Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Pavilion of Heraclius

Agnolo Gaddi: The Dream of Emperor Heraclius
ca. 1385-87

This large fresco shows some useful details. Note how the upper part of the valence is a smooth cylinder in contrast to the the fringe and walls below it, which hang in visible folds.

The stabilizing ropes exit the tent just below the bottom of the upper part of the valence, and descend far too steeply to spread the roof. The shape of the valence and location and angle of the ropes strongly suggest a rigid internal hoop. The central pole is very thick: perhaps it is sunk into the ground and expected to take a bigger share of the tent's lateral stresses than usual.

A detail of the valence decoration.

Here is a detail of a horizontal band of gold decoration on the tent wall.

Here the gold leaf has flaked away from the ground of the band of decoration allowing you to more easily see the pattern. You can also see the pattern on the emperor's coverlet

A rectangular tent with a vertical end wall is visible behind the emperor's pavilion. As the angel appears to Heraclius, the banner atop his tent blows away from the angel, contrary to the wind direction shown by the other banners.

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