Tournament Scene

Object Details

Title:

Tournament Scene

Artist/Maker(s):

Jörg Breu the Elder (German, about 1475/1476 - 1537)

Culture:

German

Place(s):

Germany (Place created)

Date:

about 1510 - 1515

Medium:

Pen and black ink over black chalk

Dimensions:

25.4 cm (10 in.)

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Knights and peasants alike enjoyed tournaments, contests between armed horsemen that simulated real warfare and flourished as entertainment from the 1200s to the 1500s. So popular were these mock battles that they frequently appeared as the subject of stained-glass windows in cathedrals.

Jörg Breu took this popular topic and created this lively scene for a round window. At the back, a trio of heralds on horseback announce the participants with their trumpets, while the referee raises his arm to signal the start of the action. A warrior clad in armor makes his entrance, holding a long lance astride a richly decorated horse. A jester jumps in front of him to entertain the gathered crowd. Earlier window designs of tournament scenes divided the jouster, heralds, and jester into separate quatrefoils. Breu abandoned this Gothic format to create a unified scene embellished with architectural and genre details. He worked quickly and spontaneously to create this drawing; in many instances his pen departed from the chalk underdrawing to create new lines. Particularly beautiful in this respect is the flowing drapery of the horse's blanket, which sweeps out as the knight gallops off.

Exhibitions
Central European Drawings of the 16th and 17th Centuries (March 2 to May 9, 1993)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), March 2 to May 9, 1993
16th Century Ornamental Drawings (June 1 to August 14, 1994)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), June 1 to August 14, 1994
Painting on Light: Drawings and Stained Glass in the Age of Durer and Holbein (July 11, 2000 to January 7, 2001) (78)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 11 to September 24, 2000
  • Saint Louis Art Museum, (Saint Louis), November 4, 2000 to January 7, 2001
Work and Play: Everyday Life in Drawings; 1520 - 1820 (July 31 to October 14, 2001) (78)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 31 to October 14, 2001
Made for Manufacture: Drawings for Sculpture and the Decorative Arts (February 6 to May 20, 2007) (78)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 6 to May 20, 2007
Renaissance Drawings from Germany and Switzerland, 1470-1600 (March 27 to June 17, 2012) (78)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 27 to June 17, 2012