Tristan the musician

Tristan the musician

Thomas of Britain

late 12th or early 13th century

England or France

Manuscript

Amongst the fragments of Thomas’s Tristan in this manuscript is an illustration depicting Tristan playing the harp. Thomas’s poem is part of a so-called ‘courtly branch’ of the Tristan legend, in which developing expectations of courtliness and chivalry were being idealized and tested. Tristan is highly accomplished not only in the arts of war, but also in conversation, hunting, music and poetry.

Comments

20/03/2012

Nicholas Perkins

Thank you Judy – there is a debate about the identity of the figure, and the text here certainly supports the argument that it's Iseut playing and singing. Exploring their emotions through the shared language of song is one of the most powerful strands of the text. I'll update the caption to reflect this!

29/01/2012

Judy Shoaf

I believe this image shows Iseut harping. One can read in the text, "La reine chante dulcement / La voix acorde al enstrument" [The queen sings softly, harmonizing her voice with the instrument." In this scene I believe she sits alone while Tristan is away in Brittany.

A Tristan tile from Chertsey Abbey
A Tristan tile from Chertsey Abbey
A lover's gift
A lover's gift
Tristan's madness
Tristan's madness
Tristan the musician
Tristan the musician
Two meaningful rings
Two meaningful rings
Dante imagines the dangers of romance
Dante imagines the dangers of romance