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.

Monday 31 August 2015

Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus

John Dillon posted as follows [slightly adapted by the Clever Boy] on the Medieval Religion discussion group

In the Roman Martyrology August 31st is now the day of commemoration of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus (d. 1st cent.).

These two Gospel figures were remembered in medieval Christianity primarily for their roles in the recovery of Jesus' body after the Crucifixion and its subsequent entombment. Starting at least with the Gospel of Nicodemus their acta were enlarged and embroidered upon. By the tenth century there was an Eastern tradition, preserved in a text in Georgian said to have been translated from Syriac, that Joseph of Arimathea was the founder of the church of Lydda. In the later Middle Ages he was reputed to have arrived in Provence with Lazarus, Martha, and Mary and to have gone on to evangelize in, depending on what text one is reading, parts of today's France, Spain, Portugal, or England [ Well we all know in England taht he came to Glastonbury - Clever Boy].

Nicodemus, who was said to to have removed the crucifixion nails from Jesus' body, was credited legendarily with the creation of that famous crucifix, the Holy Face (Volto Santo) of Lucca. In the legends of the Finding of St. Stephen Protomartyr, Nicodemus is said to have been buried by Gamaliel in Stephen's secret grave, into which were also placed Gamaliel's son Abibus and, when his time came, Gamaliel himself. Liturgical commemoration on August 2nd or 3rd of this supposed discovery insured Nicodemus' ongoing if not entirely robust construction as a saint in both the Eastern and Western Middle Ages.

Some visuals:

a) In the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, the Stone of Anointing on which Joseph of Arimathea is said to have prepared Jesus' body for burial:

b) The so-called Tomb of Joseph of Arimathea (rock-cut grave shafts) in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem:

c) The Holy Face / Volto Santo of Lucca (late eleventh-century, with subsequent adornments):


Some medieval images of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus:

d) Joseph of Arimathea (holding Jesus) and Nicodemus (lower right, with forceps and vessel) at the Entombment as depicted in the late eleventh- or early twelfth-century so-called Gospels of Matilda of Canossa in the Museo diocesano d'arte sacra e benedettino at Nonantola (MO) in Emilia-Romagna:

e) Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus as depicted in two panels of the mid-twelfth-century Passion of Christ window (1145-1155) in the cathedral of Notre-Dame at Chartres:
1) Joseph of Arimathea (centre, holding Jesus) and Nicodemus (lower right, with forceps) at the Deposition:
2) Joseph of Arimathea (middle register, far left) and Nicodemus (middle register, far right) at the Entombment:

f) Joseph of Arimathea (on ladder, holding Jesus) and Nicodemus (at lower right, with forceps and vessel) as depicted in a later twelfth-century fresco of the Deposition from the Cross (ca. 1164) in the north chapel of the church of St. Panteleimon (Pantaleon) at Gorno Nerezi (Skopje municipality) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:

g) Joseph of Arimathea (holding Jesus) and Nicodemus (on the ladder) as portrayed in Benedetto Antelami's later twelfth-century relief of the Deposition from the Cross (ca. 1178) in the cathedral of Parma:


Detail view:


h) Joseph of Arimathea (lower right, asking Pilate for Jesus' body) as depicted in the late twelfth-century Navarre Picture Bible (1197; Amiens, Bibliothèque Louis Aragon, ms. 108, fol. 189v):

i) Joseph of Arimathea (holding Jesus) and Nicodemus (at the foot of the Cross) as depicted by Enrico di Tedice in a later thirteenth-century panel painting (1260s) in the Museo nazionale di San Martino, Pisa:

j) Nicodemus (in the illumination in the right-hand column; at the invention of Stephen, Gamaliel, Nicodemus, and Abibo) as depicted in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the Legenda aurea (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 90r; image expandable):

k) Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus as depicted by Pietro Lorenzetti in two earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1320) in the lower church of the basilica di San Francesco, Assisi:
1) Joseph of Arimathea (centre left) and Nicodemus (right, with forceps) at the Deposition:
2) Joseph of Arimathea (at left) and Nicodemus (centre right) at the Entombment:

