Thursday, January 31, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1660 Pierre Mignard (French artist, 1612-1695) Madame Lagley as Minerva with a Garden in the Background

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1661 Caspar Netscher [Dutch painter, c 1635-1684] Henriette Anne d'Orleans as Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1662 Peter Lely (English artist, 1618-1680) Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland as Goddess Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Monday, January 28, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1663  Pieter Nason (Dutch artist, c 1612-1688-90) Portrait of a woman in Minerva's dress Christina of Sweden as Bradamante

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1664 Simon Renard de Saint-André (French artist, 1613–1677) Anne of Austria with Queen Marie Therese as Goddess Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

7C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1670 Johann Hulsmann (1600-1660) Liselotte of the Palantinate as Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Friday, January 25, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1670 Unknown artist. Portrait of Henriette Adelaide of Savoy (Electress of Bavaria) in armor as Goddess Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1670-90 Pierre Mignard (1612–1695) Portrait of Olympia Mancini (1638-1708), comtess of Soissons depicted as Athena or Goddess Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1670s Pierre Mignard (1612–1695)  Portrait of Mue Mertain as Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1670s Style of John Michael Wright (British artist, 1617-1694) Elizabeth Washington (c.1655–1693), Lady Ferrers, as Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Monday, January 21, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1675 Henri Gascard (French artist, c 1635-1701) Frances Teresa Stewart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox (1647-1702) as Goddess Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1679 Joseph Wright (English artist) Frances Teresa Stewart, Duchess of Richmond and Lennox (1647-1702) as Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

A small Roman shrine to Minerva stands in Handbridge, Chester. It sits in a public park, overlooking the River Dee.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1690s Jan Frans van Douven (Dutch artist, 1656-1727) Anna Maria Luisa de' Medici (1667–1743)

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Friday, January 18, 2019

18C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

Jean-Baptiste Santerre (French artist, 1658-1717) Philippe II d'Orleans 1674-1723 the Regent of France and Madame de Parabere as Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

18C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1725 Unknown Polish artist,  Portrait of Elżbieta Sieniawska née Lubomirska as Minerva.

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

18C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1732 Jean-Marc Nattier (French artist, 1685-1766) Mademoiselle de Lambesc As Minerva, Arming Her Brother The Comte de Brionne

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1600s Simon Vouet (French artist, 1590-1649) Anna of Austria as Minerva with Minerva's symbol of the owl at her feet.

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

A statue of Minerva is displayed by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Monday, January 14, 2019

18C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1735 Antoine Pesne 1683-1757 Jean-Philippe Baratier (1721-40) Presented to Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady were sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Today Minerva is the patron goddess of the Theta Delta Chi and Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternities, the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, and the Kappa Kappa Gamma and Delta Sigma Theta sororities.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

16C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1555 Jean de Court (French enamel painter) Margaret Queen Of Navarre as Minerva - Limoges

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Today Minerva alongside Mars is displayed on the cap badge of the Artists Rifles Territorial SAS Regiment of the British Army.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1640 Margaret Yolande of Savoy, Duchess of Parma as Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints. These came to be called donor portraits. Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting. These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period. Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant. From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Today Minerva is displayed on the Medal of Honor, the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government.

Friday, January 11, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1640 Charles Dauphin (French artist, c 1620-1677) Marie Christine de France as Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

In the early 20C, Manuel José Estrada Cabrera, President of Guatemala, tried to promote a "Worship of Minerva" in his country; this left little legacy other than a few interesting Hellenic style "Temples" in parks around Guatemala.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

17C Gentlewomen as the Goddess Minerva of War, the Arts, & Wisdom

1620s Paulus Moreelse (Dutch artist, 1571-1638) Unidentified Lady as Minerva

Early artists painted their contemporaries somewhat like allegories, & often painters would put the faces of their patrons or sponsors on the bodies of the saints.  These came to be called donor portraits.  Allegorical portraits remained popular; and as time passed, they expanded to show the sitter as a Greek goddess, or muse, or nymph in in a rustic setting.  These allegories grew to include strong portraits of Minerva wearing idealized attire, nothing like the clothing worn by real women of the period.  Dressing scantily or provocatively would have been frowned upon if a proper lady was sitting for a portrait in contemporary clothing, but if she were posing as an ancient goddess or muse, a little skin was perfectly acceptable.

