Monday, 30 September 2013

Botticelli :
The Last Communion of Saint Jerome

This painting by the renowned Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) is titled The Last Communion of Saint Jerome and was painted around 1495. A priest is shewn with acolytes in a small chapel giving Communion to Saint Jerome. The Altar Cross is decorated with palm branches and a housling cloth is laid on the ground beneath the priest and the saint. It is not clear whether the acolytes are wearing albes or surplices. If they are albes, they are decorated with textile apparels, but neither an amice or a cincture is visible. 

A detail of the painting, depicting the priest's vestments, is shewn below.  

The priest is wearing a linen albe which is decorated with textile apparels of blue damask at the lower edge and at the cuffs. His red chasuble - in the semi-conical form - is ornamented in the Italian manner, namely a column upon the back and a TAU upon the front.  This ornament is made from the same textile as the apparels on the albe. A rather narrow maniple is also shewn.

Botticelli's painting illustrates that in Florence at the end of the 15th century, ample vestments in accordance with ancient traditions were still being used.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.