Tag: Burgundy

The sword in the stone: Le Tour de Bourgogne

The lord of the castle is sliding down French mountains on two small planks, but I’m still home, alone with the cat. At 6 am the little bastard decided it was time to get up. Needless to say I am a little tired now.

Theoretically I have no fixed obligations next week so yesterday I prepared a short physical tour of Burgundy ad 1465-1477. A lot of key places are maximum a couple hours by car, train or bike away, except Dijon, Nancy and Monthléry. I thought I’d be bored out of my wits by the B now but I have been researching local history and came across the most colourful characters and interesting anecdotes, so the quest is still on.

I already visited one place a few days ago and posted something on IG, may do a more extended version here.

For today, I had selected the scene of a Burgundian battlefield not too far away and spent some time testing which of our bikes fit into my tiny car. The battlefield is not reachable by car and the weather is not good enough to cycle the whole distance.

The area near the battlefield is also the birthplace of Egidius and the rest of his line so it is a double whopper. I was going to leave now but the wind is howling and the rain is pouring down. That usually doesn’t stop me, but the circumstances are not good enough for taking pictures. Monday’s forecast doesn’t look good either, alas. Also I broke a piece of a tooth yesterday, the sort of thing that obviously only happens on Saturday nights. This means my other plans are now dependent on the availability of my dentist.

It looks like it will be a painting day then.

The sword in the stone: The eye of the beholder

Image from The Studio, somewhere around 1900

This is not truly a Wednesday update on a Thursday. Not because it’s Valentine’s day. We don’t do Valentine stuff. The Lord of the Castle has band rehearsal so he’s in his music room while I’m going to lock myself up with the B and other half finished dead people in my work room. An oily orgy so to speak. This afternoon I worked on Ilion and the larp portrait.

I had a busy day yesterday and today. After a number of rather boring administrative tasks I had a quick look around the thrift store. I have a self-imposed random, almost superstitious, rule that if I don’t encounter a picture of the B anywhere in the thrift store, I will end the quest. This time I encountered at least four pictures of him, including one that leads back to the Egidius quest so it looks I’m not finished with my research yet.

I came across three interesting facts about the physical appearance of the B in some rather obscure books which I want to investigate in case I ever come across the actual skeleton (slim chance though).

But now I need to paint. Not sure for how long. I had three different nightmares last night and I’m exhausted.

Another Burgundian buffet

Had a class this morning. Worked on an old temple and some trees.

Saturday was filled with menial and administrative tasks. Worked on existing paintings on Sunday. Painted over some parts of Ilion, I forgot to include two characters and I had to make room for them. Painted a layer on the larp portrait and Anton.

Painted a crown on Louis IX, still to be corrected and enhanced with gemstones and such. Plus some corrections on the face.

Brought the faceless J of C home to add the halo. Oscar wasn’t dry yet so no work done on him. No work done on Animo Inquieto either. Started two small (25×30) paintings. I am keeping one as a surprise for later and the second one is based on an old picture of the Nemrut Dagi. Initial layer :

Worked on the B on Monday afternoon and evening. Running into the same issue with the eyes as with the small version. I think with some simple corrections it could be more or less acceptable. I keep in mind that the eyes of the portrait Rubens painted are also off. Not sure about the skin colour. I thought it would be a good idea to make him more tanned and/or Portuguese as his chroniclers describe him but now it looks like he’s just returned from partying in Ibiza with some good memories to cherish and we all know there is very little chance that the B went clubbing in Ibiza. I’ll leave it alone for a couple days and see wat happens.

Some time was also spent on reclaiming my Burgundian lands on Instagram. Here is the full version of a posted image of a Burgundian banquet, a drawing from a children’s book about the Bold, dating from the 1950ies. It doesn’t say who the artist is.

And a colour drawing/quick sketch of an old drawing of the B when he was 9 years old. The original by an anonymous artist supposedly dates from 1443 and is now in a museum in Arnhem.

Reading: not started on the Loo book yet. I am still reading a biography of Jan Six by Geert Mak, it’s quite entertaining. After that it is back to the B.

Spent some time researching a couple Babylonian dudes. Wondered if the Tower of Babel would be a good cake design.

Watched a couple episodes of various series such as The Arrow and Supernatural.