Minerva was the Roman goddess of wisdom & sponsor of arts, trade, & war. She was born of Jupiter with weapons. She was fierce, and she was brilliant.  From the 2nd century BC onwards, the Romans equated her with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of music, poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, & magic.

Today the Great Seal of the State of California which was adopted at the California state Constitutional Convention of 1849, shows the Roman goddess Minerva (Athena in Greek mythology), the goddess of wisdom & war, because she was born an adult & California was never a territory.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Harley 2877 f. 62v British Library

Monday, January 7, 2019

Story of the Flight into Egypt + Illuminated Manuscripts

Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Donkey

The flight into Egypt is related in the Christian Bible in the Gospel of Matthew (Matthew 2:13-23). Joseph fled to Egypt with his wife Mary & infant son Jesus after a visit by Magi; when they learned that King Herod intended to kill the infants of that area. When the Magi traveled search of the newly born Jesus, they had visited Herod in Jerusalem to ask where to find the newborn "King of the Jews." Herod reportedly became worried that the child would threaten his throne. Herod decided that he needed to kill the newborn Jesus, (Matthew 2:1-8). Herod ordered the death of all infant males (Matthew 2:16-18).
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Book of Hours

An angel warned Joseph to take Jesus & his mother into Egypt (Matthew 2:13). “‘Get up, take the child & his mother, & flee to Egypt, & remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child & his mother by night, & went to Egypt, & remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet (Hosea 11:1), ‘Out of Egypt I have called my son’” (Matthew 2:13-15). Egypt was outside the rule of King Herod. Egypt & Palestine were part of the Roman Empire, linked by a coastal road known as "the way of the sea", making travel between them easy & relatively safe. Church scholars & historians speculate, that the Holy Family spent a period of about four years in Egypt. After the death of King Herod, Joseph returned to Nazareth with Mary & Jesus (Luke 2:39 & Matthew 2:19-23).
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Bibliothèque Stanislas MS 305

We are not told by Matthew exactly how long the Holy Family remained in Egypt, nor are we given any geographic information about their journey. The Nile River is not mentioned by Matthew. Although the expanded tradition is largely based on written accounts, physical sites that have been popularly associated with the Holy Family also play an important role in supplying further details. Sites made sacred because they are believed to have been touched by the Holy Family often feature unusual physical features. Some of these include miraculous hand or foot prints of the Christ child, unusually shaped trees thought to have sheltered the Virgin, or healing springs where the family quenched their thirst.
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt 1400s HM 1163 Book of Hours of Paris manuscript at Huntington Library at Berkeley online at Digital Scriptorium.

These sacred sites are scattered across the Nile Delta, & are found along the Nile as far south as Asyut. Churches or monastic settlements mark most sites associated with the Holy Family in Egypt. The rich heritage of Coptic paintings, in particular icons & murals, is also an integral part of the network of belief & ritual practice shaped by the Coptic tradition of the Holy Family's journey in Egypt. The Coptic pictorial tradition is very conservative in nature. The iconographic image of the Flight has remained largely unchanged for the last 1500 years. It usually shows the Virgin holding the infant Christ, riding a donkey, & Joseph on foot.
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt

In addition to the few depictions of the Flight that have survived from this long period, a much wider range of sacred images that do not at first appear to be closely tied to the journey of the Holy Family should actually be understood to be making a reference to their stay in Egypt. Just about any Coptic depiction of the Virgin & the Christ Child can be seen as having points of connection with the Holy Family's trip, & with the transformation of Egypt into a 2nd holy land.
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France Latin1156a

The Holy Family, according to Coptic traditions, seems to have spent most of their time traveling. Sometimes they are depicted in a boat on the Nile, but more often the Virgin & Jesus ride a donkey. It is possible to chart the Holy Family's journey through Egypt by combining written sources with sacred geographical sites. The Coptic Church divides stages of the Holy Family's journey into 4 geographic groups, consisting of the coastal road linking Palestine to Egypt, the Nile Delta, the vicinity of greater Cairo & the Nile Valley.
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Francoise Brinnon Book of Hours

