Lions of the middle ages are absolutely hilarious.
To find out why was that here is the brief introduction to the period. First of all – middle ages in art is a transfer from Antiquity to the Renaissance . Medieval period consist of two stages: Romanesque (XI-XII) and Gothic (end of XII – beginning of XVI). So in that ages the only fun was religion. Church was the only thing that thrilled European people of that time. High life as chivalry appeared just in Gothic. So just imagine – you live in 1345, look after chickens, and you see nothing except your daily route ‘home-fare-church-home’. I mean that according to the theory of our teacher of aesthetics, a creator (painter or architect) do not make his art works separately from the environment where he lives. There is a special formula of environment influence on a masterpiece, So, if religion and church fully takes over your brain, and no civil life exists, the only subject-matter that prevails in that period will be… Religion! In architecture these were cathedrals and convents, in painting – frescoes. Portrait genre appeared just in Late Gothic, I mean civil portrait. And till that time all frescos, bible illustrations depicted just Chris, Virgin Mary, Prophets and so on. I would also add, that there were no art schools! Just think of that. Painters hardly ever learned to picture men in icons, and now they need to show a landscape in perspective or a holy baby Chris (ugly most of the time) and… omg!.. animals! They couldn’t go to a zoo and make a brief sketch of a lion. Ha-ha! And lions in Italy walking freely around Florence city centre? Kidding? Well, that was a short explanation of why lions in Medieval ages were so-so terribly painted. Get, set, go!
(Lion on drugs). Saint Jérôme (version de Turin) – Dosso Dossi 1528.
(Putin and Yuschenko) Saint Jérôme et le lion, Rogier van der Weyden, 1450.
St Jérôme, Lorenzo Monaco, 1420.
St Jérôme et St Jean le Baptise, Masaccio, 1428.
St Jérôme et le lion, Hans Memling, 1485-90.
(Find a lion. Shaggy as my legs). St Jérôme, Lorenzo Lotto, 1509-10.
(Lion with a bad liver) St Jérôme, Lorenzo Lotto, 1509-10.
Legend of the St. Jerome.
St. Jerome, an early Christian scholar who lived around A . D . 400, is considered one of the early Latin Fathers and Doctors of the Roman Catholic Church. He became well known for his translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into Latin. Called the Vulgate, his work remained in use until 1979.
According to legend, a lion limped into St. Jerome’s monastery in Bethlehem one day. The other monks ran away in fear, but Jerome calmly looked at the lion’s paw and removed a large thorn. Thereafter the lion became his companion. The other monks felt that the lion should work for his food as they did, so Jerome told the lion to guard the monastery’s donkey. However, one day the lion neglected his duty, and thieves stole the donkey. Noticing that the donkey was missing, the monks accused the lion of eating it and forced the lion to do the donkey’s work. Although innocent, the lion obeyed the order without complaint. Some time later, the lion saw the donkey in a caravan passing by the monastery and brought it back to the monks to prove his innocence.