Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Monday, October 15, 2018

Jadwiga of Poland, Queen Regent of Poland

Jadwiga, Queen Regent of Poland (crowned 15 October 1384)

Born in 1373, Jadwiga was the youngest of three daughters born to Elizabeth of Bosnia and Louis, king of Hungary and Croatia--and, after 1370, of Poland--a member of the extended Anjevin line of the French Capetian dynasty.

A sixteenth-century imagined portrait
of Jadwiga of Poland
Without a male heir, Louis made plans for his three daughters, Catherine, Mary, and Jadwiga, to succeed him in Hungary and Poland as well as in Provence and in the kingdom of Naples.* His daughters were not only desirable marital prospects, but their marriages were also a way for Louis himself to consolidate his influence and power. 

In pursuit of his political ends, Louis arranged for the marriage of his eldest daughter, Catherine, to Louis I, duke of Orléans, and he promised the Holy Roman Emperor that his second daughter, Mary, would be married to Charles IV's second son, Sigismund of Luxembourg, an agreement that was signed by deed in 1373. In 1375, Louis arranged Jadwiga's marriage to the Habsburg William of Austria, and the girl was sent to the court in Vienna, where she lived from 1378 until 1380.

After the death of Catherine in 1378, Louis clarified his intentions for Mary and Jadwiga, indicating that Mary was to succeed him in Poland and Jadwiga in Hungary. But after the death of Louis himself in 1382, Elizabeth of Bosnia had Mary crowned "king" of Hungary, with Sigismund of Luxembourg attempting to take control of Poland. 

In resisting Sigismund (and the Habsburg powers), the Polish nobility ultimately ended the personal union of Hungary and Poland that Louis had forged, electing Jadwiga--then a child of nine--as "king" (rex) of Poland on 15 October 1384.** She was crowned immediately--probably as a signal that William of Austria was considered an altogether unsuitable match.

Instead, Jadwiga was married to Jogaila, grand duke of Lithuania, on 15 February 1386. The marriage was desirable for Poland and not only because it would allow them to resist pressures from Austria--the newly combined territories of Lithuania and Poland were larger than the previous union of Hungary and Poland. 

But Leopold of Austria did not relinquish his son's marriage to Jadwiga easily. Leopold demanded that the marriage between Jadwiga and his son be consummated, and William of Austria traveled to Krakow, only to be barred entry to Wawel Castle. A confusion of accounts blurs what might--or might not--have happened when Jadwiga and William did finally meet. Did William and Jadwiga consummate their marriage? 

Contemporary chroniclers provide different answers, and modern historians are also divided, but one fact is clear: William of Austria was ultimately forced out of Poland, and the match with Jogailo was made. 

Jadwiga of Poland,
Wawel Cathedral
There was one still slight problem to be overcome before the marriage could be solemnized--neither Jogailo nor his people were Christian. And so, by the terms of the Union of Krewo, Jogailo converted to Catholicism, was baptized as Władysław Jagiełło, and pledged to promote the conversion of the people of Lithuania. 

(The duke's mother, Uliana of Tver, had hoped her son would marry Sofia, the daughter of Prince Dmitri of Moscow, but that would have required his conversion to the Orthodox faith--and since Lithuania was subjected to a series of crusades by Catholic Teutonic knights, that wouldn't have ended the problems of Lithuania quite the way his conversion to Catholicism did . . . )

By the way, one more note about traditional marriage: on the day of their marriage, 15 February 1386, Władysław Jagiełło was thirty-five years old, and Jadwiga just twelve. Sigh. 

Of course, the rejected William refused to give up, his Teutonic knights invading Lithuania, despite having been offered compensation by Władysław Jagiełło. William persisted in claiming that he had consummated his marriage with Jadwiga, the rumors and claims ultimately leading to a papal investigation, forcing Jadwiga to swear that she had never had a sexual relationship with anyone but Władysław Jagiełło.

When she wasn't defending her marriage against William, Jadwiga and her husband also had to resist invasion by her sister Mary's husband, now king of Hungary, who hoped to add Poland, or parts of it, to his own territory (he had problems of his own, however, and spent a great deal of time defending Hungary against the threatening Ottomans).

