Thursday 31 October 2013

South Korea : 1

The Saint Bede Studio has completed a commission for two sets of vestments for a Latin Mass Community in South Korea. This is the Studio's first work in Asia. The first set is shewn in the adjacent photographs.

This is a Low Mass set in the Saint Philip Neri style of the 16th century. The vestments were made from an English ecclesiastical brocade and ornamented with an Italian damask in colours of wine red and gold. A floral galloon outlines the ornament.


Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Monday 21 October 2013

Tilting at Windmills

"Tilting at Windmills", a phrase that has come to mean attacking imaginary enemies.

This expression is explained at The Phrase Finder:

Tilting is jousting. "Tilting at windmills" derives from Cervantes' Don Quixote - first published in 1604, under the title The Ingenious Knight of La Mancha. The novel recounts the exploits of would-be knight Don Quixote and his loyal servant Sancho Panza who propose to fight injustice through chivalry. It is considered one of the major literary masterpieces and remains a best seller in numerous translations. In the book, which also gives us the adjective quixotic (striving for visionary ideals), the eponymous hero imagines himself to be fighting giants when he attacks windmills.

Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."

"What giants?" asked Sancho Panza.

"Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length."

"Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone."

The figurative reference to tilting at windmills came a little later. John Cleveland published The character of a London Diurnall in 1644 (a diurnall was, as you might expect, part-way between a diary or journal):

"The Quixotes of this Age fight with the Wind-mills of their owne Heads."

The full form of the phrase isn't used until towards the end of the 19th century.

Saint Stephen Protomartyr
Fifteenth Century

The above painting, dating from around the year 1450, is a reproduction of the left-panel in a diptych, painted by the French Renaissance artist Jean Fouquet and formerly in the Church in Melun (near Paris). It depicts Saint Stephen with the French diplomat Etienne Chevalier.

Saint Stephen is depicted wearing an ample dalmatic made from what appears to be black velvet (but it may be black wool).  It is ornamented with clavi formed from strips of a silk damask of a familiar Renaissance pattern. The dalmatic is extremely simple.

The more ancient form of the amice is also shewn, being very ample and not fitting closely around the neck. To this amice, an apparel is attached made from the same silk damask as the dalmatic's ornament. It was usual in the mediaeval period and beyond for an amice apparel to match the ornament of the vestments. Usual, too, was that the stole and maniple also matched the ornamentation of the vestments, rather than matching the base colour (namely, the liturgical colour of the vestments).

We find the following information at the Web Gallery of Art.

This is the left wing of a diptych, originally located in Melun. The diptych was in the chancel of the Church of Notre-Dame at Melun, south of Paris, from 1461 until about 1775, when the two halves became separated.

Etienne Chevalier, who came from Melun, was French Ambassador to England in 1445 and six years later became Treasurer to Charles VII of France. He presented the diptych (of which this panel forms the left wing), to his native town around 1450; on this wing he had himself painted next to his patron saint, Stephen. The saint is holding a book, on which a jagged stone is lying, as a symbol of his martyrdom. The formal architecture in the background is in the Italian Renaissance style showing pilasters with coloured inlaid marble panels between them. On the wall, receding in perspective, the name Etienne Chevalier is inscribed several times. Originally the donor and the saint were looking towards the Madonna, who occupied the right wing of the diptych; this panel found its way into the Antwerp Museum.

According to a description of the paintings by Denis Godefroy in 1661, the original frames were covered in blue velvet. Round each picture were strands of gold and silver thread, in which the donor's initials were woven in pearls. There were also gilded medallions on which stories of the saints were represented.

Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame de Melun, founded in 1013.

Thursday 17 October 2013

Puginesque Vestments
for the Season "Per Annum"

Pictured adjacent is the Saint Giles chasuble, a familar style to readers of this Blog. It is a simplified version of a design by A.W.N. Pugin.  A green brocade (Emerald green on a very dark base colour) is ornamented with a Puginesque braids in red and gold and lined in scarlet-red. The braids were produced exclusively for the Saint Bede Studio.

This chasuble was commissioned by a priest of the Archdiocese of Sydney.


Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Monday 14 October 2013

Consecration of the Human Race
to Mary's Immaculate Heart

In Saint Peter's Square, on Sunday, 13th October, Mass was celebrated by Pope Francis as part of the celebrations marking his Consecration of the World to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The renowned Fatima statue was brought to Rome for the occasion and enthroned in a place of honour.

In these photographs, Pope Francis is shewn venerating the statue.

Photographs: Copyright Getty Images.

Thursday 10 October 2013

Pontificalia of the Fourteenth Century

The above painting of Saint Nicholas of Myra was painted by the Florentine artist Pacino di Bonaguida, who worked at the beginning of the Fourteenth century (1302 to before 1340).

The website of the J Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles) tells us that twentieth-century scholars reconstructed Pacino da Bonaguida's career, based upon his only known signed painting: an altarpiece in the Accademia Gallery in Florence. Pacino spent his entire career in Florence, where, in addition to altarpieces, he painted miniatures and decorations for illuminated manuscripts. He is considered the inventor of miniaturism, a style distinguished by a clear organisation of the painting surface into multiple small-scale scenes.

This work, which is painted in an iconographic style, depicts Saint Nicholas as a bishop of the the early Fourteenth century. Visible in the painting are the bishop's chasuble, amice apparel, a liturgical book, gloves, ring, crosier and mitre.

The condition of the above reproduction of Pacino's painting being what it is, it is not possible to determine precisely the colour of the chasuble. Certainly its lining is black, so we are inclined to think this semi-conical chasuble is of black damask, figured with gold quatrefoils. The fabric may, however, be a very dark green. The ornament of the chasuble is quite interesting, since it is a very early example of a woven braid, or at least is depicted as such. We can tell this since at the intersection point of the TAU piece (which rests upon the chest) the designs can be seen quite clearly to be disappearing beneath the horizontal ornament. Were the entire orphrey embroidered, such an arrangement would be avoided. The woven braid itself consists of geometrical patterns, rather than religious figures, and these designs are presented in colours of red, black and gold on a neutral background.

This early example of the TAU ornament is interesting also since it is really in the shape of a Cross " t " rather than " T ". Unlike the presentation of the TAU in later centuries, this decoration has a very short horizontal band. Sitting around the neckline is an amice apparel which, although of a different design, is woven in similar colours to the chasuble orphrey.

The white Episcopal gloves being worn by Saint Nicholas appear to be embroidered with a coat of arms. In his right hand, the Saint is depicted holding a liturgical book, whether it be an Evangelarium or a Sacramentary is unable to be determined.

Upon his head, Saint Nicholas is shewn to be wearing a precious mitre in the eary mediaeval style. It is of white linen or silk and is ornamented in the usual style with the circulus and titulus bands.  These are of embroidered geometric designs upon a gold background.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.