Gerrit van Honthorst - Saint Sebastian,detail, ca.1623.
GHETTI KNO WHAT I LIKE
(also I should add…never seen a painting of st. sebastian with an arrow to the groin before. that wouldn’t be a fisher king reference, would it? sort of a stretch tho)
Sword-Catching Parrying Dagger
- Dated: 1600
- Culture: Italian
This unusual fencing dagger demonstrates the way in which the artistic qualities of a weapon could be influenced by the practical concerns of the swordsman. The Renaissance duel was usually fought with rapier and dagger. The rapier, as the main weapon of attack, was complemented by a parrying dagger held in the left hand, used primarily for defensive movements.
However, by 1600 fighting with the rapier alone was becoming the latest fashion. The opposing blade could still be parried or beaten away with the left hand. The free left also allowed the duellist to grab hold of his enemy’s swordblade, temporarily immobilising it to expose him to a lethal counter-thrust.
This distinctive fencing weapon is designed to provide the blade-grabbing ability of the free left hand, while retaining the dagger for defensive action. The arrow-like barbs allowed a sword blade to enter the ‘jaw’ of the dagger, but made it difficult to free it again. With his weapon ensnared, the enemy was exposed, if only for an instant.
The practical challenges of creating such a specialised weapon were considerable. The hardened and tempered steel blade had to be carefully cut with the series of dramatically barbed teeth, a laborious process. The spaces between the teeth have been elegantly filed with ornamental edges, while the base of the blade has been finely etched and gilt- an unusual feature, even for high-quality weapons. In this way, despite its very specific function as a fighting tool, the weapon’s artistic merit is evident.
Source & Copyright: The Wallace Collection
The five photographs taken by Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths from 1917-1920 in the village of Cottingley, Yorkshire, England. In 1983 the two cousins admitted that the pictures were faked using paper cutouts; Frances, however, insisted that that the final photograph, showing a group of faeries gathering in the grass, was genuine. The girls also maintained that, although the photographs might be hoaxed, they still witnessed faeries dancing at the bottom of their garden. The pictures still continue to mystify and enchant people even today.
Also among their staunchest defenders: Harry Houdini and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The girls later admitted that they felt they couldn’t tell the truth once Doyle had come out so vehemently in defense of the pictures’ legitimacy.