Monday, January 26, 2015

Anatoly Telenik - paintings & sketches

this year is still new -:) so I am planning to start a new theme - contemporary painters and illustrators , in whose art horses and history are featured.
I am going to start this theme with Anatoly F. Telenik (А. Ф. Теленик), Ukrainian painter who lives and works in the south of Ukraine, near the Black Sea. We should remember and reflect that presently in the south eastern Ukraine there is war,  this bloody awful, needless, foreign-influenced and terrible war  that is wrecking lives, causing death, havoc and misery in peoples' lives as we speak.
                     Let us not forget Ukraine in our prayers for peace.

    Mr. Telenik kindly allowed me to show some of his sketches and details of his larger paintings.
Anatoly is very prolific, paints, usually in oil, many historical subjects ranging from Medieval, Early Modern and Napoleonic periods, as well as still lives, landscapes, figurative art and any other subject he sees fit to touch his brushes to, as long as there is time to do it. His historical paintings, especially related to the Napoleonic Wars figure prominently in many collections, while they have been reproduced in numerous books (eg 1812 war  as in this publication) and magazines in Ukraine, Russia etc.
Below details from anatoly's Napoleonic paintings, battles of Eylau and Borodino.

I love this art related to our common history - the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, - for we, Poles and Ukrainians share some proud history together, and hopefully will share some more in the future :)

So then more  winged hussars and Zaporozhian Cossacks.

In my opinion Mr. Telenik's art rightfully falls within the greatest of this genre - Juliusz and Wojciech Kossak, Jozef Brandt, and Józef Chełmoński etc.


today I read that Demis Roussos died on Sunday (25.01.2015) - pacem aeternam, great artist.

Friday, January 16, 2015


today I found on Wikipedia this French artist - André Castaigne, and in 'his' Wikipedia Commons gallery there was an image of the most famous horse of the Antiquity - Bucephalus, and his most famous rider, Alexander the Great

From this edition of Quintus Curtius Rufus ''Historiae Alexandri Magni'' comes 'A supplement to Q. Curtius Rufus' (for the first 2 books are lost)  and there we have a following story of the meeting between Alexander and his four-legged friend.

* Suplement to Quintus Curtius Rufus: Book I, ch. IV (vol. I. London 1809)
The young prince astonished his father and the court, by his dexterity in managing the horse Bucephalus, a name given to the animal from his being marked with the figure of an ox's head. Thessaly was then famous for its breed of fine horses, yet none of that country could be compared to Bucephalus for beauty or vigor; 
Philonicus, a Pharsalian, considering the noble animal to deserve an illustrious master, brought him to Philip, and offered to sell him for sixteen talents. When the parties had reached a plain where the horse's speed and temper were to be tried; and one of the king's grooms attempted to mount him, the animal, refusing to be touched, reared and plunged violently; and his fierceness made each of the officers and servants who approached to mount him, relinquish the attempt. 
Philip regarding so wild and unmanageable an animal as useless, desired that he might be led away. Alexander, however, on hearing this order, cried out: "What an excellent horse are we "going to lose, for want of address and boldness to mount him!" The king at first considered this exclamation to proceed from juvenile rashness; but on Alexander's insisting that it was practicable to ride the horse, permitted him to make the experiment, on condition that he should forfeit the price demanded for it if he failed.
The young prince, exulting, advanced to Bucephalus,and seized his bridle; he had observed that the animal had started at the motion of his own shadow, he therefore turned his head toward the sun. Still the horse's fury is not much abated; Alexander strokes his mane, and speaks to him in a soothing voice. Still the horse foams with rage; but the prince, having gently thrown aside his cloak, vaults into the saddle. Bucephalus, unused to obey, plunges, rears, strikes up his hind-feet, tosses his neck and head, and struggles to overcome the controul of the bit, in order that he may dart away ungoverned. Alexander relaxes the forward rein, at the same moment spurring the horse, and with cheering tones animating him to exert all his swiftness. After flying over a long space, the wearied animal showed an inclination to stop; the prince, again spurring him, kept him at his full speed till his spirit was entirely subdued. After which, he returned with the horse gentle and tractable.
When the prince alighted, his father, embracing him with tears of joy and kissing him, said, "My son, seek out a larger" empire, for Macedon is too small "for so vast a spirit."
Bucephalus ever afterwards obeyed Alexander with uniform submission, while he maintained his original fierceness towards other persons. The noble animal accompanied his master through successive labours and dangers, till he was killed in the battle against Porus.
(this account was taken from  Plutarch, Life of Alexander,  6, vol. VII)
explanation about the supplement as can be found in the volume's preface:
*original spelling and grammar*


