like Venice have the resources to make people paint their shields a particular way?
It is a little bit of both. I am not sure it is a matter of resources, but how armies were equipped and the practice of heraldry. Heraldry wasn't much developed in Fredrick's time, but it he did use the eagle, but he is also known for using a red banner with a white flag. I am not sure how the Venetian or Imperial armed forces would have been recruited and equipped/supplied. Mercenaries and temporary allies would have provided their own equipment with their own devices on it. As would have knights and their retainers. However, troops that directly served the Emperor would use his device, and similarly the Venetian militia may have customarily put the Venetian lion on their shields. Interestingly enough most depictions of medieval battles don't show persons wearing coats of arms and heraldic shields
View user's profile Send private message
Randall Moffett




Location: Northern Utah
Joined: 07 Jun 2006
Reading list: 5 books

Posts: 2,098

PostPosted: Mon 21 May, 2012 1:38 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sean,

We cannot use effigies to compare to art in this way. Art as in this case is not showing knights, likely it is showing a mix of men-at-arms, footmen and sailors- the last two groups not likely being full equipped. So where as a knight might be in full armour head to toe perhaps this is not what we are seeing here. Footmen would be unlikely to be armed as well as a knight.

RPM
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Italian fresco of late 14th early 15th C naval battle?
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2018 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum