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Old 19th February 2021, 02:31 PM   #1
bvieira
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Default looking for these 500 years old swords

Hi,

I'am investigating the possible existence of four 500 years old swords! if they survived the battle of time they may still be out there in some museum or colection! They appear in a paiting and they have the right amount of details to be identified, each one is unique and has unique details! so if somebody see any candidate post the information here!

TKS!

BV
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Old 19th February 2021, 03:05 PM   #2
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These are said to actually being regarded as faithful examples of our period swords; the wealthy owners adorned versions, of course . I don't think these painted examples were 'portraits' of specific swords, but result of the artists visual experience.
Master Nuno Gonçalves did a unique work; that is a fact.
Some times we discuss these in the forum, like in HERE ...AND HERE.
I saw these huge panels in the National Museum of Antique Art. It is a breathless experience.


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Old 19th February 2021, 03:10 PM   #3
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In the Museo Nationale die Roma "Castel Sant' Angelo"you can find this sword
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Old 19th February 2021, 04:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
These are said to actually being regarded as faithful examples of our period swords; the wealthy owners adorned versions, of course . I don't think these painted examples were 'portraits' of specific swords, but result of the artists visual experience.
Master Nuno Gonçalves did a unique work; that is a fact.
Some times we discuss these in the forum, like in HERE ...AND HERE.
I saw these huge panels in the National Museum of Antique Art. It is a breathless experience.


.

I have hope that is not the case! there are important and technical aspects in the swords, i dont think a artist were able to recriate by himself!
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Old 19th February 2021, 04:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
In the Museo Nationale die Roma "Castel Sant' Angelo"you can find this sword
Tks, not exact match but certain a one to look for!

keep it coming!! hehe
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Old 19th February 2021, 05:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvieira
... i dont think a artist were able to recriate by himself...
You would be surprised at what artists can do, Bruno .

(Gregorio Lopes, XVI century).


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Old 19th February 2021, 06:02 PM   #7
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An accurate two handed sword, by same Gregorio Lopes.


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Old 19th February 2021, 07:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvieira
I have hope that is not the case! there are important and technical aspects in the swords, i dont think a artist were able to recriate by himself!

I would be inclined to agree with you on this, but it is not the case of inability to recreate details of certain personal weapons in portraiture of those times, but the insistence of the artist to be faithful to detail. Just as he was notably faithful to the likeness of the subject, so too were they to their weapon, as these were very personal and often represented key preference and sometimes even tradition or symbolism (note the motif in the pommels).
Note the indelibly detailed weapons, even of other periods, included in the 'historic or period' paintings by various artists faithfully recreated. As Fernando well notes, there are many examples of this, with Durer and Rembrandt instantly coming to mind.

The late AVB Norman chose to more accurately establish categoric identification for European hilts of these times based on their inclusion in portraits of certain persons of the time. He chose this venue as the portrait was typically of the detail mentioned and quite personal. The subject would of course approve the painting they had commissioned and I cannot imagine they would find the addition of a spurious weapon acceptable. Obviously the life spans of the subject and artist set the date range of the work, and of course the weapon.

The exception would be, portraits or images of someone from earlier time being painted in tribute. As far as I know, the works consulted by Norman typically were not in this character, though he does mention a number of 'historic' paintings. In this case, the artist would indeed presume placing the weapons of the current period most likely.
One more note on 'tribute' portraiture, these would quite likely be commissioned by relatives or heirs, or perhaps organizations or groups to which they were associated. In this case there is the possibility, however tenuous, that a weapon that had belonged to the passed figure might be available.

Please forgive my long dissertation here, but this is a fascinating topic which I studied in degree some years ago, in fact even had wonderful contact with Mr. Norman, who graciously shared his views in our discussion. It has been a very long time since on the topic, and I truly hope we might find one or all of these depicted swords somewhere.