l) Four scenes, in three different different locations, in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) of the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija
1) Joseph of Arimathea (at right) asking Pilate for Jesus' body:
2) Joseph of Arimathea (at left) and Nicodemus at upper right (the smaller figure at lower right is presumably an assistant) at the Deposition:
3) Nicodemus (rear left) and Joseph of Arimathea (rear right) in the Lamentation:
Detail view:
4) Nicodemus (centre left) and Joseph of Arimathea (centre right) carrying Jesus at the Entombment:
Detail view:

m) Nicodemus (nimbed) along with the also nimbed Gamaliel, Stephen, and Abibus in their uncovered grave at the Finding of Stephen as depicted by Bernardo Daddi (attrib.) in one of his mid-fourteenth-century predella paintings devoted to St. Stephen (ca. 1345) in the Pinacoteca Vaticana (from the point of view of the clerical discoverers Nicodemus is probably the first or the third corpse from left, as the one between these is clearly identifiable by vestment as the presumed deacon Stephen and the relatively youthful corpse at far right will be Abibus):
For a different identification of the four nimbed corpses, see this from the Musei Vaticani, where the painting is titled the Ritrovamento dei corpi dei Santi Luciano (the person to whom the long-dead Gamaliel had appeared in a revelatory dream and thus one of those involved in the Finding), Abibo, Nicodemo, and Stefano:

n) Joseph of Arimathea (at left) and Nicodemus holding Jesus' body as depicted in Rogier van der Weyden's earlier fifteenth-century Deposition Altar (circa 1435) in the Museo del Prado, Madrid:


Detail views:



o) Joseph of Arimathea (behind Jesus) and Nicodemus (at Jesus' left) as depicted by Hugo van der Goes in a later fifteenth-century panel painting of the Lamentation (ca. 1470) in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna:


p) Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus as depicted by Simon Marmion in a later fifteenth-century panel painting of the Lamentation (early 1470s) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:
http://tinyurl.com/6n5zax - which has notes on its commissioning by Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy and his wife Margaret of York.



q) Joseph of Arimathea (top centre) and Nicodemus (centre right, with vessel) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century icon in the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow:

r) Nicodemus (at left) and Joseph of Arimathea (at right) as portrayed in a late fifteenth-century polychromed wooden sculpture of the Entombment (ca. 1485) in the abbaye Saint-Pierre at Moissac:


Gordon Plumb posted some further medieval images of St Joseph of Arimathea in stained glass and wall paintings:

Twycross, St James, Leicestershire, east window, panel originally in the Passion window in Bay H of the Sainte Chapelle, Paris, c.1245:
and detail:

Croughton, All Saints, Northamptonshire, nave north wall, Descent from the Cross wall painting, early 14thC.:
and detail of heads:

Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, sIV, 2b, Descent from the Cross, originally from Herkenrode Abbey in Belgium. 1532-39:

Langport, All Saints, Somerset, east window, 2e-3e, 15thC.:
and detail:

Shrewsbury, St Mary, Trinity Chapel, window from St Jacques Liège c.1535:
Though this originally was part of a Trinity and the incumbent, feeling it was improper to represent God, hadt a turban put in place of the top of God's head and the Dove of the Holy Spirit was moved to a tracery light in the window! So a made-up representation of Joseph, but interesting historically nevertheless!
and detail of centre panel:

St Louis of Toulouse

August 19th was the feast of St Louis of Toulouse. He was the second son of King Charles II of Naples and his wife, Mary princess of Hungary, daughter of King Stephen V, and a relative of both St Louis IX and St Elizabeth of Hungary (or Thuringia) - both of whom became Franciscan tertiaries. As the section on his ancestry in the online biography Louis of Toulouse shows - he was indeed a very well connected young man, related to most of the ruling houses of the period.