Thursday, January 15, 2015

Mikhail V. Gorelik - pacem aeternam

My heart is heavy with sadness and sorrow as I must share with you this really sad announcement:
 on January 12, 20015 in Moscow, Russia died don* Mikhail Viktorovich Gorelik (Михаил Викторович Горе́лик) , one of the greatest specialists of pre-modern military history, the history of material culture of the Central Asia nomadic peoples, historical illustrator, academician, archaeologist, educator and prolific writer.
From all the modern military artists and historical reconstructors Mr. Gorelik's work has been the greatest influence and i will sorely miss His wonderful
I see that there is no curriculum vitae Mr Gorelik in English so I sort of took this description of His life from this site and made it into English:

'Mr. Gorelik was born on October 2, 1946 in the city of Narva. But since 1947 he lived in Moscow. Since 1960, he became engaged in the archaeological 'circle' at the State Historical Museum (GIM). In 1961, for the first time he worked in archaeological expedition. In 1964 he graduated from an art high school, specialty graphic designer. In the same year he entered the evening division of the Department of Art History and Theory of historical faculty of Moscow State University and a job in GIM. In 1965 he transferred to the full-time department, from which he graduated in 1969 with a degree in "History of Foreign Art", defended thesis on "Artworks of Behzad." In the same year he entered graduate school at the Department of Art History and Theory of historical faculty of Moscow State University.
In 1973 he defended his thesis on "The Mesopotamian miniature school of the second half of XII - the first half of the XIII century.", Received the degree of candidate of art. In the same year he entered the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences, where he worked until death. Author of over 100 scientific papers. The main topics of scientific interest - the arms and armour of the eastern and southern Eurasia peoples,costume of the Eurasian peoples, the history of the military affairs of the Eurasian peoples, the art of the people of the Orient.
For 15 seasons, participated in archaeological expeditions (around Moscow, Crimea, Khakassia, Tajikistan, Lower Dnieper region).
While still a student began studying graphic reconstructions of weapons and costume. In 1979, in preparation for the celebration of the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kulikovo suggested, developed and implemented on the basis of the material reconstruction GIM series sets of weapons of old Rus warriors and the Golden Horde warriors of  XIV century  for the Museum of Kulikovo and GIM. In subsequent years, developed and managed the production of the material reconstruction of weapons, costumes, equipment for exhibitions at the Museum of History of the Don Cossacks (Starocherkasskaya stanitza/village), in the Vladimir-Suzdal Museum-Reserve, the 'Slovo o Igor's Pulk'( The Tale of Igor's Campaign) Museum (Yaroslavl), the Museum on the Khortisa Island. Khortytsya, Museum of the History of Ukrainian Literature (Kiev), the Regional Museum of Arkalyk in Kazakhstan, the Regional Museum in the city of Novgorod-Seversky, the United Museum-Reserve (Stavropol), the State Museum of the Republic of Tatarstan, the Royal Arsenal (Royal Armouries) (Leeds, England), and for private collections.
Since 1964 (the film "Passion According to Andrei") he had worked as a consultant for more than 20 films. He worked as a costume designer for the film "Nizami" (1980-81, Azerbaijanfilm) and the movie "Ermak" (1991 - 1996, Mosfilm). For the last scene of the craftsmen led M.V.Gorelikom firm "Yarrist" produced weapons of the main characters. In 1997, the MV Gorelik was awarded the National Film Award "Nika" in the category "Best Costume Design" for his film "Ermak". MV Gorelik was an academician of the Russian Academy of Motion Picture Arts.
Recent years, being the president of the cultural and historical Fund "PARK HISTORY" and author of the concept, M.V. Gorelik developed projects for the recreational and educational tourism centers - Parks Stories on historical themes, with a maximum immersion visitors authentic, scientifically credible historical atmosphere.
Died three days ago of heat attack.'

below, some of his numerous works  - mind you Mr Gorelik was the artist-designer behind the famous Osprey book on the Scythians (Mr McBride painted the plates), and cooperated   with David Nicolle, Ph.D. while his articles, eg on the Saka and Samaritan arms and armour, on the Mongols, on the medieval Circassians, on the Kushan arms and armour should be translated into English