During their travels, written Coptic accounts indicate that they received charity from pious strangers, but often they were without shelter, food or water. Most of the sites associated with the Flight of the Holy Family reflect some tribulation overcome by the Holy Family. For example, walking in the heat of the day, they find shade under a tree, which is blessed. When they are hungry, a palm tree bows down, offering its dates. Their thirst is quenched by local wells, or in more dire circumstances, by springs brought forth by the infant Jesus. When chased by thieves, a tree opens up to hide them. If there is no room in an inn, they sleep in a conveniently located nearby cave.
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France Latin1370

After each encounter, the tree, well, spring, or cave was thereafter endowed with miraculous healing power. In time, each became a place of pilgrimage that was marked by a church, monastery or convent, typically dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Hence, the Copts have a long tradition of venerating the Virgin (al-'Adhra). Indeed, such churches are found throughout Egypt. Though most are not actually associated with the Flight, their sheer number indicates the central position held by Mary in the devotion of the Copts. Six of the 15 largest Christian mulids (pilgrimage festivals) in Egypt are dedicated to the Virgin, & all but one are held at Holy Family sites.
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt (BL Yates Thompson 13 f. 95v)

Today, in Egypt are many of the world's oldest Christian Churches, not to mention the very foundations of monastic orders. Its traditions related to the Christian religion are deep & fundamental, expanding forward from the Flight to the early days of persecution, the legalization of Christianity, & it is central to the internal strife that eventually broke the religion into various segments.
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Paris Bibliothèque nationale de France Latin1171

A French tradition states that Saint Aphrodisius, an Egyptian saint who was venerated as the first bishop of Béziers, was the man who sheltered the Holy Family when they fled into Egypt. It is also held that the Holy family visited many areas in Egypt including Farama, Tel Basta, Wadi El Natrun, Samanoud, Bilbais, Samalout, Maadi, Al-Maṭariyyah & Asiut among others. It is also tradition that the Holy Family visited Coptic Cairo & stayed at the site of Saints Sergius & Bacchus Church (Abu Serga) & the place where the Church of the Holy Virgin (Babylon El-Darag) stands now. At Al-Maṭariyyah, then in Heliopolis & now part of Cairo, there is a sycamore tree (& adjacent chapel) that is a 1672 planting replacing an earlier tree under which Mary was said to have rested, or in some versions hidden from pursuers in the hollow truck, while pious spiders covered the entrance with dense webs.
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Egerton 2781 f. 14 British Library

The word Copt is derived from the Greek word Aigyptos, which was, in turn, derived from "Hikaptah", one of the names for Memphis, the first capital of Ancient Egypt. The modern use of the term "Coptic" describes Egyptian Christians, as well as the last stage of the ancient Egyptian language script. Also, it describes the distinctive art & architecture that developed as an early expression of the new faith.
Illuminated Manuscript, Gondarine sensul, Flight into Egypt, Walters Manuscript 36.10, fol. 3v

The Coptic Church is based on the teachings of Saint Mark who brought Christianity to Egypt during the reign of the Roman emperor Nero in the first century, a dozen of years after the Lord's ascension. He was one of the 4 evangelists & the one who wrote the oldest canonical gospel. Christianity spread throughout Egypt within half a century of Saint Mark's arrival in Alexandria as is clear from the New Testament writings found in Bahnasa, in Middle Egypt, which date around the year 200 A.D., & a fragment of the Gospel of Saint John, written using the Coptic language, which was found in Upper Egypt & can be dated to the first half of the 2nd century. The Coptic Church, which is now more than 1900 centuries old, was the subject of many prophecies in the Old Testament. Isaiah the prophet, in Chapter 19, Verse 19 says "In that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the midst of the land of Egypt, & a pillar to the LORD at its border."
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Paris BA 640

Although fully integrated into the body of the modern Egyptian nation, the Copts have survived as a strong religious entity who pride themselves on their contribution to the Christian world. The Coptic church regards itself as a strong defendant of Christian faith. The Nicene Creed, which is recited in all churches throughout the world, has been authored by one of its favorite sons, Saint Athanasius, the Pope of Alexandria for 46 years, from 327 A.D. to 373 A.D.
Illuminated Manuscript The Flight into Egypt Harley 2979 f54 British Library

