Tag: charles the bold

Your mother was a hamster!

Als voorbereiding op een werk was ik wat onderzoek aan het doen over François Villon, een misdadige dichter of dichtende misdadiger, uit het Frankrijk van de vijftiende eeuw. Toevallig kwam ik uit op een stomme film uit 1927 – The Beloved Rogue -, een redelijk gefingeerde biografie waarin Villon gespeeld wordt door John Barrymore. Het blijkt echter dat de personages Louis XI en Karel van Bourgondië ook een grote rol in de film spelen. De film is weer zo’n fijn jaren 20 geval van kartonnen decors, rare kleren, manliner en groteske overacting. Conrad Veidt is fantastisch als Louis. De film kan oa. bekeken worden op YouTube en archive.org. Hier zijn een paar van mijn favoriete beeldjes. Weer veel inspiratie opgedaan.

Lawson Butt als Charles the Bold
Conrad Veidt als Louis IX
John Barrymore als François Villon. In mijn ogen heeft hij hier een hoog Eric Idle-gehalte.
De damsel (nog niet) in distress
Een van de eindscenes met Charles in een harnas met glittersjaal, Louis met vettig haar en Villon die er nogal Johnny Weismuller-achtig uitziet in deze scene. Hij was net uit een kooi van een toren gehaald


Gaat dat zien, gaat dat zien!


The Sword in the Stone: Brugge III

The last one about Bruges, just random stuff connected to the Dukes.

After the tombs, I went to the museum (see Brugge I), where I spent quite some time looking at the paintings and some more time in the shop looking at all the weird touristy objects. By the time I was done, I was thirsty and hungry so I had a snack and a coffee which are not difficult to come by. After that I went to the basilica of the Holy Blood. I was just in time for the opening of the doors of the chapel at 1400 hours, which meant this time I was also able to witness the small ceremony when the blood is brought out.

The Blood wasn’t my main goal but as I was there anyway, I queued up to have another look at it. As I wrote last August, it is not allowed to take pictures of the Holy Blood. I also seem to have misplaced the leaflet I got, which has some info.

This time I managed to spot the dukes in the main part of the chapel, on the not so old stained glass windows. It took a bit of experimenting with the settings of the camera to take a decent picture, and avoid the glare of the sun. The B is quite far away as well. He is pictured with his second wife, not the third, for some reason.

And these are Maximillian and Mary of Burgundy. Well I suppose, it’s them, they definitely look like them in any case:

Then I went down to the old St. Basil chapel underneath. There were no relics on show, so a magical sword is still out of the question.

After that I did ‘the Burgundian walk’ I found on the internet, more or less anyway. I ended up in the Prinsenhof where the Dukes had their residence in the city. Now, from what I gather it is a big hotel and a smaller hotel on the side. The buildings look new to me, but then a lot in Bruges is not as old or as old as it looks. According to the info on the website the Karel de Stoute hotel is located where his old town house was, it’s a hard to tell, though.

The somewhat ridiculous The Dukes Palace (not sure what public they’re aiming at):

And the smaller Karel de Stoute:

Then I wandered around a bit until it was time for my train.


The Sword in the Stone: Brugge II

The first thing I did was head towards the O.L.Vrouwkerk which is situated in the middle of Bruges. Restoration works have been going on for years and at the moment the chapel where the Madonna by Michelangelo is normally located is inaccessible so the sculpture is not on display, just a cast. There was a lot of noise and dust so the entrance fee for the ‘museum’ was only 2 Euro instead of 6.

Apart from the things mentioned above there is large altarpiece by van Orley, a few medieval tombs and some not so great paintings. Unless you’ve never seen the choir of an old church or are very into Michelangelo and the B & C°, its probably not worth getting a ticket for the ‘museum’ (flog me if you think I deserve it). The outside is not very spectacular either.

This is the church interior, the tombs are at the back, behind the grate in the middle.

Mary’s tomb dates from just some years after her death, around 1500. The B’s tomb is much newer, from the middle of the 16th century. In 1979, when restoration works were going on (yeah, it’s a local tradition), Mary’s coffin and skeleton were discovered by accident. It turns out, the tombs were moved during the course of the centuries.

