Now that Val Day has passed by once again, I can post a couple of images of the last scroll I did. This piece was for Val Day court for a friend of mine and, even though the Hubs laughs at me when I say it, when I thought about doing this scroll I had a vision of what I wanted to do with it!
The Manesse Codex, also known as the “Great Heidelberg Song Book” was produced between about 1304 and 1340. It’s a collection of the works of about 130 of the best known Minnesangers, or poet-musicians, from the 12th to 14th centuries. Each author is introduced by an illuminated scene meant to represent something about the person, and these illustrations are followed by the poet’s written works. The scenes have a lot of variety and include a large number of figures dressed in the style of the 14th century and engaged in a number of different activities.
The award being given at Val Day was for the recipient’s participation in the Arts & Sciences, specifically for her study of knitting. While there aren’t any knitting figures in the Manesse Codex, I knew I could find a figure that could be adapted. So I looked through the images (the full codex is available online here) and found one that fit my vision, along with another that had a tree I could adapt as well. The symbol of this award is a golden willow tree, so I thought a stylized golden tree would fit in, and many of the figures in the original codex are shown with trees or flowering bushes.
Since I’m not good with figures, I resized the images on my computer and printed them in black and white, then traced the forms onto my Pergamenata paper. I watched a video I found on how to paint these types of figures and set to work!
Ultimately, I was pretty happy with the way the figure turned out. I’ve never done this kind of painting before, so doing the shading was a little bit of an experiment, but I think it turned out all right. I also converted the lady’s book into a piece of knitting with a string trailing to a ball of yarn by her feet and put a pair of knitting needles into her hands. I made the knitting green with a gold pattern to match a project my friend is working on!
I kept feeling like the whole thing was a little plain, though, and all of the scenes from the original piece have a border of some kind around them. So, Wednesday night I drew and painted a border around the piece, inspired by the one around folio 395r.
I took a little artistic license and made the main color purple instead of the original blue and red because the award device has the golden willow on a purple background.