Young Man Holding a Book
Master of the View of Sainte Gudule
(Netherlandish, active ca. 1485)
The heart-shaped book this sitter holds is probably a prayer book; he is depicted before a view of the church of Sainte Gudule in Brussels, where a mass is performed by a priest in the background.
The man’s identity is unknown, but he may have been a member of a confraternity or guild with a particular devotion to Saint Augustine, whose symbolic attribute was a heart surmounted by a flame.
It is possible this formed the right wing of a devotional diptych; as such, the shape of the book would echo the open form of two joined, arch-shaped panels.
Edmund Blair Leighton, The Shadow, Circa 1909
The poignancy of the moment captured in EB Leighton’s painting, “The Shadow” is immediately apparent: a knight, in full chain mail, stands in profile before a castle wall, absolutely still and unhurried, while his beloved traces the shadow he casts with a piece of charcoal vine.
The presence of a ship in the harbor, though distant, creates the sense of his impending departure - likely to battle - and gives significance to her drawing as possibly the only remembrance she may have of him for some time to come.
- The Garden of Earthly Delights, Hieronymus Bosch, 1503-1504
- The Uninhabited Garden, José Manuel Ballester, 2008
A German historian named William Pehle, asserted that bowling began in Germany around 300 AD. Monks would set up pins called kegels, which represented human sins or temptations. They would then throw stones at the pins, thus conquering sin. Kegling is another term for bowling, even today. There are records indicating that some variation of bowling has been played throughout history all over the world.
image: Bruegel’s “Children’s Games” (Detail) 1560
Entire piece 6567x4770!
How did people keep meat fresh in the Middle Ages?
One of the techniques was to dig cellars in the ground, inlay them with large stones covered with straw and put massive blocks of ice specially transported from the mountains, for example. This could preserve food for even a year.
Also, farmers used to put meat in large barrels filled with lard.
image: Butcher’s Stall (1551) Pieter Aertsen
Richard III dig update:
Results expected in January
Archaeologists who discovered a skeleton thought to be Richard III have said it could be January before tests confirm whether it is the former king.
image: King Richard III, by unknown artist, given to the National Portrait Gallery, London in 1862
Dante gazes at Mount Purgatory (c. 1530)
Kissing Custom at the Feast of Boyar* Morozov (1895)
*Member of the upper stratum of medieval Russian society and state administration. In Kievan Rus during the 10th–12th century, the boyars constituted the senior group in the prince’s retinue (druzhina) and occupied the higher posts in the armed forces and in the civil administration. (Britannica)