They are now back in their original positions. An autopsy of the skeleton revealed that it matches the injuries Mary sustained when she fell of her horse during a hunting trip. She was only 25. There was a small box with her, which contained the heart of Philip II, her son, who died of an illness or poisoning at 28. Charles was killed/committed virtual suicide at Nancy at 43. That’s three generations of tragic deaths at a (relatively) young age. With that in mind, the wide open, staring eyes of the effigies, are rather creepy.

According to Wikipedia the coffin with her skeleton is visible but I couldn’t see it though I crawled around on my knees (it was very calm that day and hardly any visitors came by). There was a bad reflection on the glass, so maybe that’s why. I saw some pictures of the skeleton somewhere but I think it was in a library book.

Here are some pictures of her tomb. Unfortunately, because I’m on the short side, it turned out to be impossible to take picture from a above. Eg. for the first one I stood on my toes with my arm high up and it’s still not high enough.

Also according to Wikipedia, Charles the Bold was originally buried in the St. Donaas church, which was demolished later on. But somewhere else I read that when they brought his remains to Bruges, they put the casket in Mary’s tomb as a temporary solution, until there was room for him, so I’ll have to look into that. In any case, he’s not home. First of all, the skeleton has disappeared, maybe during a revolution when the church was pillaged and thrashed. Secondly, the bones, or at least the skull, that were brought to Bruges, were probably not his. His heart is probably still somewhere in the soil of Nancy.

Engraving of the tomb in its previous location:

The graves below:

Now if this is a real Carravaggio I’ll eat my hat:


The sword in the stone: Cathlijn & Geert

The idea was, now spring and summer are approaching, to do a physical tour of the old Duchy of Burgundy, not just for the quest but as a source of inspiration for paintings. Many places are not too far away and can be reached in less than half a day. This B tour needs a lot of research though. There are plenty of history books but none of them has the complete story. So if I make mistakes, just tell me so I can correct them and don’t take everything I say for granted. Mistakes will be made.

The first thing I visited, last week was a nearby graveyard. When I was looking for the route the Burgundian troops followed on their way to Liège I came across a story on the website of the village of Oorbeek about the gravestone of Cathlyn van Oirbeeck. Cathlyn died in 1475, when Charles the Bold was still Duke of Burgundy and not rotting away in Nancy. But what’s even more interesting is that Cathlyn was the widow of Gerard de Ryckel aka Geert van Rijkel, a nobleman from the Liège area. Gerard died in the battle of Monthléry in 1465 (Ligue du Bien Public vs Louis XI). I am not going to recount the whole story of that battle, but it was an important one (imho) where the B almost got killed. The information about the circumstances of Gerard’s death is not chiseled into the stone. It is on an old engraving of a picture, commissioned by Cathlyn, which used to be in the church that was destroyed and which shows the couple kneeling down in prayer.

Here is a bigger picture of the stone:

The current St. George church is obviously not Burgundian. These regions have been ravaged and pillaged numerous times in the course of history. The original church was destroyed by soldiers in 1582 during the religious wars. A new church was built in 1778.

The gravestone is damaged. It used to be inside the church as the top part of a monument/ mausoleum for Cathlyn. The stone was later enclosed in the wall of the new church.

With the help of the info on the Oorbeek site and some digging around in my bookcase I found a catalogue that came from the family collection which shows the engraving with the source where it came from (Le Grand Theatre Sacré du Duché de Brabant) and with this info I found a scanned copy on e-rara. Just to show that often the night is dark and full of winding roads.

So – drumroll – here is what Gérard and Cathlyn looked like:

It’s always more interesting when names get a face. Note that the date of the battle is not correct in the engraving. It reads 1460 instead of 1465.

Next up will be the Bruges trip, me thinks; I am researching some anti-Burgundian dude from Limburg who is mightily interesting and and some obscure self-proclaimed knights but I need more time for that one. And I still need to make a wax doll.


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.


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