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 - The evolution of the story of the Journey & the Adoration of the Magi in early art

Stefano Di Giovanni Sassetta (Italian artist, 1394-1450) Journey of the Magi 1435

Western paintings of the Journey & the Adoration of the Magi usually depict 3 Magi, represented as kings, traveling to find the newborn Jesus by following a star; laying before him gifts of gold, frankincense, & myrrh; & lingering to worship him.  Nowhere is the number of magi given in the Bible.
Stefano Di Giovanni Sassetta (Italian artist, 1394-1450) Adoration of the Magi c 1435

In Western Christianity, the arrival of the Magi at the site of Jesus' birth is called the Feast of the Epiphany, celebrated on January 6. The Orthodox Church commemorates the Adoration of the Magi on the Feast of the Nativity on December 25. Christian iconography has considerably expanded the simple biblical account of the Magi given in Matthew (2:1-11). The early church used the story to emphasize that Jesus was recognized, from his infancy, as king of the earth.
 Correggio (Antonio Allegri) (Italian painter, c 1489-1534) Adoration of the Christ Child by the Magi-1517

In the earliest depictions, the exotic Magi are shown wearing Persian dress of trousers & Phrygian caps with gifts held out before them. They echo centuries-older images of tribute-bearers from various Mediterranean & ancient Near Eastern cultures.
Domenico Ghirlandaio (Italian artist, 1449–1494) The Adoration of the Magi

The earliest specific Magi images are from catacomb paintings & sarcophagus reliefs of the 4C. Crowns are first seen in 10C depictions, mostly in the West, where their dress had lost much of its Oriental flavor in most cases.
  Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770) Adoration of the Kings

Later Byzantine images often show the Magi wearing small pill-box like hats or skull caps. The Magi were usually shown as about the same age until about this period, but then the idea of depicting the concept of 3 ages of man was introduced into the iconography.
 Giovanni di Paolo (Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia) (Italian, Siena 1398–1482 Siena) Adoration of the Magi

Occasionally from the 12C, & very often in Northern Europe from the 15C, the Magi are also represent the 3 known parts of the world. Balthasar is often cast as a young African or Moor. An older Caspar is often portrayed with Asian features or dress. Melchior often comes to represent Europe & middle age.
Rogier van der Weyden (Flemish painter, 1400-1464) Adoration of the Magi

From the 14C, large retinues are depicted accompanying the Magi. Their gifts often are contained in spectacular pieces of goldsmith work, & the Magi's clothes are more detailed. By the 15C, the Adoration of the Magi is often a complex exercise for the artist showing his ability to paint crowded scenes of people & animals, as well as the rich silks, furs, jewels, & precious gold of the Kings contrasting with the simple wood of the stable, the straw of Jesus's manger, & the simple, utilitarian clothing of Joseph & the shepherds. The animals depicted often include the ox & ass from the Nativity story & also horses, camels, dogs, & falcons of the kings & sometimes even birds in the rafters of the stable.
 Stefan Lochner (German artist, 1400-1451) Adoration of the Magi 1440s

 Unknown Master, German (active 1470-80 in Mainfranken) Adoration of the Magi
 Unknown Master, German (active in 1420s in the Middle Rhineland).The Adoration of the Magi
 Unknown Master, Spanish (second half of 15th century) Adoration of the Magi
 1514 Workshop of Gerard David (Netherlandish, ca. 1460–1523), Adoration of the Magi
 1470s Hieronymus Bosch. Hieronymus, or Jerome, Bosch, (c 1450-1516) Adoration of the Magi
 Francesco Bassano the Younger (1563-1570) Adoration of Magi
 Paolo Uccello born Paolo di Dono as (Italian artist, from 1397 to 1475) Adoration of the Kings
Paolo Uccello born Paolo di Dono as (Italian artist, from 1397 to 1475) The Adoration of the Magi
Paolo Uccello born Paolo di Dono as (Italian artist, from 1397 to 1475) Detail Adoration of the Magi (Quarate predella)