Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Trying to catch up on posting some projects from this spring! I created these three illustrations to accompany a paper a friend/former professor of mine was presenting at a medieval conference. The subject of the paper is three prophesies or visions that supposedly occurred during a secret meeting at the Carmelites Order during France's Cabochien Revolt of 1413, chronicled by the historian Jean Juvenal des Ursins in the 1450s.

The first vision describes three suns over France, which very likely refer to the three sides at odds over the land: the Burgundians; the reigning king, Charles VI/his son, Charles VII; and Henry V (alternatively, the three parties could be Henry V, Charles VI, and Charles VII). The image of three ruling bodies in the sky is unnatural, just as it is unnatural for one kingdom to have three kings.
Three Suns Over France
The 2nd vision shows three weather formations in the sky heading toward Paris. Stormy weather comes from Burgundy and England, but sunshine (hope for the future) radiates from the area of Orleans/Berry, where after 1420 Charles VII, the future king, is camped out and waiting to return.

Three Weather Formations Heading for Paris

The third vision is the most dramatic, showing the king of England, Henry V, standing triumphantly atop Notre-Dame while the mentally ill king of France, Charles VI, is exiled to the courtyard and flanked by men wearing black.
  The King of England Standing on Notre Dame
The time during which these visions supposedly took place was an incredibly tumultuous one for France. While the king was incapacitated with madness the Burgundians and Armagnacs fought for control of the government, while the Cabochiens rallied and rioted in an attempt to resist the growth of government, taxation, and the dominance of the court on the political world.

The chronicler writes about these visions many years later, after Charles VII has restored his control over France.Jean Juvenal des Ursins is a royal official in Charles VII's service, and was a loyal Armagnac, as was his father, throughout the Civil War. He is clearly including these visions in his chronicle with a political agenda. He uses "history" and the concept of prophesy to basically say that the right guys won, that this outcome was meant to be.

This was a really fun project for me. The Middle Ages is one of my favorite periods of history and it was fascinating to learn a bit about the Cabochien Revolts and the 40 or so years after. 

No comments:

Post a Comment