CSI Poitiers 1398

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  • #2908
    Philologus
    Participant

    From the Model-Book to the Sketch-Book, Web Gallery of Art

    Up to the end of the fourteenth century only a very few model-books survived. This is so because time does not select only by means of wars, vandalism, of cold and heat – but also according to what it considers valuable. In the Middle Ages worn-out model-books were discarded together with old brushes and palettes. On the other hand, a significant number of model collections have come down to us from the period of the International Gothic style. Why? It seems to be paradoxical, but it was at that very age, the time when an artistic idiom was taking shape and became universal, that the function of model-books underwent a change. Gradually they dropped out of international circulation; workshops, even individual artists, began to preserve them, considering them to be their own intellectual possessions. While social and ecclesiastic constraints on works of art were loosening, painters endeavoured to get rid of the old schematic formulae and set out on the path leading to a freer artistic practice, which gave ever-increasing scope to personal creativity. (What happened in 1398 in Poitiers would have been unthinkable previously: the painter Jacquemart de Hesdin and two companions forced open the box of the painter Jan of Holland and stole drawings of models. The consequence was a long-drawn-out law-suit, and a fatal stabbing with a knife.)

    Wikipedia “Pseudo-Jacquemart”

    Pseudo-Jacquemart is sometimes identified with Jacquemart de Hesdin.[3] The two painters are mentioned as working at the Palace of Poitiers at the request of John, Duke of Berry. In January 1398, a painter, named Jean de Holland, accused them of stealing pigments and models from his box. De Holland was finally killed and the two painters took refuge in the Abbey of Montierneuf at Poitiers where they were afforded asylum. The Duke of Berry eventually obtained a letter of remission for them in May 1398

    Neither of these cites sources (just other web publications which cite no sources) but I would like to track this story down.

    #2910
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Wow that is fascinating. I’ll ask around and see if I can find any sources.

    #2911
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Ok so this article, by a researcher in France, is an analysis of fights based on those letters of remission. Since the case of Jean de Holland resulted in a letter of remission, some of the sources in this article (which IIRC covers the same time period and the same part of France, roughly) might be a good place to check. I haven’t asked anyone about this case yet but I just remembered that article.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwiuktvVpMjzAhVtl2oFHSZEDtAQFnoECAwQAQ&url=https%3A%2F%2Fbop.unibe.ch%2Fapd%2Farticle%2Fdownload%2F7625%2F10609&usg=AOvVaw102n0odA3p_Pu7dyWohXAH

    #2914
    Philologus
    Participant

    If I wanted to research this, I would start with encyclopedias of medieval art and books on the Gothic style in France and look up the names in the index.

    There is a good article by Thomas Green on how legal documents often describe an assault in whatever language was necessary to give the desired result. In England after the late 13th century, the legal definition of murder was much broader than the popular understanding, and coroners’ juries often found a way to square the circle and save people they liked from the gallows.

    Regardless, it shows that you don’t mess with a Bürger or a citoyen!

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 4 days ago by Philologus.
    #2916
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Yes this kind of thing – data about homicides and other violent incidents- has been a subject of interest in HEMA circles for ~ 20 years.

    Each country, political system and region had it’s own methods for prosecuting or investigating homicides, duels, informal fights and so forth.

    – In England, the coroner was obligated to fill out a detailed report about every homicide in his district and most maimings, woundings etc. So we have the coroners rolls of London, Boston, York etc.

    – In most of the Italian City-States, the barber surgeons were required to write reports of deaths and non fatal injuries received in violent altercations, so we have such records from Florence, Rome, Pavia, Sienna and so on.

    – In the German Free cities, the town council conducted thorough investigations of every homicide and every fight, even quite a few minor incidents in which nobody was hurt. Scribes recorded these interrogations. So we have transcriptions of these and sometimes translations, for example Ann Tlusty translated a bunch of these for Augsburg.

    – In the German feudal courts, similarly, investigations would be conducted and duly recorded. In both princely court and Free City, violence done under the right rules could be permissible (self defense or according to the rules of the Fedhe). In the event that someone was seriously (i.e. corporeally) punished or executed, there is also the hangman’s diary.

    – In France, lawyers wrote “letters of remission” every time there was a violent incident resulting in a homicide. As in England, under most circumstances dueling or violent fracas were prohibited on pain of death, so the lawyers report was designed to exonerate their client, who starts out from a position of guilt (and in great legal peril). These are required to be quite detailed and are probably the best single source of information regarding most homicides in medieval France.

    The article I linked was a survey of ~ 300 or 400 such letters, in which the author Pierre Henry Bas, tried to find some patterns as to what weapons were used by both assailant and victim, and what were the results vis a vis mortality. Due to the relatively small sample size it’s not really that telling in terms of weapons, just more of a curiosity.

    The only relevance to the incident with Pseudo-Jacquemart and De Holland is that the Duke had a letter of remission drafted which led to their ‘rehabilitation’ – and Pierre Henry Bas collected a few hundred of these, and IIRC they were in roughly the same time period (14th-15th Century) it’s possible some of his sources could be relevant.

    #2917
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator

    Ok I posed a question to some buddies across the pond, let’s see what we get back…

    #2918
    Hans Hellinger
    Moderator
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