Excellent topic!!! Thank you Bruno!!!
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Old 19th February 2021, 09:25 PM   #9
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This iconographic and enigmatic work has been subject, now during a century, to a number of different interpretations, some with rather opposite assumptions. In reality only one personality is unanimously identified in the panels, Henri the Navigator; and even that is not 100% granted for some. Without even trying to dissect the purpose and realism of all 58 figures depicted, we may view this work as a gathering of the Royal Portuguese court and representatives of the various social sectors of the XV century; in one perspective to evoke important triumphs in the expansion of North Africa by the dinasty of Aviz (1385-1580). I would take it as highly improbable that, portraying the presence of so many persons, is obviously only possible in the author's imagination; not to mention that some had already died by the date this work was done, another of the existing discussions.
This to say that i don't see the faintest possibility that the author had at his disposal real swords and lances to pose for his work; as well as the whole attire with which he portraied all those people, like dresses, metals, jewelery and all.
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Old 20th February 2021, 12:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
This iconographic and enigmatic work has been subject, now during a century, to a number of different interpretations, some with rather opposite assumptions. In reality only one personality is unanimously identified in the panels, Henri the Navigator; and even that is not 100% granted for some. Without even trying to dissect the purpose and realism of all 58 figures depicted, we may view this work as a gathering of the Royal Portuguese court and representatives of the various social sectors of the XV century; in one perspective to evoke important triumphs in the expansion of North Africa by the dinasty of Aviz (1385-1580). I would take it as highly improbable that, portraying the presence of so many persons, is obviously only possible in the author's imagination; not to mention that some had already died by the date this work was done, another of the existing discussions.
This to say that i don't see the faintest possibility that the author had at his disposal real swords and lances to pose for his work; as well as the whole attire with which he portraied all those people, like dresses, metals, jewelery and all.
No Fernando! even Henry the navigator is subject to diferent interpretations! the figure we know as henry can be in fact is brother and not him! A figure of him that exists in Jeronimos Monastery, and it is very diferent, at least 3 investigators/writers have conclude the figure we know as him is not real! the last one writing about this is Manuel Gandra, i think he as a video with this issue in youtube.

These paitings are envolved in strange facts, have you seen any order of christ cross in the painting ? how can a meeting envolving navigators do not have any kind of item related to the most important order ? i have seen many flaws in ours history books! so many!

But the swords are very detailed, the only other portuguese painting (https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...es_s.paulo.jpg) that i know with similar details is the one that is suposed to be of the same painter.
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Old 20th February 2021, 02:21 AM   #11
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All very interesting. If I may interrupt the discussion, in the original post the question concerning four swords is asked. I seem to have missed something, what art work are these from? At least for my own research I would like to know myself and look further on details of the painting (s)? that might suggest the identities of the subjects.
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Old 20th February 2021, 11:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McDougall
... At least for my own research I would like to know myself and look further on details of the painting (s)? that might suggest the identities of the subjects.
Jim, as already 'lightly' approached, this renaissance huge polyptych (six yards wide) comprises a set of six panels attributed to Nuno Gonçalves, painter and Knight of the royal house of King Dom Afonso V.
Rediscovered in 1883, only after having been restored in 1910, was exhibited to the public. It was then that the (double) central figure in the panels was identified and related with the old altarpiece of the Saint Vincent chapel in the Lisbon head cathedral, a work dated circa 1470.
Saint Vincent (IV century), here dressed with the outfit of a deacon, is profoundly connected with the history of the nation; became patron of the discoveries and also of Lisbon. His tumb was restored circa 1470, which appoints for the panels to be made for such altar.
As for the purpose and identification of the 58+2 persons in the work, there are no less than fourty (educated) interpretations; and still none was so far elected as the exact one.
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Old 20th February 2021, 12:41 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvieira
... No Fernando! even Henry the navigator is subject to diferent interpretations!...
As i suggested in my previous post, Bruno;
" In reality only one personality is unanimously identified in the panels, Henri the Navigator; and even that is not 100% granted for some "
I thought i would not further expand in the two hypothesis (Zurara versus Markl) as not to be boring for the audience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bvieira
... i have seen many flaws in ours history books! so many!...
I guess as many as in the history of any other nation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bvieira
...But the swords are very detailed, the only other portuguese painting that i know with similar details is the one that is suposed to be of the same painter.
You are referring to Saint Paul, a masterpiece which i had the previlege to be pictured watching; as i recall hanging in the wall behind the São Vicente panels, in the National Museum of Antique Art. In this case its authorship has not been strictly determined; reason why the museum defines it as being a work of Poruguese school "in the style" of Nuno Gonçalves. In this one the sword hilt is depicted with a more plain look, although followig the same parameters.
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Old 20th February 2021, 03:42 PM   #14
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Thank you Fernando.
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Old 20th February 2021, 04:36 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
In the Museo Nationale die Roma "Castel Sant' Angelo"you can find this sword
As i see, Udo, a style of sword used both in the Peninsula as also in Italy, in the second half XV century. In those days sword styles had much in common among such nations, namely by navigators.
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Old 20th February 2021, 06:04 PM   #16
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Amazing Bruno; the discussion based in a few swords, looking well, this work comprises quite an arsenal of weapons.


