Part two of two

Perhaps the following images hewed too close to the author’s bone.

Fig. 1 “Celebration of the Hairmange” ca 1260 (detail)

Part of the much larger, much more confusing work “Celebration of the Hairmange,” often credited to Shamwiche the Snipp’d, this fragment (known in both Estonian liturgical circles and European truck stop showers as “The Watering of Paul” or “Blue Budulo“) has fascinated weirdos for centuries. Legends of its very existence dismissed by scholars of the time as “a bunch’a crap,” the fascinating tableaux has proven a goldmine of insight into adverse living conditions, to say nothing of unsanitary food preparation.
Scenes like these also provide glimpses into such archaic customs as face painting, hair manipulation, textile fashions, jugware, metallurgy, and simple levitation, as well as details of contemporary mathematics, surgical techniques, and diet. Whole societies in places as diverse as Slovakia and Chicago are believed to have derived from the myriad interpretations of this fragment alone. Some of the more interesting theories were collected by Wordner in his sophomore studies and are reprinted below:
1) The subject is not a victim but a patient, the operating table smartly ignored by the artist to give an unobstructed view of the procedure. We can assume the patient is anesthetized by the hanging bowl and sponge over which the nurse is pouring some narcotic or otherwise foul smelling concoction. The patient’s right side catheter is plainly visible as are the ghostly disembodied forearms of the otherwise unpainted surgeon as he adjusts his charge’s bedding.
2) As part of a dream sequence within the entire work, this fragment must be regarded as mostly symbolic. Therefore, the severed organ only represents an emasculation, possibly by the serving figure, who might stand for the artist’s wife or care giver. The startling feeding contraption might be some fetishistic consumption fantasy harbored by the artist; a medieval Lube Goldberg. The bloodless knifewound would suggest either a post mortum event or an organic incorporation/rejection of the weapon itself.
3) The figure in blue is an acrobat, precariously balancing himself on his elbows while increasing weight is added to the bowl perched upon the apple clenched between his teeth in the form of boiling pitch, poured by his lovely assistant. The woman, with her fascinating feet, had previously stabbed and mutilated him as part of the act, making for an especially rousing conclusion.
4) Representing both birth and death, the fragment depicts a subject who has died in the act of performing his task, a task that required him to hand-rub his legs with purple dye, that now has left him bereft of life as he lays prostate after prostate on the floor before joining them in lying prostrate. His matching hat, superfluous to this deadly task, is thoughtfully cared for by the incarnation of mother earth as she fills her vessel with teaty fluids gathered from the ripened fruits behind her. These juices are tantamount to life itself, but notice how careful she is not to overpour!
Statler and Waldorf, in their many forays into deconstruction of chimera obscura, have compared the fragment to a lusty gibbon, swinging naked through the trees in search of a musky mate, only to find naught but hardened oaks await him, as the females have all moved out of the jungle and into hi rise tenements across the canal.
Applied to waxed-gooseflesh, the artist used foxbelly, pea-sized cock feathers, wildebeest muzzle and grouse napes to provide pigment.


Fig. 2 “Young Love” ca 1420

Young Love” by D’Antonionio Nicolazzia.
Reportedly former first lady Nancy Reagan’s favorite painting, this tender glimpse into the cloistered world of the Roman Catholic Bishopcy and all its passions has delighted romance fans for centuries. In this closeup, we can see how a mailman (top, identified by the sealed letter in his hatband) might have enacted an afternoon puja with his papal manpal while on his appointed rounds.
Painting entirely in viscera, Nicolazzia was said to have spent years on his masterwork (“Schifezza Assoluta,” not shown) before starting on “Young Love,” finishing it a mere one hundred and seventy two thousand eight hundred seconds later. The playful nibbles our lovers trade recall summer nights spent in pursuit of youth’s mysteries. Depicting the literal flames of its protagonists’ hearts, the story goes that each would play the role of tortoise and hare in their monthly re-enactments of the classic fable. In those days, lovers would often perform theatrical shorts in their yard backs during autumns, dressing in child-sewn gowns of Indian silkworm milk and reciting insipid platitudes.
Nicolazzia was a student of life, he used to say, much to the chagrin of his lifelong mentor, Fr. Au Giulo, creator of “Ragu e Romano,” which graces the southern entrance to the great St. Hatrick’s Cathedral, site of this year’s Super Howl. As a boy, D’Antonionio showed no interest in the arts, being more interested in the darts, particularly their throwing, a skill which would serve him well as the trusted chef to His Pederasty, King Bromine The Girthless. After securing his internship within the confines of the upper crust, the budding artist and homosexual began keeping a diary which was to become the basis for not only the future of European Romance verse but most modern jazz metal as well.
Hired by royal oil tea merchants to paint their kettles and pots, young Nicolazzia moved on to painting royal boudoirs and bidets before painting the regals themselves.
Initially applying his oils to the royals and then coaxing them into rolling onto his canvas, the artist quickly surmised a less intrusive, more accurate way of capturing their likenesses: by having them sit motionless, preferably in a bright, enclosed space, for a long enough period of time for him to reproduce their appearance in paint on a flat surface, usually prepared canvas or wood.
However, his genius no longer content with what came to revolutionize portraiture in his lifetime, Nicolazzia soon began experimenting with not only surfaces to receive his growing palette of colorful media, but the very media itself, incorporating blood and tissue samples of friends and family as well as crushed bugs and leftover vomits. Eventually settling on butcher’s castoffs, the visionary artist found the colors he required to capture not only the likeness of his subject but also their loathing and disapproval of the medium in which he would flourish.