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Epiphany - Procession of Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter, c 1421–1497)

Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter, c 1421–1497) Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Young, Detail of the Young King on wall of Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62

In Christianity, Epiphany refers to the moment that a person believes that Jesus is the son of God.  To symbolize this, Western Christian churches generally celebrate Epiphany as the arrival of the 3 kings at the birthplace of Jesus (The Adoration of the Magi) 12 days after Christmas. Traditionally, Eastern Christian churches celebrated Epiphany (or Theophany) in conjunction with Christ's baptism by John the Baptist on January 19th.  Some Protestant churches celebrate Epiphany as an entire religious season, extending from Christmas Day until Ash Wednesday.

Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Scenes from the Procession of the Magi,  Detail of the Middle King on South wall of Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Scenes from the Procession of the Magi, Detail of the  Old King on west wall of the Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Detail from the Procession of the Young King, Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497)  Detail from the Procession of the Middle King, Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Detail from the Procession of the Youngest King, Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62


Benozzo Gozzoli (Italian early Renaissance painter,  c 1421–1497) Scenes from the Procession of the Magi Chapel, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence 1459-62

Epiphany - The Kings finding the Christ Child

The Adoration Anonimo Siglo XIV-XV

January 5th & 6th - England's wildly popular cakes & a few naughty boys

Twelfth Night in London streets” from The Book of Christmas illustrated by Robert Seymour 1836

By the early 19C, the Twelfth Night cake had evolved into a large & complicated display of cake, icing, & other embellishments. Bakeries displayed these models of the confectioner's art in their windows, & people gathered outside to admire them. The playful atmosphere of Twelfth Night may have encouraged schoolboys to carry out a Twelfth Night prank. Unnoticed among the throng of cake-admirers, they pinned the clothing of two adults together or nailed a gentleman's coat-tails to the windowsill. Then they stood back & enjoyed the confusion that arose when the pinned & nailed individuals attempted to leave the bakery window. 
George Cruikshanks Comic Almanac Exitement outside the pastry cook & confectioners shop window as people view the 12th night cakes

The tradition of cakes on Twelfth Night was so strong, that it became the busiest day of the year for bakers, as related in this 1827 extract from William Hone's Every-Day Book,
"In London, with every pastry-cook in the city, and at the west end of the town, it is 'high change' on Twelfth-Day.  From the taking down of the shutters in the morning, he, and his men, with additional assistants, male and female, are fully occupied by attending to the dressing out of the window, executing orders of the day before, receiving fresh ones, or supplying the wants of chance customers.  Before dusk the important arrangement of the window is completed.  Then the gas is turned on, with supernumerary argand-lamps and manifold wax lights to illuminate countless cakes of all prices and dimensions, that stand in rows and piles on the counters and sideboards, and in the windows.  The richest in flavour and the heaviest in weight and price are placed on large....salvers; ..... all are decorated with all imaginable images of things animate and inanimate.  Stars, castles, kings, cottages, dragons, trees, fish, palaces, cats, dogs, churches, lions, milkmaids, knights, serpents, and innumerable other forms, in snow-white confectionary, painted with varigated colours, glittering by 'excess of light' reflected from mirrors against the walls."
The Every-day Book, 1827, Naughty Boys

Saturday, January 5, 2019

January 5th & 6th - Celebrations in 1835-6 London

Twelfth Night from The Book of Christmas illustrated by Robert Seymour 1836

In 1835, Leigh Hunt published an account of Twelfth Nights past in his London Journal.
Christmas Goes out in Fine Style:  "Christmas goes out in fine style,—with Twelfth Night. It is a finish worthy of the time. Christmas Day was the morning of the season; New Year’s Day the middle of it, or noon ; Twelfth Night is the night, brilliant with innumerable planets of twelfth cakes. The whole island keeps court; nay, all Christendom. All the world are kings & queens. Everybody is somebody else, & learns at once to laugh at, & to tolerate, characters different from his own, by enacting them. Cakes, characters, forfeits, lights, theatres, merry rooms, little holiday faces, & last not least, the painted sugar on the cakes, so bad to eat but so fine to look at, useful because it is perfectly useless except for a sight & a moral,—all conspire to throw a giddy splendor over the last night of the season, & to send it to bed in pomp & colors, like a Prince.