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Old 21st February 2021, 03:11 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Amazing Bruno; the discussion based in a few swords, looking well, this work comprises quite an arsenal of weapons.


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yes indeed! many weapons but not a order of christ symbol anywhere! including the grand master, Henry the navigator.

Something very wrong at this all picture!
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Old 21st February 2021, 04:14 AM   #18
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? Why does the Longbowman have two arrows sticking out of his shoulder? I also see he has the arrow on the right side of the bow which is condusive for speed shooting a clutch of arrows held in the left hand near the point or right hand, near the knock between the fingers.

And I notice The St.Paul guy in red with the gold pie rack behind his head has somehow lost the point on his sword.

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Old 21st February 2021, 12:30 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
... Why does the Longbowman have two arrows sticking out of his shoulder? I also see he has the arrow on the right side of the bow which is condusive for speed shooting a clutch of arrows held in the left hand near the point or right hand, near the knock between the fingers...
Maybe he has his own style to hang the the quiver; like on his right chest . I would forget all those technicalities if it were possible to ask the guy to turn around and show us the whole scene .

Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
... I notice The St.Paul guy in red with the gold pie rack behind his head has somehow lost the point on his sword.
Maybe it was shortened to fit in the one available picture frame the author had at hand . Anyway there was no need for a pointy sword, as the one which he was decapitated (thus the symbol) was probably not a thrusting but a slashing sword.
This reminds me the (plausible) story in that the sword of the great Condestável Dom Nuno Alvares Pereira had its point shortened to fit into the niche where it was originally exhibited, in the convent he later lived and died.


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Old 21st February 2021, 12:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
? Why does the Longbowman have two arrows sticking out of his shoulder? I also see he has the arrow on the right side of the bow which is condusive for speed shooting a clutch of arrows held in the left hand near the point or right hand, near the knock between the fingers.

And I notice The St.Paul guy in red with the gold pie rack behind his head has somehow lost the point on his sword.
He has two arrows held in his right hand, which has drawn the bow back to his shoulder. It's a speed shooting technique that I have used myself.
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Old 21st February 2021, 03:00 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvieira
... yes indeed! many weapons but not a order of christ symbol anywhere! including the grand master, Henry the navigator ...
If a later theory appointed for the panels to represent the symbolic (in absency) Christian funeral of the Infant Dom Fernando, who died captive in Fez in 1443, this would then re-date of panels from 1470 to 1445; a date found signed by Nuno Gonçalves, in an inscription painted in inverted position in the ankle boot of the young adolescent (Infant) in the third panel; as per a paleographic reading done by the National archives in 2002. This new date of the panels situates the persions portrayed more in consensus with the whole family of King Dom João I, as a central motif to be depicted by the artist. I would skip over the identity of all present, except for how and where Henry (the navigator) is present. The theory that it is not the man with the burgundian chaperon is one like any other. The assumption that the bust depicted in the forntispiece of Gomes de Zurara's chronicle, kept in the library of Paris, is that of his brother, falls in contradiction with such codice cover also depicting Dom Henrique's famous motto; TALANT DE BIEN FAIRE.
As for the Order of Christ symbol not being present in the panels, i would rather wonder, not why it is not there, but why it should. Firstly, we know that Dom Henrique was not a Grand Master of the Order but its administrator, which is rather different. Secondly, if it is, as it seems that, the panels represent a funerial cerimony, the nobles and knights would not assist the ritual in military dressing, as we actually notice. Also they would not need to carry weapons, except for a belt dressing dagger; but that could be 'artistic freedom' .

Quote:
Originally Posted by bvieira
... Something very wrong at this all picture!
The only thing so far that the investigators found to be spurious, is the net later painted over the guys in the first panel, giving the idea that they are fishermen, which is not right.


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Old 21st February 2021, 03:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David R
He has two arrows held in his right hand, which has drawn the bow back to his shoulder. It's a speed shooting technique that I have used myself.
Elementary, my dear Wayne .
Actually, either the artist made an error of perspective (which i would doubt) or the hypothetical distance between the spare arrows and his hidden hand is far too long; as if he holds them, not in his hand but by some manner in his wrist.