  Абрамзон И. Я., Горелик М. В. Научная реконструкция комплекса вооружения русского воина XIV в. и его использование в музейных экспозициях // Куликовская битва в истории нашей Родины (материалы юбилейной научной конференции). М.: Изд.-во Московского университета, 1983. — С. 238—244.  
 М. В. Горелик, Н. М. Фомичев.Рыцарские доспехи XIV века из Азова, Северное Причерноморье и Поволжье во взаимоотношениях Востока и Запада в XII—XVI веках. Ростов-на-Дону, 1989
Горелик М. В. Монголо-татарское оборонительное вооружение второй половины XIV — начала XV в. // Куликовская битва в истории нашей Родины (материалы юбилейной научной конференции). М.: Изд.-во Московского университета, 1983. — С. 244—269
Горелик М. В. Кушанский доспех // Древняя Индия. М.: Наука, 1982, с. 85-89. 
Горелик М. В. Скифский мужской костюм в системе костюма ираноязычных народов древней Евразии // Базы данных по истории Евразии в Средние века. — Вып. 3. — М., 1997.


  • Горелик М. В. Оружие Древнего Востока. IV тысячелетие — IV век до н. э. — М.: Наука-Восточная литература, 1993.
  • Горелик М. В. Оружие Древнего Востока. IV тысячелетие — IV век до н. э. Издание второе, дополненное. — СПб: Атлант, 2003
  • Горелик М. В. Армии монголо-татар X—XIV вв. Воинское искусство, оружие, снаряжение. М.: Издательский дом «Техника-молодежи» и ООО «Восточный горизонт», 2002.

Farewell Maestro, my condolences to your family. Pacem Aeternam
I attached some of his wonderful reconstructions, I do not own nor have any rights to them, so please respect those.  
* I used honorific Spanish and Italian title 'don' - just because I respect and cherish Mr. Gorelik's work and research, unfortunately never had the pleasure to meet him in person.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Crusaders' horse - Outremer

back to horses and away from the madness of our world...

...perhaps the time is ripe to take a look at the Crusades and Outremer (Crusader states in the Levant/Near East ), and by Jove, I will try to do some this year (fingers crossed :) ).

Basically, I have been skipping the Middle Ages (and by that therm I mean the European history between the Muslim conquests of 630sAD and discovery of the Americas), but for several on the Medieval warhorses, saddles etc.

Thanks God, we can use images from the period - great depositories at  Wiki Commons and other fine 'open' websites offer us plenty of opportunities -
so in this spirit several images from the Siculo-Norman cultural area, i.e., the Kingdom of Sicily ruled already then by the Holy Roman Emperor Henry VI  and drawn by Petrus de Ebulo (Pietro or Peter of Eboli) around 1196 AD. The work comes from a manuscript ''Liber ad honorem Augusti'' (held presently in Bern, Switzerland) but published and available here with Italian commentary.
Roger II of Sicily 

The conqueror of the Siculo-Normans - emperor Henry II

Constance of Sicily, clearly riding a palfrey while seating in a side-saddle.

Note that all riders use a form of curb-bit and riding holding reins in one hand.. queen's horse tack is especially rich and beautiful, while her horse seems to be a dapple-grey one.

Dr. David Nicolle and his prodigious amount of work will probably figure strongly in this thread - his two-volume set ''Arms and Armour of the Crusading Era 1050-1350'' is a must here.

It is a great pity to us readers that the American historical fiction writers always and constantly write about the English Medieval history & characters, when there is this great and unploughed field of the continental Medieval history, while,mind you, most of the Americans are either German, French or Spanish in their descent. Seems like the British royals conquered the US popular culture without firing a single shot (after having lost the two wars 200 years ago - 1776-83, and the War of 1812). Cecelia Holland is a notable exception with her many novels, eg the novel 'Antichrist' telling the story of Frederick II, son of said emperor Henry VI, most successful crusade since the creation of Outremer.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Act of terror against 'free expression' in Paris

January 7th should be a joyous day for today's day when the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas (due to their use of Julian calendar), and yesterday the Western Christianity, especially the Catholics around the world celebrated the Feast of Epiphany. (also the Day of Trzech Króli [Three Kings] in Poland).

Yet my heart is filled with heavy sadness, due to the terror attack in central Paris, France; the attack on the notoriously rag-gish French satirical weekly magazine titled ''Charlie Hebdo.'' 

Their art was entirely not 'up my alley,' (being vulgar, profane and often insulting religious believes) nor were to my liking their political statements & views made in their publications etc. 

