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FC_Lymond

Do Paintings exist in Westeros?

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When I think about medieval art, paintings (as oils on canvas) aren't the first thing that come to my mind. There were a lot of mural paintings and paintings done on wood, but most of it was comissioned by the church, e.g. altar pieces. Non-sacral art, like portraits of relatives, only really started with the beginning of the renaissance, iirc. And the renaissance started earlier in Italy than in the rest of Europe, so it would make sense if the mediterranean-inspired Dornsih were ahead of the rest of Westeros in that respect ;)

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Well, when Jaime is reading the White Book, he reflects that whenever a new knight takes the white, a new page is written about him, and they have to wait for a septon from the Great Sept to come, three times a year, to draw and paint the coat-of-arms. If there truly were paintings and artists all over Westeros, would be much simpler to just hire one, instead of waiting months for a septon's visit.

So there probably exists none, aside from shield painting, which is more craft than art.

This makes me think of Byzantine culture where painting was even more strictly tied to religion than in Western Europe and also highly codified. IIRC there's also the description of a smaller sept at some point (I think either during Catelyn's journey, or in AFfC, sorry my memory fails me) that apparently couldn't afford statues of the Seven so had substituted them with rough drawings on the wall. I remember seeing an 11th century crypt here in Northern Italy that had something like that. And yeah, I agree with Lucidize that secular figurative art wasn't just much of thing prior to the Renaissance, which started earlier in Italy and in the Flanders than in Britain and Central Europe... it would be interesting to see more of the culture of the Free Cities in this regard.

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If painting was mentioned more frequently in this series, I for some reason would imagine it to be more prevalent and valued in the south of Westeros (as well as Essos) than in the north. As someone with an interest in painting and art in general, I would love to learn more about art in Westeros...Even if most of it is not especially relevant to the storyline. ^_^


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They have illuminated books and paintings in lockets, and there is a portrait of a Targayren princess hanging at the Water Gardens. I guess they probably have religious paintings on wood too, and maybe frescoes.


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As Ran pointed out (twice now), portraits can be made with a variety of techniques; Painting (various styles), tapestries, mosaics, and so on.



Westeros seems to me to be about early-high medieval when it comes to the arts. Sculpture is clearly known and fairly well developed, as is weaving and some forms of painting, mainly applied to such items as shields. So probably the painting technique is limited to tempera-painting, which doesn't lend itself as well to portraits as oil painting.



It would seem that portrait painting and the use of more "modern" paint styles such as true oil painting, which in our world really didn't become popular/possible until the reneissance, aren't around in Westeros.


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If miniatures are "in the Myrish style," I assume that means there are places in Essos with a more "Renaissance" culture. Myr produces glass blowers, telescopes, glasses (Rodrik the Reader orders a "lens" from Myr so he could read better), carpets, tapestries, and I'm sure I've forgotten stuff. Braavos has a thriving mercantile culture. I think the Free Cities are where the "Renaissance" is happening.



Westeros needs a Renaissance, so I hope some of these cultural ideas can be imported.


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If miniatures are "in the Myrish style," I assume that means there are places in Essos with a more "Renaissance" culture. Myr produces glass blowers, telescopes, glasses (Rodrik the Reader orders a "lens" from Myr so he could read better), carpets, tapestries, and I'm sure I've forgotten stuff. Braavos has a thriving mercantile culture. I think the Free Cities are where the "Renaissance" is happening.

Westeros needs a Renaissance, so I hope some of these cultural ideas can be imported.

Technically, "lenses" for reading were made and used in the medieval period: http://www.antiquespectacles.com/history/ages/through_the_ages.htm

Same thing with blowing glass, making carpets and tapestries.

None of these things are specifically "reneissance", though they did become more widespread and popular during that period as opposed to the late medieval (time "periods" being an artificial construct anyway, it's hardly surprising there's some overlap).

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Paintings and portraits played a large role late medieval Europe. Lords filled their houses with pictures of their ancestors. The many portraits of Henry VIII and Elizabeth are quite famous. I just found it interesting that there is almost no such thing in Westeros.

Well, technically speaking, Henry VIII and Elizabeth ruled after the middle ages and into the Renaissance. I think, and I might be wrong, that courts had more money to expend in frivolities by then than during the Middle Ages/Westeros.

Besides, it's fiction. The world is incredibly detailed, but it can't be fully and completely covered.

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