Wednesday, 1 July 2015

The medieval toolchest: the plane part 1 revisited

Sometimes you encounter a little gem when looking in books or browsing through the internet. This happened a week ago when I found a painting of  Saint Peter Martyr Healing the leg of a young man at the digital images of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The painting of tempera and gold on a wooden panel is Italian and made by Antonio Vivarini around 1450. The painting belongs to a set of 8 panel all set around Saint Peter Martyr (1205-1252). Antonio Vivarini had his workshop in Venice. This particular scene depicts Saint Peter Martyr miraculously healing a young man who, remorseful at having kicked his mother, had cut off his leg. The scene, however, is set at a carpenters workshop and more likely depicts a carpenter who has hit himself with a (single bevel) broad axe in his leg while squaring the log. 

More interesting on the panel are the tools. First is the large Italian style try or jointer plane hanging on the wall next to frame saw. Typically, as already mentioned in the blogpost on Italian style medieval planes, is the hollowed out hand-grip at the end of the plane. Also the frame saw is worth mentioning. The blade of the saw has belly shape. Finally interesting to mention is the collection of sawn wooden planks standing against the wall, showing that they were indeed common during the late middle ages.

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