Knight, Horse, and Groom Called to the Rescue: Secular Figures in the Goldenes Rossl
Keywords:Charles VI, Gift-Giving, Isabella of Bavaria, Late Middle Ages, Mental Illness, Sculpture.
AbstractThis article explores the significance of the secular figures in the Goldenes Rössl, a resplendent sculpture that Queen Isabella gave to her husband, King Charles VI, in a French court ceremonial in 1405. The sculpture, which was designed primarily to encourage the king’s private religious devotion, includes several components that might have had a bearing on the king’s sense of his own reality. I look at the reasons that account for the work’s unusual combination of secular and religious elements and try to distinguish between those aspects of the sculpture that were meant to encourage devotion and those that represent the queen’s personal motivations. I discuss the import of the secular figures, which add to the traditional meaning of the personal prayer to Mary and Jesus. I first approach the sculpture using a comparative iconographic method, in order to decipher the significance of these secular figures. I then analyze historic sources to elucidate the queen’s uncertain political status within the French court. I also integrate current studies on the king’s mental illness in order to evaluate his condition and to the way he related his wife. I delineate the sculpture as a healing object, alongside the queen’s political and personal motivations for presenting the gift and interpret the layers of significance inherent in the statue’s content and context.
Adams, T. (2009). Notions on Late Medieval Queenship: Christin de Pizan’s Isabeau of Bavaria. In A. J. Cruz & M. Suzuki (Eds.), The Rule of Women in Early Modern Europe (pp. 13-29), Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
---------- (2010). The Life and after Life of Isabeau of Bavaria. Baltimore, Maryland: Johns Hopkins University Press.
---------- (2011). Isabeau de Bavière, le don et la politique de mécénat. Le Moyen Age, 117, 475-486.
Atkinson, J. M. (1986). Schizophrenia at Home: A Guide to Helping the Family. London and Sydney: Croom Helm.
Autrand, F. (1986). Charles VI : la folie du roi. Paris: Fayard.
Baxter, R. (1998). Bestiaries and their Users in Middle Ages. London: Sutton Publishing.
Bourbeois, M. & Haustgent, T. (2003). La folie (maniaco-dépressive) de Charles VI (1368 - 1422). Annales médico-psychologiques, 161, pp. 370-376.
Buettner, B. (2001). Past and Presents: New Year’s Gifts at the Valois Courts. The Art Bulletin, 83(4), 598-625.
Bumke, J. (1991). Courtly Culture: Literature and Society in the High Middle Ages, Trans. Thomas Dunlap. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Oxford: University of California Press.
Christys, A. (2010). The Queen of the Franks offers Gifts to the Caliph al-Muktafi, In W. Davies & P. Fouracre (Eds.), The Languages of Gift in the Early Middle Ages, (pp. 149-170). Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Collas, E. (1911). Valentine de Milan, Duchesse d’Orléans. Paris.
Contamine, P. (1998). The European Nobility, in C. Allmand (Ed.), The Cambridge Medieval History, vol 7 c. 1415–1500 (pp. 89-105).Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Famiglietti, R. C. (1986). Royal Intrigue: Crisis at the Court of Charles VI 1392-1420. New York: AMS Press.
Froissart, J. (1961). The Chronicles of England, France, and Spain, H. P. Dunster’s condensation of the Thomas Johnes translation. New York: E. P. Dutton.
Gibbons, R. (1996) Isabeau of Bavaria, Queen of France (1385-1422): The Creation of an Historical Villainess. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, Sixth Series, 6, 51-73.
Grandeau, Y. (1979). Isabeau de Bavière ou l'amour conjugal, Actes du 102 Congrès National des Sociétés Savantes Limoges 1977: section de philologie et histoire jusqu’à 1610.,I I: Etudes sur la sensibilité au Moyen age. Paris.
Hassig, D. Medieval Bestiaries: Text, Image, Ideology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hedeman, A. D. (1996) Constructing Memories: Scenes of Conversation and Presentation. Journal of the Walters Art Gallery, 54, 119-34.
Henwood, P. (2004). Les Collections du Tresor Royal sous le Regne de Charles VI (1380–1422): L’inventaire de 1400. Paris: Editions du CTHS.
Hirschbiegel, J. (2003). Etrennes: Untersuchung zum höfischen Geschenksverkehr im spätmittelalterlichen Frankreich der Zeit König Karls VI. Munich: Oldenbourg Verlag.
Johnson, G. A. (2002). Tactility, and the Reception of Sculpture in Early Modern Italy. In P. Smith and C. Wilde (eds.), A Companion to Art History (pp. 61-74). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
Johnston, R. & Planansky, K. (1968). Schizophrenia in Men: The Impact on their Wives. Psychiatric Quarterly, 42 (1), 146-155.
Kahsnitz, R. (1995). Kleinod und Andachtsbild: Zum Bildprogramm des Goldenen Rossls, In R. Baumstark & R. Eikelmann (Eds.), Das Goldenes Rossl: Ein Meisterwerk der Pariser Hofkunst um 1400. Munich: Bayerisches Nationalmuseum und Hirmer Verlag.
Komter, A. E. (2005). Social Solidarity and the Gift. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mauss, M. (1990). The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies, translated by W. D. Halls. London: Biddles LTD.
Nash, S. (2008). Northern Renaissance Art. New York: Oxford University Press.
Parsons, J. C. (1998). Family, Sex and Power: The Rhythms of Medieval Queenship. In J. C. Parsons (Ed.). Medieval Queenship. United Kingdom: Sutton Publishing.
Payne, A. (1990). Medieval Beasts. New York: New Amsterdam Books.
Perkinson, S. (2009). Likeness, Loyalty, and Life of the Court Artist: Portraiture in the Calendar Scenes of the Tres Riches Hueres. In R. Duckers & P. Roelofs (Eds.), The Limbourg Brothers: Reflections on the Origins and the Legacy of Three Illuminators from Nijmegen, (pp.51-83). Leiden, Boston: Brill.
Pintoin, M. (1841). Chronique de Religieux de Saint Denys, L. Bellaguet (trans. and ed.). Paris.
Perroy, E. (1965). The Hundred Years War, translated by W. B. Wells. New York.
Stratford, J. (2000). The Goldenes Rössl and the French Royal Collections. In E. M. Tyler (Ed.), Treasure in the Medieval West. (pp. 109-133). Woodbridge, Suffolk: York Medieval Press.
Swanson, R. N. (1995). Religion and Devotion in Europe, c. 1215–c. 1515. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tailor, C. (2006). The Salic Law, French Queenship and the Defence of Women in the Late Middle Ages. French Historical Studies, 29 (4), 543-564.
Tuchman, B. (1979). A Distant Mirror: The fourteenth Century. New York: Ballantine Books.
Veenstra, J. R. (1997). Magic and Divination at the Courts of Burgundy and France. Leiden, New York, Köln: Brill.
Verdon, J. (1981). Isabeau de Baviere. Paris: Tallandier.
Wang, A. (1975). Der ‘Miles Christianus” im 16. Und 17. Jahrhundert und seine mittelalterliche Tradition. Frankfurt/Bern: Lang.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).