After her sister Mary's death in 1395, Jadwiga became the heir to the crown of Hungary. If she and her husband were to succeed there, they would themselves pose a threat to the German empire--and so, after years of turmoil, a peace was negotiated. Jadwiga's claims to Hungary were recognized, but no further conflict with Sigismund followed, though tensions remained. 

On 22 June 1399, Jadwiga, queen of Poland, gave birth to a daughter, named Bonifacia. Within a month, both daughter and mother had died. Jadwiga, queen regnant of Poland, was just twenty-five years old. She is buried in Wawel Cathedral.

After his wife's death, Władysław Jagiełło ruled as king of Poland  

Despite her relatively brief reign, Jadwiga is regarded by historians as one of the most important rulers of Poland--primarily for her marriage, which resulted in the creation of a great state. She is also noted as a patron of religion and scholarship. She founded hospitals and schools, notably a college in Prague. The University of Krakow, which had been founded in 1364, had dissolved; Jadwiga refounded the university, modeling it after the University of Paris.  

Related to Elizabeth of Hungary, Jadwiga was also noted for her holiness. A number of legends attest to her religious faith. She was canonized by Pope John Paul II in Kraków on 8 June 1997.

Jadwiga of Poland,
Wawel Cathedral
A brief biography in Europe, 1450-1789: Encyclopedia of the Early Modern World, can be accessed by clicking here. There is also a brief entry on Jadwiga of Poland in the online Encyclopedia Britannica (click here). 

I recommend the entry on Jadwiga in Helen J. Nicholson's The Crusades--you should be able to access it via Google Books. It is particularly good for its account, though brief, of the Jadwiga-William-Jogailo marriage question. And, then, there is Charlotte Kellogg's 1931 biography, Jadwiga: Poland's Great Queen; it is out of print, but used copies do pop up on Amazon occasionally.

*Louis involved himself in Neopolitan power struggles after his brother, Andrew of Hungary was assassinated, and Andrew’s wife, Queen Joanna I of Naples, was held by some to be responsible for her husband's murder. Despite all of Louis' claims and meddling, he could never acquire the kingdom of Naples, and Queen Joanna's successor, Charles of Durazzo, in his turn claimed the crown of Hungary.

**In designating her as rex, the intention seems to have been to emphasize that Jadwiga was a queen regent, and that whomever she married would be her consort, not her replacement.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Mary Beale and the Business of Painting

Mary Craddock Beale (died 8 October 1699)

Although the date of her birth is not recorded, Mary Craddock was baptized on 26 March 1633 by her father, the Reverend John Craddock, in the rectory of St. Paul's Church, Barrow, Suffolk. Her mother's name was Dorothy--her family name is obscured on her marriage record.

Mary Craddock Beale,
self portrait
Her father may have begun his daughter's training, for the Puritan clergyman was known to have been an amateur painter. He was also a member of the Painter-Stainers Company of London, presenting one of his own paintings ("of varieties of fruits") to them in 1648.

Speculation about other painters who may have contributed to Mary Craddock's training include the portrait painter Robert Walker, who painted the Reverend Craddock's portrait in the late 1640s, as well as the court painter Peter Lely and the miniature painter Matthew Snelling, both of whom lived and worked in nearby Bury St. Edmonds, and who were members of John Craddock's social group. 

Mary Craddock met and married Charles Beale, a cloth merchant, in 1652, when she was eighteen. Like her father, Beale was an amateur painter. Mary Craddock Beale relocated with her husband to London, settling in Covent Garden.

Over the course of the next few years, she gave birth to and buried a son, then gave birth to two more boys. During these early years she must have continued painting, because by 1658, she is well enough known that she is named in Sir William Sanderson's The Excellent Art of Painting, where she is noted as one of four (married) women painters active in London.

In 1665, the couple relocated to Hampshire in order to escape the plague in London, but they returned to London, this time taking up residence on Fleet Street. At about the same time, Charles Beale lost his job as clerk in the Patent Office, and Mary Beale transitioned from painting as an amateur to painting as a professional.

Charles Beale took over the management of his wife's studio, "organizing commissions," recording payments received and debts paid, and "preparing colors." His detailed notebooks, a few of which survive, contain records of Mary Beale's work, her associations with other artists,  and the "business" of art, including the close care needed with her subjects, who needed to be chosen in order to protect her reputation. 

