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.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Epiphany Sunday

As today is being observed as Epiphany Sunday it provides another excuse to post one of the most famous depictions of the visit of the Magi, that by Gentile da Fabriano. Painted in 1420-23 for the church of Santa Trinita in Florence it is now on display in the Uffizzi. There is an article about Gentile here and a more detailed one about the painting here.

The Adoration of the Magi
Gentile da Fabriano


The central scene

Image farm1.staticflickr

Quite apart from its considerable appeal as a devotional image or as a work of art I am also drawn to it because it was commenced in the year Bishop Fleming was consecrated in Florence by Pope Martin V, who was late to be a patron of Gentile, commissioning him to work on the nave of the Lateran basilica in 1427, although the artist died that same year. It is therefore an indication of the cultural milieu in which "my bishop" was moving in his years at the Papal court in Florence from 1418-20.

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