PART FOUR: CHASUBLES OF THE 17TH CENTURY
|Figure 1. Simply-decorated chasuble |
made by the Saint Bede Studio in
the style of Saint Philip Neri.
This post concerns the style of chasuble found in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and in particular that form which has been associated through art with Saint Philip Neri. From the earliest years of the Church until about the sixteenth century, the conical or bell-shaped chasuble had been the norm for the ministers at the altar. In the thirteenth century, as described in part two of this series, the shape of that chasuble was slightly modified for the greater convenience of the wearer.
As has been written about in Part Three of this series, Saint Charles Borromeo prescribed dimensions he believed to be the minimum in order for a chasuble to conform to Tradition. He prescribed that the chasuble was to be very long, reaching at the back almost to the heels of the wearer and wide enough so that it reached to at least half way between the elbow and the wrist.
|Figure 2. Well-known seventeenth century painting |
of Saint Philip Neri.
|Figure 3. Carving on the door of a Roman |
basilica shewing Saint Vitalis vested
in a chasuble of the 17th century form.
Image: Orbis Catholicus Secundus.
Presently, there is a revived interest in the Saint Philip Neri form of chasuble. The Saint Bede Studio regularly receives enquiries about such chasubles which seem to appeal because they are very Roman in character, based in Tradition, but yet not in the exaggerated form of the eighteenth century. Another reason, of course, is that they are very convenient to wear. Priests comment that they find this form of chasuble most suitable for the celebration of the Mass according to the Ordinary and Extraordinary usages.
|Figure 4. 1628 painting by Francisco Herrera the Elder of |
Saint Bonaventure receiving Holy Communion
from an Angel: the priest vested in a chasuble of
the Saint Philip Neri form.
Click on the images for an enlarged view.