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Old 21st February 2021, 06:06 PM   #23
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[QUOTE=kronckew]? I also see he has the arrow on the right side of the bow .

Japanese style
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Old 21st February 2021, 06:49 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
As for the Order of Christ symbol not being present in the panels, i would rather wonder, not why it is not there, but why it should. Firstly, we know that Dom Henrique was not a Grand Master of the Order but its administrator, which is rather different. Secondly, if it is, as it seems that, the panels represent a funerial cerimony, the nobles and knights would not assist the ritual in military dressing, as we actually notice. Also they would not need to carry weapons, except for a belt dressing dagger; but that could be 'artistic freedom' .


The only thing so far that the investigators found to be spurious, is the net later painted over the guys in the first panel, giving the idea that they are fishermen, which is not right.


.
I must disagree with you, Dom Enrique is indeed considered a grand master of the order, to call him a administrator or governor is rather wrong, the only deference between him and the previous masters is that is was not a "religious" one, the rules of the order changed and the crown from now on directly elected the master of the order (at least the exterior one because the interior one was rather secret and uncontrollable by even the crown).

Enrique as a grand master of the order of Christ should have the order symbol, remember the order was the most important institution after the crown, it was so powerful that most of the discovered lands were given to the order and not to the king! The ship sails had the cross of the order and not the arms of Portugal! The order symbol was important and expected to be used by their members at a important event.

The figure of Enrique is probably wrong, that guy with the hat is not him, but rather is brother! I think the most accurate vision we have of him is at jeronimos! that outfit and style is much more right with the chronicles description than this figure at the painting. The Zurara book is the only reason that goes against my opinion, but remember the book was done years after this painting so there is a possibility that Zurara copy the image.

But getting back to main issue, the swords, i still think they have particular features! one strange thing is that should exist much more swords of this type than the ones that we know of! we know that some important navigators were buried with their sword, could this explain this issue ? dont think so!
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Old 21st February 2021, 08:06 PM   #25
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Bruno, i certainly disagree with your disagreement, but i agree that we better cease this 'colateral' discussion.
As for surviving swords of the period, this is a wonder; they are made of extinguishable materials, not many resist endurance of time. But i would bet that, those buried with their owners, are a number inferior than those kept in private (wealthy) collections, whose owners ar not willing to let us plebians know of their ( dubious) acquisitions.


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Old 22nd February 2021, 01:13 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corrado26
In the Museo Nationale die Roma "Castel Sant' Angelo"you can find this sword
like the one you mention, this is not a exact match but i think they are the best pictures i have seen from this type. This one was sold at a european auction house.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 12:35 PM   #27
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Great example, Bruno.
Also in the famous Pastrana tapestries, commissioned by King Dom Afonso V, to celebrate conquests in African territory (Arzila, Tangiers) we can see, among plenty weaponry advanced for the time, a few examples of these swords, in a shape similar to those in the panels. Actually it presumed that the cards for the weaving of these tapestries (in Tournai, today Belgium) were executed by the same Nuno Gonçalves.


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Old 22nd February 2021, 01:02 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fernando
Very nice example, Bruno.
Also in the famous Pastrana tapestries, commissioned by King Dom Afonso V, to celebrate conquests in African territory (Arzila, Tangiers) we can see, among plenty weaponry advanced for the time, a few examples of these swords, in a shape similar to those in the panels. Actually it presumed that the cards for the weaving of these tapestries (in Tournai, today Belgium) were executed by the same Nuno Gonçalves.


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Exactly i have seen that! this amplifies the question where did this swords ended up ? it they were used by any knight at that time, we should know many more examples that the ones that are known.
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Old 22nd February 2021, 01:27 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvieira
... Exactly i have seen that! this amplifies the question where did this swords ended up ?
You tell me Bruno, once my previous guessings (#25) were not plausible.
We should regard the examples represented in the tapistries with some uniformity of style, perhaps the result of their repetition in so many instances of the battle scene, or their relative smallness among so many other details. Whereas tith the panels, it is possible to observe detailed stylistic divergences between the different models; showing us the armaments of illustrious courtiers, the best that money can buy;
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Old 22nd February 2021, 02:10 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvieira
Exactly i have seen that! this amplifies the question where did this swords ended up ? it they were used by any knight at that time, we should know many more examples that the ones that are known.
Looks like the Spaniards give a better account of their sister pattern high end examples. But you now, a larger country, larger museums, greater rust degradations, larger burial sites ... and certainly a lot more private collections.



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