Fig. 3 “After Supper” ca 1460

After Supper” by either Olfred the Elder or Olfred the Youthful, as even among experts the two painters’ styles are all but indistinguishable. However, Olfred the Youthful was rumored to only move a dry brush over his father’s paintings in pretense so as to impress nearsighted maidens into bedding down with him. With at least seventeen children to his name, including five that lived, young Olfred must have been successful.
With eight-ball bladders of probable oxen wine and their tootsman’s bugles, the two center lads turn their Sunday fishing poles into primitive cattle prods. By employing a sort of “Bombay charger,” the bearer could deliver mild tinglings which some people at the time found unappealing. Of course, it’s impossible for the viewer to discern the content of those same sacks, possibly filled with a potent acid or just a fermented alcoholic beverage. In lieu of dentists, most people alive then were known to imbibe harsh beanmeads (what we today would call moonshine) as both a relaxant and a mouthwash, even swallowing all the detritus and toothrot in attempts to strengthen the gut. The troupe’s matching footwear suggest our randy frolickers may have worked on a shoe farm or perhaps for a benevolent cobbler.
There are myriad accepted interpretations of the piece: it is indeed an eight man scene, with two volunteering for the role of dress up; it depicts a vile and loathsome picnic, its menu full of foul debauchery, grossly overstuffed with two separate ménage à quatres; the women are captured from their kitchens as cooks for the King, made into maids; the subject on the far right is the only figure in white pant and uncovered head, suggesting a messianic or mere observer, an outsider caught up in the revelry only too late realizing his misfortune; or it is the two females who are overtaking our drunken band of foolbags, grabbing them by the gonnies, taking stark stock of their maleness.
But perhaps it is just as it seems: the two witches are to be cast into the swamp, while the two pipers pipe. Clearly brought in a direction opposite that of the river, these demons were to be swamped to death, gurgled and swallowed by the thick bogmuck, not dashed by rocks in a fast moving current of icy water.
Indisputable is the fact that our two tooters are lovers: see how they have hurriedly misdressed in each other’s outerjackets, no doubt interrupted from some undepicted carnality. Their identical accessories belie a synchronous existence, the two likely sharing more than occupations and hobbies.
The work is rendered mule fat with pomegranate and quince for color on stretched whale bone backer, a first for either Olfred, both usually painting on sundried sealskin.


Fig. 4 (unknown) ca 1500

In this unidentified artist’s rendition, two Fhakespearean actors demonstrate elaborate air-to-sea rescue methods like this one of impaling the drowning person with a whaling groofe to haul them upward to the vessel or onto dry land if possible. The unintentional disembowelings led to less painful innovations like nooses and grappling hooks, though by then life preservers had became fashionable, with independent, forward thinking young maidens wearing them on the meads of what is today called Newark.
The drownee’s banana and fig frock, popular with Roman expatriates in the Jamaicas at the time, shows a Slavic mindset, particularly when paired, as here, with pre-Flemish spatterdash and matching Scot boykilt. Discarding his fifteen pound sword, the hapless soaker affects a backfloat to give the groofer a larger target.
Our spearman’s pant- and shirtaloons were state of the art, as was his woolen hat and beard. Notice the longsash smartly turned into both an ouchsafe (an early late Medieval form of johnbelt) and thigh girdle. His ultra-restrictive stockings afforded his calves and footsoles a near invulnerability, but also often caused gangrene if not removed within forty-eight hours, which was almost as long as it took to put them on.
Naturally, these kind of daring rescues became eroticised in cheap printed smut commonly found in common bath grounds in and around what is now Round Rock, leading to their falling out of favor in middlebrow society, and soon our waterboys would be out of work.


Even with these omissions, “The Middle Ages, Pt. 3” is an excellent analysis of Medieval artworks and their fascinating origins. All in all, a fine addition to the ever growing library of Gumlard’s “World of Art” series.