Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Way of Salvation

As we are in the week following the Feast of Christ the King (OF) and as we come to the beginning of Advent, with its eschatalogical themes, it seems appropriate to post this image of The Way of Salvation of circa 1365-1368.

It was painted by Andrea da Firenze or di Bonaiuto (circa 1346 - post May 16, 1379) in what is now the Cappella Spagnuolo in Florence's basilica of Santa Maria Novella. This is the Dominican church, and the painting would have been seen by Bishop Richard Fleming when he was in attendance on Pope Martin V who lived at Sta Maria Novella in 1418-20 - indeed Fleming was almost certainly consecrated as a bishop at the basilica or in the papal apartments which still survive there.


Image: Web Gallery of Art

A larger photograph of the painting can be viewed here.

As readers will see the figures at the lower base are reproduced in the mast head to this blog. Not only is there the Fleming connection, but the figures of Pope and Emperor, King, Cardinal, Bishops and religious seemed to me to encapsulate many of the themes the Clever Boy wants to write about. The Clever Boy is not that clever when it comes to technical matters, so the mast head, along with the fleur-de-lys at the side are the work of his computational Eminence grise - and apologies to him for not having acknowledged his work earlier on in the year.

The black and white dogs are, of course the domini canes, and the figure in a white hooded jupon is one of the earliest depictions of a Knight of the Garter - the garter can be seen below his left knee. Also present are St Bridget of Sweden and Queen Joanna I of Naples.

A wonderful picture, with plenty to look at and reflect upon. There is a lengthy interpretive online article here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Council of Trent infallibly said in the VII session in canon IV, "If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not indeed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema (excommunicated)."http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct07.html