The monk who copied this “Decretum” in northern Italy in the first half of the 13th century clearly had talent, but also liked to sketch strange little blue and red
in the margins.
- “Enluminures” (culture.gouv.fr)
Uta von Ballenstedt
Margravine of Meissen
Born c. 1000 — Died pre-1046
Uta was a member of the House of Ascania. Through her marriage to Margrave Eckard II, she was the Margravine of Meissen in Saxony, eastern Germany.
Presumably to promote the rise of the Ascanian dynasty, Uta’s father married her to Eckard II in about 1026. However, the marriage produced no children, resulting in the extinction of the Ekkeharding dynasty.
The couple contributed a significant amount to construct what would become the Naumburg Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul.
When the Cathedral was completed in the mid-13th century, the presiding bishop honoured the founders, Ekkehard, Uta and 10 other nobles by commissioning the anonymous ‘Naumburg Master’ to produce life-size painted statues of them to adorn the cathedral. The sculptures are remarkable as secular rather than biblical decorations for the cathedral, particularly as they depict nobles rather than kings or emperors. The depictions are now generally considered masterpieces of Gothic art.
In the 20th century, the statue of Uta was used by the Nazi’s as a prototype of the ideal Aryan woman, even appearing as an Aryan role model in Fritz Hippler’s propaganda film The Eternal Jew.
It is also believed that the statue inspired the depiction of the Evil Queen in Disney’s 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. You be the judge!
NB: the dates from when her image was used to depict a ‘Teutonic Madonna’ in various Nazi propaganda makes me wonder if that was why her likeness was used to represent an evil character in the Disney film. Just a thought!
Statue thought to be Queen Eadgyth, great grand-daughter of Alfred, and her husband Otto I, Roman Emperor 936-973
Edward the Elder, King Alfred’s son and successor.
13th Century genealogical scroll
Place of origin: England, Europe
Date: ca. 1250 – 1260
Medium: Pen-and-ink drawings tinted with body color and translucent washes on parchment.
Panthers and leopards in medieval bestiaries
The main point of medieval bestiaries wasn’t realism, especially because most of the people illustrating them had never seen most of the exotic animals depicted on the pages – but each animal still needed to be
instantly identifiable. Because of that, visual codes were developped for each animal.
In most bestiaries, panthers and leopards have many colors (usually seven, frequently considered a perfect number at the time in Europe), sometimes in dots, sometimes in patches or in stripes. Usually, the breath of the animal is also coloured, because it is supposed to attract all animals (except its enemy the dragon, because the panther was seen as a Christ-like figure at the time), as seen on image 2 and 3.
- Bestiaires du Moyen Âge (Michel Pastoureau)
Image 1: Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire d’amour: France (Paris), 13th-14th century. Bibliothèque Nationale de France
Image 2: British Library, Harley MS 3244, Folio 37r. Panther
Image 3: Rochester Bestiary, c. 1225-1250
A relief depicting Danish King Valdemar II Victorious (1170-1241) and his wife Berengaria of Portugal
* Ribe Cathedral, Jylland
Battle of Lindanise – Dannebrog falls from the sky
In 1219 Danish King Valdemar II led a crusading fleet to Estonia.His army met Estonian forces at Lindanise – present day Tallinn – and defeated them after a hard fight. According to legend Danish flag, Dannebrog, fell from the sky during a difficult moment of the battle and this gave crusaders new hope.
(C.A. Lorentzen’s painting, 1809)