Tag: Karel de Stoute

Burgundian wish list

On my current (achievable, so nothing like a prayer book manuscript, a signed and sealed letter or original Golden Fleece documents) Burgundian book/document wish list:

Objectif Ducs – comic that has Burgundians and people riding boars. Not sure if it is available in the local shops. Can’t drive all the way to Dijon the coming few weeks for this :/. Probably have to order it online.
Which reminds me, I’m adding a better background to Charles riding the boar.

This really beautifully illustrated vintage book about my virtual boss and the B’s enemy, Louys XI. Unfortunately, it looks like it’s quite pricey. There is a scanned copy on BnF, however, so you can easily read it online:

Going by the messy hair and the fancy outfit, the man in the gold armour must be Charles. Louis was usually dressed in rags.

And this rather intriguing and slightly hilarious looking book/comic?: Le grand amour de Charles le Téméraire. Not sure if they mean by “amour” fighting or Henry.

Image from livre.com

Three (not so) wise men for the price of one

This is a follow-up post on some of the crypto portraits of Charles the Bold.

To summarize: there are almost no direct portrait paintings of Charles the Bold. Most of them are copies of paintings that were lost or just complete fantasy. For reference purposes I’ll repost the most important ones here.

The best known portrait is the (copy) of the portrait by Rogier van der Weyden, the one I’m more or less copying now.

There is also a copy of a portrait that was painted when Charles the Bold travelled to Dijon to bury his parents. In this one he is rather rough looking.

But there are also some so called contemporary crypto portraits, ie portraits that appear in paintings that may portray someone particular without mentioning their name (and as such are theoretical portraits, I guess).

One of such portraits is John the Apostle in the Last Judgment scene by Memling (discussed this before):

There are also three other supposed crypto-portraits that are somewhat linked together. The three portraits are all portraying one of the three wise men that visited newly born baby Jesus (not to be confused with baby Yoda :/). Two of them are by Memling and his workshop, the third one by Rogier van der Weyden. They’re all similar.

The first one is the Floreins triptych by Memling, located at the St Jans hospital at Bruges (a new trip to Bruges is in order, once the museum is open again).

The king in red on the left may be a portrait of Charles the Bold.

A fairly similar painting is located at the Prado, Madrid.

The third Magi painting I want to show is known as the Columba altarpiece and was painted by Rogier van der Weyden and workshop.

According to the books about Memling I read and other sources, the oldest king kissing the child may be a portrait of Philip the Good and the youngest king, the one in red on the right, is supposedly a portrait of Charles the Bold. This one:

It was even used as his portrait for a biography by Henri Dubois:

Now the odd thing is that the middle king looks a lot more like the Memling kings.

Not sure what is going on here.

There is more to this. According to a couple articles I read, it should be possible to detect certain physical deformities in the portraits. Charles the Bold and Philip the Good (who also had a very long nose apparently) were known to have a protruding, big lower lip. It can definitely be seen in the first two portraits. In the other ones it is not so clear except the youngest king. (result of inbreeding?)

There is also something wrong with the B’s ears, according to said articles, but so far I can’t tell what from the portaits. I’ll have to see if I can find more sources for that.

As for his eyes, I still don’t know what colour they were. I do know that his daughter Mary apparently had grey-brown eyes.

And now I’m off to check an interesting theory about his second wife.

Side quest – Renaissance man wearing a decorative hat

So while the rest of the world is drooling over Jan van Eyck, I’m on a side quest. The other day I was going online through some paintings by the – not as famous as van Eyck – Jan Gossaert, nicknamed Mabuse, and came across the portrait of the above gentleman. Gossaert was born in the year after the Bold’s death and the portrait is a typical renaissance portrait and has the look and feel of Holbein’s portraits (Thomas More, Erasmus, etc).

First thing that I thought when I saw this portrait was that it reminded me a lot of the faces of Anthony the Big Bastard (his official title, see older posts) and somewhat of the B. See below for reference purposes.


The Wikipedia page mentions that it may be Baudouin of Burgundy. The painting is property of the Gemäldegalerie at Berlin, same museum that owns the portrait of Charles the Bold, it’s almost the same size too. Intriguing and worth investigating so I spent more than a day looking for an exhibition catalogue of Mabuse’s work that came from the family archives and that I’d temporarily stored in a box somewhere so I first had to clean up before writing this post.

Let’s see if there are any clues in the painting itself. Old paintings are never without – sometimes quite hermetic – symbols. First off, there is a jewel on his hat. Secondly there are some words on the sheath of the sword. He’s wearing a necklace with a ring. He’s holding his hand in a particular manner. A key is clearly visible on his belt and last but not least the collar of his shirt has a distinctive pattern. All in all his clothes are stunning (probably leeched off the bent backs of his subjects, cough).

I couldn’t find a very good scan of the painting so I’ll have to depend on the catalogue’s description of all the details.

The painting is painted on a panel of 56 x 42,5 cm. It can be dated based on the clothing somewhere around 1525-1530. The catalogue doesn’t mention whether it is an original or a copy. On the back it says Baudoin de Bourgogne, who was an illegitimate son of Philippe the Good but Baudoin had already died in 1508 and the painting is of a later date. The catalogue discusses several other possible identities. Let’s go over everything.

The jewel on the hat: it portrays Venus and Armor. Can’t make much of that yet, as it’s a very popular Renaissance motif.

The words on the sheath: “A(v)tre que ou(s) je n’aime”. That is very similar to the motto of Philippe the Good (autre n’aurai).

The ring may mean that the man is a widower.

The key means he was a chamberlain.

The fish on the guard probably means that he had a function as an admiral.

I don’t know yet what the hands mean.

The collar shows the typical Burgundian cross and some sort of flower. The cross is clear, not sure about the other symbol yet.

Now all three suggested identities are interesting.

If he really is Baudoin de Lille, bastard of Burgundy, bastard son of Philip the Good, it means he is the half-brother of Charles who conspired to have Charles killed and when he was caught and defected to Louis XI, accused Charles of “unnatural actions” (ie being gay, a bad crime in those days). Haven’t progressed much with the B’s true preferences, btw.

He could also be Charles of Burgundy, son of Baudoin of Burgundy. A hint could be the similarities between this portrait and the portrait in the Receuil d’Arras:

Another possible identity is Adolphe de Bourgogne who ordered several works from Gossaert. He was an admiral so that would explain the fish. Adolphe is the grandson of Antoine the big bastard, that could explain the likeness between the two. But Adolphe became knight of the Golden Fleece in 1516 and in this portrait he is not wearing the fleece collar. Unless the portrait was painted before that time, which the catalogue contradicts. Another small interesting fact is that Adolphe was married to Anne de Berghes who is one of the many Glymes.

So it’s all connected somehow. Needs further investigation.

The villainy, the pageantry, the power…

Ha ha ha…


Ook een pareltje. Nu nog aan de dvd’s geraken.

Ondertussen ben ik het oor van Karel de Stoute en zijn moeder op diverse schilderijen aan het bestuderen. Er is iets mis mee. Maar wat?

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!


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