Through her work as a painter, Mary Craddock Beale was able to support her family--in 1677 alone, she had eighty-three commissions (all carefully recorded by her husband in his notebooks). But by 1681, when fashions had changed, her popularity waned, and Beale once again made an adjustment, taking on students, including Sarah Curtis Hoadly.

Beale died in London on 8 October 1699, aged sixty-six, and is buried at St. James's Church, Piccadilly. 

In her work, Mary Craddock Beale focused on portrait painting, working in oil, water color, and pastel, her style sometimes described as "vigorous" and "masculine," a word often used to praise women painters. Her work was also praised for its "color, strength, force" and "life." In addition to her painting and teaching, Beale wrote, including instructional materials, a piece titled Observations, in which she explained how to paint apricots. 

A large body of work survives, as a quick Google search will show. I recommend the gallery at Artnet for a good survey--it currently includes 169 of her works. 

I recommend Ruth Dugdale's charming essay, "On the Trail of Suffolk Artist Mary Beale," published in the East Anglian Daily Times. There is also a chapter on Beale in Ellen Creaythorne Clayton's 1876 English Female Artists, accessible at the Internet Archive (click here).

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Rosalba Carriera, the "Most Famous Pastellist"

Rosalba Carriera (born 7 October 1675)

Born in Venice, Rosalba Carriera was the daughter of Andrea Carriera, a government clerk, and his wife, Alba Foresti, a lacemaker. Carriera is thought to have begun her career making lace-patterns for her mother. It may have been the decline in the lace trade that led to her change of medium: Carriera began painting miniature portraits on snuff boxes.

Rosalba Carriera, self-portrait
The self-taught Carriera was also an innovator, using ivory as the ground for her miniatures. In 1705, at the age of twenty-five, she earned recognition from (and a special membership in) the Accademia di San Luca in Rome.

She had also begun experimenting with using pastels for portraits, her earliest pastel dated to 1700. The medium had been used for informal studies or preparatory sketches, but Carriera is credited with the use of pastel for "serious portraiture." While many women artists contribute to the development of the medium of pastel, Germaine Greer notes, in The Obstacle Race, that "the exploration of the possibilities of pastel portraiture was advanced most" by Carrera's work. 

After 1708, art historian Neil Jeffares writes, Carriera "devoted herself particularly to pastel." Of the 440 surviving works now credited to  her, "three-quarters are in pastel."

Carriera's reputation as an artist grew as notable visitors to Venice sought her out for their portraits, including Maximilian of Bavaria, in 1704; Christian Ludwig of Mecklenburg, in 1706; Frederick IV of Denmark, in 1708-09; and the prince elector of Saxony, later Augustus III of Poland in 1713, when the young man was making a grand tour. In addition to a portrait of himself (in oil), he commissioned a series of allegorical works: The Four Seasons, The Four Elements, and The Four Continents. (He would later acquire 150 of her pastels and filled a room in his Dresden palace with her work.)

Spring, one of The Four Seasons,
National Gallery of Ireland
Also visiting her studio was a notable collector, the French banker Pierre Crozat. In 1720, at his suggestion, Carriera traveled to Paris, where she spent "a triumphant year," receiving commissions for some fifty portraits, including one of Louis XV. She was  elected to the French Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in that year, as well as to the Accademia Clementina in Bologna.
After leaving Paris, Carriera returned to Venice, but in 1723 she left for Modena, where she spent five months at the Este court. Back in Venice, one of her great patrons was the British consul, Joseph Smith--later, the work he commissioned from Carriera was acquired by King George III.

In 1730, Carriera again left Venice, this time for the court of Vienna, where she spent six months and fulfilled a number of commissions for Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, whose empress, Elisabeth Christine, became her pupil. But by 1737, her output began slowing--her sister Giovanna, who had traveled and worked with her, died, and her own eyesight began to fail. 

By 1745, Rosalba Carriera was blind. She lived in Venice, in Dosoduro, where she died in 1757, at the age of eighty-four. 

In describing Carriera's style, Jeffares notes her "distinctive vaporous style" and her "delicate and light palette." She was, above all, a "consummate artist."

Jeffares's comprehensive essay on Carriera, in the Dictionary of Pastellists before 1800, is readily accessible online (click here).

