Church of St. Benedict in Mals, South Tyrol, before 881AD




The paintings on the north wall of a chapel dedicated to St Benedict at Mals (or Malles) in the Italian Tyrol, once a dependency of Müstair, consist of two zones of which the lower has almost entirely perished. In the upper are scenes from the life of St Paul, the martyrdom of St Stephen, and figures of St Gregory and three other tonsurati. St Stephen and St Gregory reappear on the east wall together with a portrayal of Christ, and three other figures are painted in the three altar niches. On panels between the niches are two donors, one in contemporary dress holding his sword, the other a priest offering a model of the church. Donor portraits belong to a long Italian tradition. These are impressive examples, in style mingling Carolingian art with the indigenous traditions of northern Italy. They are attributed to a period before (Grabar thinks probably not long before) 881.
p46, The Pictorial Arts of the West, 800-1200, Volume 27 By Charles Reginald Dodwell
Donor portrait in the church of St. Benedict in Mals, South Tyrol, east-wall, between the three apsidal niches, "on the north side a personage in secular dress, bare-headed, holding his sword with both hands."
From: G. B. Ladner, Images and Ideas in the Middle Ages: Selected Studies in History and Art, 1983, p. 158. Source

Malles, chiesa di san benedetto, ritratto del fondatore della chiesa, affresco IX secolo



Referenced on p.21, Carolingian Cavalryman AD 768-986 by D. Nicolle
Amongst fragmentary wall paintings in a church high in the Italian Alps, is this 9th-century illustration of a man holding a sheathed sword with a sword-belt or baldric wrapped around the scabbard. He is thought to represent a 'donor figure'. (Oratory of San Benedetto, Malles Venosta, Italy)



Referenced by "Carolingian Arms and Armor in the Ninth Century" by Simon Coupland, in Viator: Medieval and Renaissance Studies v.21 (1990)
See also Charlemagne and Pippin the Hunchback, Manuscript, Italy, 10th century
Other 9th Century Illustrations of Costume & Soldiers