"Twelfth-cake & its king & queen are in honor of the crowned heads who are said to have brought presents to Jesus in his cradle—a piece of royal service not necessary to be believed in by good Christians, though very proper to be maintained among the gratuitous decorations with which good & poetical hearts willingly garnish their faith. “The Magi, or Wise Men, are vulgarly called the three kings of Collen (Cologne). The first, named Melchior, an aged man with a long beard, offered gold; the second, Jasper, a beardless youth, offered frankincense; the third, Balthaser, a black or moor, with a large spreading beard, offered myrrh.” This picture is full of color, & has often been painted. The word Epiphany (Eirifaitiat, ivperapparllio, an appearance from above), alludes to the star which is described in the Bible as guiding the Wise Men. In Italy, the word has been corrupted into Beffania, or Beffana, (as in England it used to be called Piffany) ; & Beffana, in some parts of that country, has come to mean an old fairy, or Mother Bunch, whose figure is carried about the streets, & who rewards or punishes children at night by pulting sweetmeats, or stones & dirt, into a stocking hung up for the purpose near the bed’s head. The word Beffa, taken from this, familiarly means a trick or mockery put upon anyone — to such base uses may come the most splendid terms. Twelfth Day, like the other old festivals of the church of old, has had a link of connection found for it with Pagan customs, & has been traced to the Saturnalia of the ancients, when people drew lots for imaginary kingdoms. Its observation is still kept up, with more or less ceremony, all over Christendom. In Paris, they enjoy it with their usual vivacity. The king there is chosen, not by drawing a paper as with us, but by the lot of a bean which falls to him, & which is put into the cake; & great ceremony is observed when the king or the queen ” drinks;” which once gave rise to a jest, that occasioned the damnation of a play of Voltaire’s. The play was performed at this season, & a queen in it having to die by poison, a wag exclaimed with Twelfth Night solemnity, when her Majesty was about to take it, “The queen drinks.” The joke was infectious; & the play died, as well as the poor queen.

"Many a pleasant Twelfth-Night have we passed in our time; & such future Twelfth-Nights as may remain to us shall be pleasant, God & good-will permitting; for even if care should be round about them, we have no notion of missing these mountaintops of rest & brightness, on which people may refresh themselves during the stormiest parts of life’s voyage.

"We spent a Twelfth Night once, which, by common consent of the parties concerned, was afterwards known by the name of The Twelfth Night. It was doubted among us, not merely whether ourselves, but whether anybody else, ever had such a Twelfth Night;

"The evening began with such tea as is worth mention, for we never knew anybody make it like the maker. Dr Johnson would have given it his placidest growl of approbation. Then, with piano-forte, violin, & violoncello, came Handel, Corelli, & Mozart. Then followed the drawing for king & queen, in order that the “small infantry” might have their due share of the night, without sitting up too too-late (for a reasonable “too-late” is to be allowed once & away). Then games, of all the received kinds, forgetting no branch of Christmas customs. And very good extempore blank verse was spoken by some of the court {for our characters imitated a court), not unworthy of the wit & dignity of Tom Thumb. Then, came supper, & all characters were soon forgotten but the feaster’s own; good & lively souls, & festive all, both male & female,—with a constellation of the brightest eyes that we bad ever seen met together…

"The bright eyes, the beauty, the good humor, the wine, the wit, the poetry (for we had celebrated wits & poet’s among us, as well as charming women), fused all hearts together in one unceasing round of fancy & laughter, till breakfast,—to which we adjourned in a room full of books, the authors of which might almost have been waked up & embodied, to come among us. Here, with the bright eyes literally as bright as ever at six o’clock in the morning (we all remarked it), we merged one glorious day into another, as a good omen (for its was also fine weather, though in January) ; & as luck & our good faith would have it, the door was no sooner opened_ to let forth the ever-joyous visitors, than the trumpets of a regiment quartered in the neighborhood struck up into the morning air, seeming to blow forth triumphant approbation, & as if they sounded purely to do us honor, & to say ” You are as early & untired as we.”