III. The Sword in the Stone

Reconquering Burgundy, resurrecting Charles the Bold

[Under Construction…]

The name of the quest is not derived from Arthur’s famous sword, but refers to Durendal, Roland’s magical sword. It is allegedly lodged in the rock of Rocamadour in France (in reality, it’s a replica, for the tourists, I guess). Durendal, however, does not play a major role in the quest but the search needed a name. It’s the third part of a longer quest. Part one and two are completed and ultimately led to three, so they are no longer of importance.

Part III started in the summer of 2018, when I was looking for another medieval portrait to copy. I have been interested in medieval paintings for a long time (allegedly since I was two). I drew a lot, until studies and work interfered, but only started to paint in a systematic way, by taking classes and painting at home in 2016.

To practise I copied/rehashed some portraits by Flemish primitives, mostly by Rogier van der Weyden. My favourite portrait is that of Anthony with the arrow but after some of those and some of Philip the Good I got somewhat tired of the ugly bowl cuts. Browsing through images of paintings I stumbled upon a portrait of Charles the Bold. I’d seen it before, obviously, but never felt the urge to copy it, because of his stern face. However, his curly hair looked a bit more interesting and challenging.

I realised I didn’t know a lot about his life, apart from some random facts and that he wasn’t a nice person (mostly based on the illustration where he throws another tantrum, by Huens in the famous green ‘s Lands Glorie books, lol). So I read his biography on Wikipedia. After that I wanted to know more, so I kept on reading. After almost two years the enigma has only become bigger.

In hindsight, the quest probably had already started before I decided to start on the painting.

Two weeks before we were in France. After visiting the cathedral of Albi, and looking at the huge apocalyptic scene inside, painted in the style of the Flemish primitives, we went on a stroll on a path near the river. There was a sign announcing works, almost hidden by the overgrowth. There was graffiti on it, a bird with the words ‘Gedeon is coming”. I found it very intriguing so I took a picture of it. During my research I found out Gideon is next to Jason the major figure of the Order of the Golden Fleece, and appears in a series of Burgundian tapestries.

A week later we tagged along with some relatives on a day trip to Bruges. We didn’t go into the church where the tombs are or any of the museums but we did enter the Holy Blood chapel and as chance would have it, the blood was out, and the queue not very long.

Many, many, many books, articles, pictures, trips later I have put some order into the chaos and defined a number of quests and side quests I want to undertake. Each quest will get their own page in this menu. When there is a corresponding page, clicking on the quest will link to that page.

1) Main quest: The physical appearance of Charles the Bold.

2) Main quest: The personality of Charles the Bold.

3) Main quest: The friends and companions of Charles the Bold.

4) Main quest: The death of Charles the Bold.

5) Main quest: What happened to Charles the Bold’s corpse after he died in the battle of Nancy?

6) Main quest: An alchemical look at Charles the Bold and his era.

7) Side quest: The role of Anthony the Bastard.

8) Side quest. Jean and the tournament of Valenciennes.

9) Side quest: Reconquering Burgundy.

10) Side quest: The real story of the Golden Fleece?

11) Side quest: What is the real story of the Holy Blood?

12) Side quest: The three Jacques?


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