But by God and our traditions and laws, they had (and we all have) the right to draw and publish our views and ideas, for this is our Western Way of life

    Amongst 12 innocent people killed today in Paris, including 2 policemen,  there were 4 rather famous and well established French artists: Charb ( publishing director of 'Charile Hebdo' ), Cabu, Wolinski & Tignous (staff artists) - all murdered by three black-clad assassins allegedly screaming 'God is Great' in Arabic.
In the past century, the most horrifying XX century, it was the Nazis and Communists who easilyand methodically exterminated millions of people for their believes and opinions held....

Pacem Aeternam  masters of brush and inks... 

I know a little about acts of terror having experienced some ETA attacks in Madrid, Spain then when living in NYC experienced the first attack on the World Trade Center, later on the gym at the WTC, the restaurant & cafe,  and the Borders bookstore at the street level were some of my favorites in that part of Lower Manhattan. On 9-11from the window at my workplace I saw the second airplane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, and then drove my car to Greenpoint/Williamsburg trying to cross over to Manhattan. You know, when the Soviet Union collapsed I did expect a happier, better and peaceful New World...
a look by Forbes at the media (AP, NYTimes et al) and Charlie Hebdo tragedy. 

obvious  question remains 'cui bono' - so  opinions (some extreme) away from the mainstream Western media: Cockburn, old Reaganite  Roberts, Ertem, by Spengler   and Escobar from Asia Times- (9 Jan 2015) - perhaps I will add more in time.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Elear form Abraham van Booth journal 1627 AD

I have been curious about the winged horsearcher sketched, amongst the whole array of our Polish army soldiers, by a Dutch artist Abraham van Booth  circa 1627, and then engraved and published in the Iournael, van de legatie, gedaen in de iaren 1627 en 1628.

He perhaps is an elear that 'worked' before a winged hussar banner/company, sort of 'clearing' the way.
In Polish military history there were cavalrymen called 'elear'/elier/eliar [Polish, singular] and a dictionary of Polish Language (1807 edition)  by Samuel Linde, in volume I on page 617, there is the following explanation of what an 'elear' meant:
''Elear - 'elier,' 'halier,' 'harcownik' (skirmisher), soldier who proceed an army before the battle, soldier sent   forward to give the enemy a quarrel [fight]. From Latin - eligere."
Then he quoted - " Eliers or haliers the best cavalry[men] were called, chosen from the entire army; who to cause the sensation of fear [amongst the enemy] while as a sign of better understanding [between themselves] with red ''binda'' or ''nałęcza'' (scarf)  their chests diagonally girdled."

 Another scholar Marian Czapski, working in the second half of XIX century,  in his work titled ''Historya Konia'' (The History of Horse) talks about the elears in volume II, drawing the name from a Hungarian word 'elore' that was to meant 'forward' thus perhaps this was a type of a skirmisher?

During the Rokosz Zebrzydowskiego  (in 1607) at the battle of Guzów the bravest soldiers were called elears and grouped together so when they charged the royal lines and penetrated them deeply, and one famous horseman amongst thus grouped elears of Janusz Radziwiłł (anti-royal camp) named  Hołownia went as far as the royal tent shouting ''Where is the  Swede" (the King was of Swedish origin) and there he paid the highest price for his daring and 'laesa maiestas'  by being killed.

Amongst the modern scholars,  Richard Brzeziński, in his groundbreaking work ('Polish Winged Hussar 1576-1775') in addition to discussing the elears in winged hussars' companies, provides two images from van Booth's 'Journael van de Legatie' (Amsterdam 1632) -  an engraved drawing and a black-white watercolour (one day I will turn to it in order to do some drawings etc).

Eliari dicti praestantiores equites ex toto exercitu selecti, ad audactorem impressionem faciendam, pro tenerra humeros rubris fasciis praecincti.
(Paweł Piasecki, Kronika, describing the Polish elears at battle of Bucov  on the River of Teleaeyn  in 1600).
Imci pan Samuel Linde w swoim słowniku 'Języka Polskiego' napisał był 200 lat temu -
''Elear - elier, halier, harcownik, poprzedzający woysko przed bitwą; żołnierz przodem wysłany, do dania zaczepki nieprzyjacielom. Z łaciny - eligere (Linde, tom I, strona 617) ''
Dalej pan Samuel podaje cytat: ''Elierami czyli halierami nazywano najprzedniejszą jazdę, wybraną z calego wojska, która na wrażenie trwogi, a na znak większego sobie rozrozumienia, czerwonemi bindami, czyli nałęczami, pierś na ukos przepasywała'' (tamże)
Imci pan Marian Czapski w ''Historii konia'' tom II pisze, że nazwa mogła także pochodzić od wegierskiej komendy ''elöre'' czyli 'naprzód' (strona 458).