The Burgundian Confusion

Tower of Babel, from the Bedford manuscript – Image source: Wikipedia

The tower of Babel has long gone but we still speak all these different languages around the world and hairy English in some cases. In any case, it can be handy to know a couple languages other than the good old mother tongue. I am tempted to launch a rant against internet scamming and unscrupulous criminals as a completely innocent victim but I am going to get too worked up and my BP is going to go through the roof, I guess. So back to the topic.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I came across a handy book in the family archives:

It’s some kind of language course from 1696 to learn Burgundian, basically just a fancy word for somewhat old French. It’s a Latin to French manual so basically you’d have to study Latin first and then French. It has some info on conjugations and such but I like the complete sentences best as they show how you can use all those loose words in a meaningful context, a bit like those Assimil courses.

Some examples, loosely translated.

Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, founded the  Order of the Golden Fleece at Bruges in Flanders. 1430.

Simon the Magician, whom S. Luke mentions, is considered the chief originator of the Heretics.

The Templar Knights, whose Grand Master was burnt alive at Paris, have long been exterminated.

There are a lot of beavers in Canada.

I’m sure these phrases will come in handy next time I’m in France.

The sword in the stone: The hazzards of a duke

This is going to be the first SITS/Duke post after some time. I have put the bigamous woman on the side burner for now. WIP is also for another post (started a new painting)

Over the holidays I have been reading the chronicles of Jean de Haynin, Olivier de la Marche, Chastellain, Molinet and de Comines. I’ve only read snippets of the bigger ones (Chastellain, Comines, several volumes) so far. I have concentrated on the adult years of the Bold (see earlier posts, not doing a recap). It’s quite interesting to read them side by side because they complement each other. One has to bear in mind that the Comines switched sides so his story will be quite biased.

Arles: Olivier de la Marche doesn’t mention anything about the Arles visions but he does talk about Arles and Saint Trophyme which was interesting. Also, according to the chronicles it looks like the B stayed in our town on his way to sack Liège. I must do some further research about this. I also learned something about very strange burial rituals in our region. Must look into that as well.

Other things that struck me: How gory, brutal and pointless wars are. How high the amount of miles these people were able to cover in a day were (without the cannons, though, those were slow), and the amount of travelling they did despite the absence of trains, planes and automobiles. (Charles the Bold was always on the move during his duke days.) How these high-born women were treated like goods or assets, almost like promotions in a shop (If you buy this you get one free – If you marry her you get this or that land or title) and on the other hand how well some of them managed to run their businesses or govern their lands while the men were always away from home, waging their endless wars or being just plain dead. It’s also interesting to read how terrified Olivier de la Marche was of Charles the Bold during those final days. How the B left a trail of mental breakdowns behind him. There was the anecdote about the books but there were some others in the presence of his father. I haven’t come across the boot incident yet.

A summary is for when I am done reading with all of the books. I also have come across some other clues regarding the remains that are interesting enough to look into. That’s for next week or the week after. Durendal and Gideon also have appeared again.

In the meantime here are some more samples of pictures of the B I have collected for my reference library, most of them fantasy portraits made after his death, or based on Rogier’s painting.

I came across two more examples of why you always need to check the sources. While I was looking for more information about a statue that was supposedly Charles the Bold (spoiler alert: it was not) I came across a twenty year old newspaper article about the theft of a wooden statue of St George in a church near Beernem. It said the statue dated from the 15th century and had the face of the Charles the Bold. There was no picture of the statue included and it took me some time to find it, on a website of Bruges.

Zooming in on the face, it’s clear that this is not the B but Philip the Fair. It says so in the description of the picture too so the reporter just sucked on his thumb, I guess (local expression for making things up). Or maybe I am wrong and this is not the stolen picture after all.

An engraving of the B in armour:

Another – low quality – print of a portrait, (not sure when and by whom it was made):

Charles the Bold when he was 9. Apparently this is a contemporary portrait drawing (museum of Arnhem). He looks about three or four in this, though.

This is not the Bold, but an engraving of a painting by Jan van Eyck which looks nothing like the original painting, so that’s why I included it. But note that this St George probably inspired the reliquary commissioned by the B that is now in Liège.

Also another thing I was looking for: a picture of the tomb of the B, taken from above.

And an engraving of the Bruges tomb from a book of the 19th century, when it was in another location in the church:

And my favourite thrift store find of last month, a book with large, good quality reproductions of Jean-Léon Huens’s totally underrated illustrations for the history of Belgium. There was only one volume of the three but never mind. I think the original pictures date from the 50ies or 60ies and people could collect them on small cards via tokens on coffee, flour and other packages of household stuff. (My pictures are not good, it’s quite dark in my work room atm)

That’s all for now.


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