Drawn as the life above shows to be a Franciscan friar, following the death of his elder brother he renounced his rights of succession to his younger brother Robert and was professed in 1296 in Rome and ordained priest the following year. Pope Boniface VIII decided he should be promoted at once and so he was consecrated bishop of Toulouse a few days later. He had asked permission to resign his bishopic within months of appointment, but fell ill and died at Brignolles on August 19th 1297 at the age of only 23. He was canonised in 1317.

The popularity and appeal of Franciscan spirituality combined with his royal birth and renunciation of the possibility of kingship as well, no doubt, of his youth meant that his cult was considerable in the years following his death and canonisation. However I suspect that he is not well known in the English speaking world outside the Franciscan tradition.

A somewhat similar devotion arose a generation or so around the figure of the teenage Cardinal Bl. Peter of Luxembourg (1369-87) - for whom see  Pierre de Luxembourg

The popularity of St Louis' cult in later medieval Europe gave many outstanding contemporary artists the opportunity to depict him, and John Dillon has posted this very impressive collection of images of him on the Medieval Religion discussion group, ofwhich I have opened up many of the links to thbese beautiful works of art and devotion, and to which I have added occasional comments in [ ]:

a) as depicted (presenting a crown to his younger brother Robert) by Simone Martini in his early fourteenth-century altarpiece of Louis of Toulouse (circa 1318) formerly in the possession of Naples' Franciscan church of San Lorenzo Maggiore and now in the Museo nazionale di Capodimonte in the same city (four expandable images) [This is probably the most famous depiction of St Louis, and the closest in date to his death]:


b) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Francis of Assisi) by Simone Martini in his early fourteenth-century frescoes of Franciscan saints (ca. 1318) in the transept of the lower church if the basilica di San Francesco in Assisi:


c) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Louis, king of France) by Simone Martini in an early fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1318-1320) in the cappella di San Martino in the lower church of the basilica di San Francesco in Assisi:


d) as depicted (bottom register at right; at left, St. Elizabeth of Hungary) by the Master of Figline in an earlier fourteenth-century panel painting (after 1317) ordinarily kept in the Museo d'arte sacra della Collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta, Figline e Incisa Valdarno (FI), Tuscany but from this past April until 11. October 2015 on display in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence as part of a special exhibition of early Franciscan art:

Detail view (Louis):


Detail view (trampled crown):

e) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Mary Magdalene) by Ugolino da Siena (Ugolino di Nerio) in an earlier fourteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1320) in the Museum of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco:
Detail view (Louis):


f) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1320) in the cappella di San Ludovico in the former chiesa di San Marco in Salerno, now part of the Archivio di Stato in that city:


Detail of the figure:

g) as depicted by Taddeo Gaddi (attrib.) in an earlier fourteenth-century glass window in the basilica di Santa Croce in Florence (betw. 1328 and 1332; finestra s VIII, pann. a2):

h) as portrayed in an earlier or mid-fourteenth-century statue (ca. 1330-1350) from the chapelle Notre-Dame de Rieux in Toulouse, now in the Musée des Augustins in the same city:


i) as depicted (upper illumination, bottom register, second from right) in the later fourteenth-century Petites Heures de Jean de Berry (circa 1375; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 18014, fol. 105v):

j) as depicted by Serafino Serafini in two later fourteenth-century frescoes (after 1375) in the chiesa di San Francesco in Mantua:
1) Louis' consecration by Pope Boniface VIII:


2) Louis' death:


k) as depicted (at right; at left, St. John the Evangelist) by Tommaso del Mazza (formerly known as the Master of St. Verdiana) in a later fourteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1386) in the Museé du Petit Palais, Avignon:

l) as portrayed in a late fourteenth-century polychromed wood reliquary bust (with gesso and gilding) in the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland (OH):
There are better photographs at the museum's own site (clevelandart.org) but that is being rebuilt at the moment (and the museum appears to have elected not to offer the public a copy of the older site on another server while the rebuilding is underway).

