(The description of Cantiga 42 in each of its six panels I borrow from John E. Keller, "The Threefold Impact of the Cantigas de Santa Maria: Visual, Verbal, and Musical" in Studies on the Cantigas de Santa Maria: Art, Music and Poetry", Madison: 1987,7-33.)
is not original to Spain... It was known abroad before the thirteenth
century, and it appears in a stained glass window of the church
of Le Mans in France. Stith Thompson lists it in his Motif-index
(1955-1958) as "T.376: Young man betrothed to statue"
(see also Baum 1919 and Keller 1959c). It is especially dramatic
in plot, it offers facets of daily life both indoors and out,
and it is the only picture in Spanish iconography of a ball game
before or during the thirteenth century. Look first at the reproduction
and recall that it, like all other six-panel frames of miniatures,
measures 50 by 30 centimeters, a space large enough to provide
a detailed depiction of events. The oldest extant version of this
story appears in a twelfth-century French manuscript, without
illumination and written in Latin. In that version the statue
is that of the goddess Venus and not of the Virgin Mary. Interestingly
enough, the young man in the Latin version was also a ball-player.
Whether or not Alfonso's version drew upon the Latin story and
Christianized it is not known. But his poem on the subject seems
to be the first occurrence in medieval Spanish.
Each of the impacts, the verbal, the visual, and the musical, is impressive in its own right, but, when combined, the three media offer a most unusual experience." (Keller, 26, 30)