O elearach, z ikonografią, w husarii pisze imci pan Richard Brzeziński w ''Polish Winged Hussar.''.
the van Booth's drawing engraved with my sketch of an elear worked over with the GIMP

and my another take on this elear, also manipulated with GIMP

 Now, the shield in the engraving looks a bit like the one carried by the Irish or like the English horsemen in Ireland during the late XVI century campaigns. The watercolour does not have this roundish shield, nor does the second elear sketched and engraved in the published journal.

more images from the same publication:

elears before the winged hussar comapany

a single elear

Healthy  New Year 2015

Polish winged hussar - toy - a closer look

Old Year 2014 is so close to pass the baton to the brand New Year 2015, so aptly we will take a closer look at the toy soldier (for kids and toy collectors) that I introduced in October, sculpted by my friend Grzegorz 'ducz' Kupiec and produced by Tissotoys from Poland.
A week ago I finally received a physical figurine into my happy hands and thus I can show you some photos of it, if you like to take a closer look.

It comes in a box, with a illustration of a old Polish castle in the background, the reverse of the box has plenty of info in 4 languages - there may be some confusion with the name as the makers decided to call this toy soldiers a Polish hussar, when in all languages this horse soldiers was and still is called winged hussar, and a hussar usually means a Hungarian cavalryman.

Now, the horse and rider were attached to the box with small plastic covered wires, so no injury to your little fingires when upacking :), and

you have to put the lance together, as it comes in 2 pieces , the shorter piece has to be put through the hole in the lancer's right hand.

lance- armed hussar before mounting


various angles

The horse stands firmly and does not wobble,  while the rider can play tilt with some other mounted lancers, my son has some Papo, Schleich etc knights & Saracen figurines, armed with lances so they do some lance-play in our children hands.
I hope the make more mounted toys:  more winged hussars, the Tatars, Polish pancerny, Muscovite riders and Swedish and German reitars.
enjoy :)
Happy New Year 2014

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Comanches - equestrian warlike feats - by James Hobbs

let us gallop over to the Great Plains of North America, and the XIX century writings of various military men, trappers, mountainmen and just travellers.

In this instance I would like to bring to your attention Captain James Hobbs of California(portrait taken from his opus magnum) who wrote the grand recollections of the Far West adventures aptly titled ''Wild Life in the Far West: Personal Adventures of a Border Mountain Man'' (1873).

Dear author, on pages 458-9, describes the Comanche mode of mounted fighting (not unlike Mr Catlin quoted already on this blog 12), he mentions a separate mount for war (war pony)or chase(hunting of buffalo/bison) also known famously as a buffalo runner :

There is one warlike feat in which all the Comanche warriors are trained from their infancy. As the man is dashing along with his horse at full speed, he will suddenly drop over the side of his horse, leaving no part of his person visible, except the sole of one foot, which is fastened over the horse’s back, as a purchase 'by' which he can pull himself to an upright position. 
In this attitude he can ride for any distance, and, moreover, can use with deadly effect either his bow or fourteen-foot lance. 

One of their favorite modes of attack is to gallop towards the enemy at full speed, and then, just before they come within range, they drop upon the opposite side of their horses, dash past the foe, and' pour upon him a shower of arrows directed under their horses’ necks, and sometimes even thrown under their bellies. All the time it is nearly useless for the enemy to return the shots, as the whole body of the Comanche is hidden behind the horse, and there is nothing to aim at save the foot just projecting over the animal’s back. 
Sometimes the Comanches try to steal upon their enemies by leaving their lances behind them, slinging themselves along the sides of their steeds, and approaching carelessly, as though they were nothing but a troop of wild horses without riders. A quick eye is needed to detect this ruse, which is generally betrayed by the fact that the horses always keep the same side towards the spectator, which would very seldom be the case were they wild and unrestrained in their movements.

Every Comanche has one favorite horse, which he never mounts, except for war or the chase, using an inferior animal upon ordinary occasions. Swiftness is the chief quality for which the charger is selected, and for no price would the owner part with his favorite steed. Like all uncivilized people, he treats his horse with a strange mixture of cruelty and kindness. While engaged in the chase, for example, he spurs and whips the animal most ruthlessly; but as soon as he returns, he carefully hands over his valued animal to his women, who are waiting to receive it, and who treats it as if it were a cherished member of the family.

the images enclosed are some of the rather fanciful engravings from the very book, some taken after George Catlin's paintings
*original spelling