m) as portrayed in a late fourteenth-century limestone sculptural element from Lombardy offered for sale at Sotheby's in 2009 (view and description at bottom of the page):
Enlarged image:

n) as portrayed in a fifteenth-century polychromed stone statue in the église Sainte-Radegonde in Giverny (Eure):

o) as portrayed in a fifteenth-century statue over the principal entrance to the chiesa di Sant'Alvise (i.e. Louis, in this case the present one) in Venice:

p) as portrayed by Donatello in an earlier fifteenth-century gilded bronze statue originally made for the Orsanmichele in Florence (ca. 1413 or early 1420s) and now in that city's Museo dell'Opera di Santa Croce:
Detail views at http://tinyurl.com/99sr3wt ,[ of which I have selected one]:


q) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Francis of Assisi) in an earlier fifteenth-century hand-colored print from the Steiermark (circa 1420; Graz, Karl-Franzens-Universität, Universitätsbibliothek, Ms. 529, preliminary leaf [the ms. is from ca. 1440]):

r) as depicted (twice; both times as a chubby-faced boy bishop) in an earlier fifteenth-century Franciscan breviary (ca. 1430; Chambéry, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 4, fols. 589v and 595r):
1) fol. 589v: http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht1/IRHT_035708-p.jpg
2) fol. 595r: http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht1/IRHT_035719-p.jpg

s) as portrayed (lower register at far right ; at near right, St. Bartholomew the Apostle) in the central section of the earlier fifteenth-century polychromed wooden Marienkrönungsaltar (ca. 1440; restored in the 1870s and again in the 1990s) in the Marienkirche in Stralsund:


Detail view of SS Bartholomew and Louis:


t) as portrayed by Donatello in a mid-fifteenth-century bronze statue (1444-1450) on the main altar in the basilica del Santo, Padua:


u) as portrayed in a mid-fifteenth-century polychromed wooden statue (ca. 1450) in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg:


Detail view:

v) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Jerome; at centre, St. Bernardino of Siena) by Antonio Vivarini in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1451-1456) in the chiesa di San Francesco della Vigna in Venice:

w) as depicted in grisaille by Jean le Tavernier in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (ca. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 268v):

x) as depicted by Antonio Vivarini in a mid- or later fifteenth-century panel painting (circa 1451-1475) in the collections of the Musée du Louvre in Paris:


Said to be on deposit at Avignon, Musée du Petit Palais:

y) as depicted by Lorentino d'Arezzo in a mid- or later fifteenth-century fresco (ca. 1451-1475) in Arezzo's basilica di San Francesco:

z) as depicted (at right, flanking the BVM and Christ Child; at left St. Jerome) by Andrea Mantegna in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (circa 1455) in the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris [zoomable image]:

aa) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Bernardino of Siena) by Michele Pannonio in a mid- or later fifteenth-century panel painting in the Pinacoteca nazionale in Ferrara:

bb) as depicted by Piero della Francesca in a mid-fifteenth-century fresco (1460) in the Pinacoteca comunale of Sansepolcro (AR) in Tuscany:


cc) as depicted (at right; at left, St. John the Baptist) by Bartolomeo Vivarini and Andrea Vivarini in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (1463 or 1464) in the collections of the Musée du Louvre in Paris and on deposit in the Musée du Petit Palais in Avignon:


dd) as depicted (at centre; at left St. Oswald; at right, St. Louis, King of France) in the upper right-hand panel of the later fifteenth-century principal altar (1470-1478) of the Katedrála Sv. Martina in Spišská Kapitula, a locality of Spišské Podhradie in Slovakia
[This is an interesting example of the diffusion of the cult of St Oswald from his native Northumbria. As Slovakia was part of the Kingdom of Hungary the presence of St Louis reflects interest in a saint of the Angevin ruling house of that realm]:


