Tuesday, January 22, 2008

click on the images to enlarge.
Ingres's wonderful painting of Joan of Arc.

My verison of the three piece armour.

I found that Ingres had to step lively when designing Joan's armour for his famous painting. Of course, he was and artist, not an armourer, nor was he an historian, but he "did" have a good eye for details. A cursory glance indicates that he built a German armour for a French saint....but at least had the good sense to smooth off all the flutes and grooves to make it look kind of French. And of course, because of the fashion sense of the time that demanded that women had to have wasp waists and flowing skirts, he gave joan a pinched waist and weirdly massive hips. But I blame that on an attempt to make the antique armour conform to his contemporary fashion of hoop skirts and bum rolls.

The other detail which I think Ingres neatly bypassed is the the codpiece arch. Armour of this vintage would have had a honkin' great tin can of a cod piece which to our eyes looks silly, but was very important to the fashion of the time.....like a Scotsman's sporran, it was a great manly, in your face statement which of course, a female saint could not possibly make. Normally, a saint depicted in armour (in deference to his supposed celebacy) would have his codpiece removed just as if he was going to go for a horseback ride, but in Ingres's Joan, even the arch is removed, in its place is a sort of square notch. Then he put in two extra tassets on the sides, I guess to mirror the symmetrical hoop skirted fashion sense of the women who would make up his audience. I don't believe I have ever seen an armour, German, French, Austrian, or Italian who had "four" tassets. Also conspicuously missing is the chain mail miniskirt.

It IS difficult to pinch the waist at all in the man's three piece suit design....because there are three layers of steel right at the waist! Normally for ladies, I would build it a little differently, because of course, ladies are build wildly differently...higher waists, wider hips, deeper backs, narrower shoulders, smaller chests (I know, it surprised me too....) than men of comparable size. And yet, even with all those considerations, the three piece armour I made for a guy managed to fit Karen like it was made for her! Though as I recall, she complained that it pinched a lot in the hips. To be expected, I suppose.

Comments are welcome.

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