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A wanton wenche vppon a colde daye With Snowe balles prouoked me to play
January 16, 2013 4:05 PM   Subscribe

Who knew so many awesome snowball fights were immortalized in medieval paintings?

See also, ice skating, sledding, and sleigh riding.
posted by Dr. Fetish (23 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

 
Can I give you a favorite twice? One for the post, and one for the post title? #respect
posted by Wordshore at 4:12 PM on January 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


This is hilarious.
posted by 2bucksplus at 4:14 PM on January 16, 2013


Ok, some grade school history teacher needs to use this to convince kids that studying medieval times is really cool or there's no justice in the world.
posted by gusandrews at 4:24 PM on January 16, 2013


It was because of the Little Ice Age. A lot of those areas in Europe weren't used to having snow. They immortalized them in that art because it was considered noteworthy.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 4:31 PM on January 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Totally awesome. What made it for me was the 2nd link, 5th photo - lady copping a snowball to the face. I really need to spend a month in a snowy country. *sigh*
posted by ninazer0 at 4:31 PM on January 16, 2013


We only had one big snow in London last winter, and a SNOWWAR promptly broke out in my street at pub-chucking-out time. Everyone in the street was instantly involved-- restaurant staff, people on the roof terrace of a nearby bar, passers-by who got caught in the crossfire and stayed for revenge-- everyone.

I have never been so glad to own a medieval-style helm and buckler.
posted by Pallas Athena at 4:33 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is totally awesome. The only way it could be awesomer is with the addition of medieval snow forts.
posted by aubilenon at 4:54 PM on January 16, 2013


It snowed today but turned into a miserable slush quickly so no great snowball fights were had. Thanks for posting this.
posted by safetyfork at 4:55 PM on January 16, 2013


Fantastic site. Could spend hours here. And I will. Work hours.
posted by misterbee at 5:42 PM on January 16, 2013


This is lovely. "Throwing snow", as my dad, an African student in Durham, 1948, said.
posted by glasseyes at 5:58 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is utterly delightful, Dr. Fetish.

And now I feel a tad remorseful that I was grumpy about our little local snowstorm today. I could have been out there instagramming events for mefites a few centuries down the line.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:01 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was because of the Little Ice Age. A lot of those areas in Europe weren't used to having snow. They immortalized them in that art because it was considered noteworthy.

These images range over hundreds of years. And that's to say nothing of the fact that there is no scientific agreement as to the onset date of the Little Ice Age (NASA places it firmly after the Middle Ages by any definition) or the fact that its effects would have crept up slowly on people over generations. So, no, this isn't a tenable nypothesis.
posted by yoink at 6:10 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is so great.
posted by rtha at 6:35 PM on January 16, 2013


I remember the first time I saw 'snow on the ground', it was May 1985 and we were day trippers to the slopes of Mt Fuji. Now I know that was barely a frost, having the experience of two Finnish winters.

Thank you for a lovely link.
posted by infini at 7:32 PM on January 16, 2013


I'm a little bit grossed out by the thought of what was in those snowballs, given what we know of medieval sanitation... ;)
posted by Mokusatsu at 7:36 PM on January 16, 2013


Karen Larsdatter's website is really a treasure. The only flaw is that she doesn't host the materials she's linking to herself; she links to museums' websites, etc. And those sites often move or remove materials, breaking the links. Still, it's a wonderful site.

Two owls ice skating.
posted by litlnemo at 7:36 PM on January 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


That picture. Of the owls. Oh my god.
posted by feckless at 8:44 PM on January 16, 2013


We had the perfect snowfall here in Western MA last night for snowballs. Nice and sticky. So nice that on returning from a dog walk, I commenced to rolling up a snowball that grew in short order to the height of my waist, whereupon it was too heavy to roll any more.

Perhaps I shall paint a triptych of it.
posted by Camofrog at 8:51 PM on January 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


aubilenon: "This is totally awesome. The only way it could be awesomer is with the addition of medieval snow forts"

No need, they had real ones back then.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 9:36 PM on January 16, 2013


"Medieval" refers to the roughly 1000 year period 500-1500 .. these paintings are all relegated to the last 200 years, 1300-1400 and later, Gothic art. Our image of "Medieval" is usually heavily informed by this period even though the other 800 years were very different. It would probably be a challenge to find snowball fights depicted in Early Christian art, Migration Period art, Byzantine art, Insular art, Pre-Romanesque and Romanesque art.
posted by stbalbach at 12:37 AM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


yea this is Renaissance stuff; the Medieval period art was much more restrained and dark and controlled by the Church to the point that secular art like this basically didn't exist.
posted by lonefrontranger at 6:58 AM on January 17, 2013


Medieval art was "dark"? Like black paint? Or religious subjects?
posted by stbalbach at 9:37 AM on January 17, 2013


"the Medieval period art was much more restrained and dark and controlled by the Church to the point that secular art like this basically didn't exist."

Jugglers, first half of the 11th century.
Acrobats, 11th-12th century.
Another juggler, late 11th century.
A man teaches the alphabet to a trained bear, 12th century

No snowball fights that I could find, but I wouldn't be surprised if one turned up, honestly.
posted by litlnemo at 3:02 PM on January 17, 2013


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