Roundel with Scenes of the Attack on the Castle of Love


On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14

The attack on the Castle of Love became a popular image in the fourteenth century and is represented here with particular delicacy. Twenty- eight figures and five horses occupy the ground in front of the castle, as well as its battlements and windows. At the top the crowned and winged god of love prepares to launch an arrow toward the lower left. The castle is defended by women armed with roses that they hurl at the attacking knights. The knights are greeted by some women with welcoming gestures; and, in the upper left, a woman offers a crown to one of the trumpeters, who will announce the playful joust to take place before the portcullis.

Two armed knights, their shields decorated with roses, ride in from the right to face their female opponents. A third, who has lost his shield and removed his helmet, stands on his horse to embrace a woman in a window to the left of the castle entrance.

The ivory disk is the size and shape of fourteenth- century mirror cases, some of which are decorated with the same theme; but the reverse is, uncharacteristically, threaded at the edge, suggesting that the disk may have been the cover of a circular box.

#144. Cover with Scenes of the Attack on the Castle of Love

Roundel with Scenes of the Attack on the Castle of Love, Elephant ivory, French

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