Monday, August 22, 2011

Taking Apart Images - Part 1 - Two Lovers on a Bank by Meister E.S.

I thought it would be fun to pull apart images and put examples of various sections of them for future study and comparison.  My first stop is with 'Two Lovers by a Bank' (circa 1460) by Meister E.S., a German goldsmith, engraver and artist from circa 1420-1468.  It is claimed that he worked in Constance, Basle, and on Lake Constance in northern Switzerland, and later worked in Strasbourg.  This piece is a little before the era I'm studying, but many of the clothing features appear to be fairly similar.


First off, she's wearing her hemd in public.  I grant that they are by themselves at presumably the bank of a river or lake, but it is interesting to me how she could be so dressed and undressed at the same time.

Next I looked at their poulaines and pattens...

... both of which appear to be fairly similar, if you can judge by the tip of her shoe poking out from beneath her hemd.  It does not appear as if the pattens are hinged, but are a single pieces of wood judging by the discarded patten lying between his feet.  Personally, I would think it would be difficult to walk on such a pointed patten if they were not hinged... artistic license?  Or did they walk funny while wearing them, flat footed?  The poulaines do not have ties themselves and split over the ankle.

My next stop was the gurtil...
... in which there appears to be a buckle at the place where the hilt of the sword would connect.  I wonder if this indicates that the end of the gurtil may be where you will sometimes find a buckle connected with the sword.  That would explain why you can't always find buckles in drawing since most swords appear to be on the hip away from the viewer, unlike this engraving.  Also, the positioning of the sword between the legs was not uncommon and was used for ...ahem... obvious reasons.

Next I traveled up to his sleeve...
... I don't run into many sleeves that are tied or perhaps the artists aren't drawing individuals from that angle, but many of the tapered effects on clothing would need closures of some type to get that form fitting effect.  Her sleeve appears to be laced as well, at least at the wrist, but it is too difficult to know if that might be the case.


It's unfortunate that the only discarded clothing in the image is a single glove draped over a box/post/stump in the background...
... but I am thankful that it is there to show the usage of gloves in this period.  Sometimes it is difficult to determine in a drawing if an individual is wearing gloves or not.

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