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Art and cannons

PostPosted: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:34 am
by Galloglaich
Medieval hunting Scene, German or Flemish, circa 1490

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Detail of another hunting scene, by an anonymous 15th Century Dutch or German artist they call "Master of the Housebook" or "Master of the Amsterdam Cabinet". I love this guys work, it's sort of cartoonish but it has a lot of life in it and it's very evocative. A book this guy illustrated called the Castle Wolfegg housebook sold recently for 20 million Euro.

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Another hunting scene by the same guy

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Martyrdom of St. Sebastian by the same guy

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Same guy

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Bunch of guys playing cards with a young woman

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A couple, by the same guy

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Woman cutting a mans hair while dubious characters look on, same guy

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Lecherous old man and a young woman, same guy

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Younger guy is much more popular with the ladies (not a 'creep'!)

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Hans Memling, detail from his altarpiece, depicting the martyrdom of St. Ursula. The arms and armor in this painting are very realistic. The dark glass appearance of the plate armor is characteristic of tempered steel armor, which was the most expensive and best quality available. Armor of this type is really tough, it's actually bullet proof against most modern pistols (using normal ammunition).

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This is the Shrine that scene is painted on (a sort of a little box)

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Hans Memling, Judgement Day. The individual on the left being judged worthy in the Scale is Thomas Portinari, the Medici agent to Bruges who commissioned the painting. Several of the people seen burning in hell are priests who the painter, Memling, personally disliked. he also put some of his friends in there as a joke.

The best thing about this painting is that it was captured by a pirate ship before it could be delivered to Italy. The pirate ship was commanded by a city counselor of Danzig (today Gdansk) named Paul or Pavel Benecke. This triptych still resides in a Church near Gdansk.

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This is supposed to be an accurate scale model of the ship which captured the Memling Triptych, the Peter Von Danzig. it was a 3 masted Carrack or "krak" of 800 tons which had been left in Danzig by a French merchant after being damaged by lightning. It carried a crew of 50 sailors and 300 marines, and carried 18 guns (mostly small anti-personnel guns).

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here is a modern replica of a Carrack

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That ship, the peter Von Danzig, helped win a war against England in which basically two Free Cities, Danzig and L├╝beck, supported by Hamburg and Bremen defeated the English navy and forced England to concede control of part of London, called the Steelyard, which was turned over to German merchants at the end of the war in 1472. They controlled this area until the reign of Queen Elizabeth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Hanseatic_War

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This is a famous painting by Hans Holbein of a young Danzig merchant in the London Kontor, or counting house, of the Hanseatic League.

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This is one of the warehouses in the Steelyard district. The German merchants were also put in charge of one of the main gates of London, the Bishopsgate, and they collected all the tolls there.

Danzig had just finished fighting a war against the Teutonic Order, in which it defeated the Order and became part of Poland, on the condition that they be granted near total autonomy. This autonomy lasted until the partition of Poland in the 18th Century.

This is a panoramic view of the modern city of Gdansk, much of which has been restored to the old 14th and 15th Century architectural standard. The old 14th Century crane can be seen on the right

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This is a closeup of the medieval crane

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and this is the town square featuring the 'Fountain of Neptune' with the 15th Century town hall in the background.

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Girls in a Gdansk nightclub

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The mighty three level castle of the Teutonic Knights at Malbork (aka Marienburg). It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Actors from the re-ennactment of the Battle of Grunwald, held annually at Malbork dressed accurately as Teutonic Knights

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Actors dressed as a Polish King and knights, same event (game of thrones costume designers should take note)

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The two sides duke it out

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This is a modern (19th Century) drawing of the Faule Grete, a powerful 'supergun' used by the Teutonic Order during the war

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The Faule Magd, another cannon from the same period

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Breach-loading cannon from the 15th Century. The thing that looks like a beer mug in the foreground is the removable breach.

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Though common in the late medieval period, breach loading cannon would become much rarer for a couple of hundred years as the metalurgical industry declined.

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Another small breach loading cannon from Portugal, 1569

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A 15th Century 'feldschlange' gun. These were lighter but more accurate weapons.

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Re-enactors firing a replica 15th Century cannon

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Primitive drawing of a volley gun from the Codex Bellifortis (CLM 30150) from 1410

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A multi-barreled ribaldequin gun, also called a 'volley gun' in Hungary. This one was reconstructed centimeter by centimeter from a 16th Century original in a museum. It has 7 barrels which can be fired individually, in series, or all at once. You can watch a video of it being fired here

These volley guns would be mounted on wagons, ships and rafts.

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In one battle in the 14th Century, the Free City of Bruges fielded 300 of these.

You can see a couple of the guns in the lower left of this painting
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Bruges... today

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You can make out the famous Bruges bell tower in the painting and also in the background of this photo.

Re: Art and cannons

PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:29 pm
by Arkon
Galloglaich wrote:Though common in the late medieval period, breach loading cannon would become much rarer for a couple of hundred years as the metalurgical industry declined.

Metalurgical industry declined?

Re: Art and cannons

PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 9:09 pm
by Galloglaich
Yes I think so. As the economies and political epicenter of Europe shifted West to the Atlantic powers, the main centers of the metallurgical industries like Augsburg and Milan and Nuremberg declined a bit, they stopped making large amounts of top quality armor, guns and other goods, and armies were generally no longer equipped with the most sophisticated kit available. Though breach-loading guns were available from the 1450's for example, and the wheel lock from the mid 16th Century, most armies were being equipped with match-locks until the 18th Century.

A lot of cannon made in the 17th Century are actually cruder and more primitive than cannon made in the 16th. They were using iron instead of bronze for example. Swords from the 17th Century are often shit compared to the 15th.


It's not that the technological level actually went down, it's just that the production became less skill based and less sophisticated overall. Armies, too, became largely less skill based, with some notable exceptions like Poland.