There is an excellent entry by Margherita Giacometti in the Dictionary of Women Artists. 

catalogue raisonné of her work was published in 2007, in Italian, with black-and-white illustrations--used copies are occasionally available. But for once I might suggest you look at the Wikipedia entry for Carriera, which has a wonderful, expansive gallery of her work. You can search online and see her work in various collections--the National Gallery (London) the Victoria and Albert, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Getty, and the Uffizi, for example. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Anna Maria Lane, Revolutionary War Soldier

Anna Maria Lane, Soldier of the American Revolution (battle of Germantown, 3 October 1777)

Virtually nothing is known about the early life of Anna Maria Lane, not even her name before she was married. 

In For Virginia and For Independence: Twenty-Eight Revolutionary War Heroes from the Old Dominion, historian Harry M. Ward indicates that she was probably born about the year 1737 somewhere in New England, perhaps New Hampshire or Connecticut.

A marker honoring Anna Maria Lane,
Richmond, Virginia,
erected 1997
At some point before 1776, she married John Lane, who seems to have been born about 1727. His place of birth is also unknown, but in 1776, John Lane enlisted in the Continental Army in Connecticut, serving under General Israel Putnam. 

For all that is unknown about Anna Maria Lane, one thing is certain: she is the only Virginia woman documented for her role as a soldier in the Revolutionary War.

The Lanes seem to have been middle-aged in 1776. They also had a daughter, a young girl named Sarah. Anna Maria Lane may have followed her husband when he joined the Continental Army, but at some point, either by necessity, deception, or with permission, she dressed herself in men's clothing. No longer a camp follower, she began to live and fight as a "common soldier."

Together with her husband, she was at the battles of White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Germantown, and Savannah.

Indeed, it is because she was severely wounded at the battle of Germantown on 4 October 1777 that we know about her military service. During the battle she suffered a wound to her leg, perhaps a fractured femur or hip. The injury was severe enough that it would leave her permanently disabled.

The wounded Anna Maria Lane may have been left behind at a makeshift military hospital in the Boehm German Reformed Church when Washington retreated--but she may also have resisted, since she would have risked discovery if she were subjected to medical examination.

She may or may not have continued on with her husband--accounts vary as to whether she was with him in Savannah, where he was wounded and captured as a prisoner of war in 1779.

By 1782, John Lane had been released and transferred from the Continental Army to the Virginia militia. In 1783, after the militia was disbanded, John Lane was appointed a state guard of Virginia, and then transferred from Richmond to Point of Fork, near Charlottesville. Anna Maria Lane was with him there, and both she and their daughter Sarah were hired in various capacities, including working as laundresses.

In 1801, John Lane was transferred back to Virginia. Then seventy-five years old or so, he was one of the sixty-eight old soldiers who made up the "guard garrison" and performed light duties. For her part, Anna Maria Lane went to work as a nurse in the military hospital in Virginia. In recognition of the work she performed there, Dr. John H. Foushee, Virginia's health officer, petitioned then-governor James Monroe on her behalf, and she was paid a small stipend.

By 1804, Anna Maria Lane was so incapacitated by her old injury that she was dismissed, no longer capable of working. In 1808, John Lane and several other old soldiers were also dismissed from the guard garrison. 

Elderly, infirm, and now living in poverty, John and Anna Maria Lane applied for military pensions from the state of Virginia. Recognizing their military service, Governor William H. Cabell requested the General Assembly provide pensions for seven disabled male solders--and one female veteran.* 

William Cabell's letter to the speaker
of the Virginia Assembly,
posted by the Library of Virginia
In awarding a military pension to Anna Maria Lane, the Virginia Assembly noted that she was "very infirm, having been disabled by a severe wound, which she received while fighting as a common soldier . . . from which she never recovered."

And, further:  "In the Revolutionary War, in the garb, and with the courage of a soldier, [she] performed extraordinary military services at the Battle of Germantown."

For her "extraordinary military services" she was awarded an immediate grant. And then, for the remainder of her life, she collected a quarterly pension payment of $25. (Her husband, meanwhile, collected payments of $10 every quarter.)

Anna Maria Lane died on 13 June 1810. 

In addition to Ward's history, noted above, I recommend the interview with historian Joyce Hunter posted on the Colonial Williamsburg website--to access it, click here.

*Three other women received pensions at this time, but all three had been nurses during the Revolutionary War, not soldiers.