The altarpiece as a whole:


ee) as depicted (upper register at right, after Bl. John Duns Scotus and Clare of Assisi) by Carlo Crivelli in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (1471?; from his now dismembered Montefiore altarpiece) in the Polo Museale di San Francesco at Montefiore dell'Aso (AP) in the Marche:
Detail view (Louis):


ff) as depicted (at upper right, second from right; at far right, St. Bernardino of Siena) by Vincenzo Foppa in a later fifteenth-century altarpiece (1476) in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan:

gg) as depicted (second from right; at far right, St. Francis of Assisi) in a late fifteenth-century altarpiece (1481) by Vittore Crivelli in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (PA):
Detail view (Louis):


hh) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century Roman breviary (betw. 1482 and 1500; Clermont-Ferrand, Bibliothèque du patrimoine, ms. 69, fol. 530v):

ii) as depicted by Cosmè Tura in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (1484?; on canvas; transferred from wood) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:

jj) as portrayed (scenes from his legend) by Jakob Mülholzer in two of his panel paintings on the wings of the late fifteenth-century St. Louis of Toulouse altar (ca. 1490-1500) in the St. Jakobskirche, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Lkr. Ansbach) in Bavaria:




The altar as a whole:

The central sculpture is item nn), below.

kk) as depicted at the beginning of his Office in the late fifteenth-century Diurnal de René, roi de Sicile (1492-1493; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 10491, fol. 210v ):

ll) as depicted (at far right, after St. Lawrence of Rome) by Pietro Perugino in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (1495-1496) of the Madonna and Child with Perugia's four holy protectors now in Città del Vaticano in the Pinacoteca Vaticana:

mm) as depicted in an early sixteenth-century fresco (1504) in the chiesa di San Ludovico al Bretto (dedicated to the present Louis) in Camerata Cornello (BG) in Lombardy:

nn) as portrayed by Tilman Riemenschneider (attrib.) in the early sixteenth-century central statue (ca. 1505?) of the St. Louis of Toulouse altar in the St. Jakobskirche, Rothenburg ob der Tauber (Lkr. Ansbach) in Bavaria:


oo) as depicted by Sebastiano del Piombo in an early sixteenth-century painting (ca. 1507-1510) on an organ shutter from Venice's chiesa di San Bartolomeo and now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in that city:

pp) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Bernardino of Siena) by Moretto da Brescia (Alessandro Bonvicino) on a wing from a dismembered earlier sixteenth-century altarpiece (1529-1530) in the Musée du Louvre, Paris:

 Moretto, santi bernardino e ludovico.jpg

Detail view:

Saturday 29 August 2015

The Beheading of St John the Baptist in popular medieval art

There are many images of the death of St John the Baptist - some of which I have posted in previous years. From his photo-archive Gordon Plumb has posted on the Medieval Religion discussion group some images in stained glass and one mural painting of the beheading of St John the Baptist:

Rouen Cathedral, Bay 53, early 13thC.:

Bourges, Cathédrale St Étienne, Bay 20, c.1210-15:

Wickhambreux, St Andrew, Kent, south aisle, east window, very late 14thC.:
and detail:

York Minster, nXXII, (glass originally in St John the Evangelist Micklegate):

Gresford, All Saints, Trevor Chapel, East window, 3a, c.1498:

and amongst surviving wall paintings there is

Pickering, St Peter and St Paul, south nave arcade, wall painting, 15thC.:

The Beheading of St John the Baptist

Today is the feast of the Decollation or Beheading of St John the Baptist.

Here is a late medieval depiction of the event in a carving from the north choir ambulatory of Amiens cathedral. The cathedral still possesses one of the skulls which is claimed, and has been claimed for centuries, to be the head of the Baptist. I have posted about this great relic previously.


It was a much later French artist, Pierre Puvis de Chavannes (1824-98), who produced what is, to my mind one of the most compelling - and perhaps disturbing - images of the Decollation. Painted in 1869 and exhibited at the Paris Salon of 1870 this is now in the Barber Institute in Birmingham, with another, and later, version, possibly unfinished, and less compelling, in the National Gallery in London:

The National Gallery version

Image: Wikimedia

Writing of this painting the Web Gallery of Art says that it exemplifies Puvis' ideals and methods. whilst almost certainly unfinished its lean pain surface is characteristic of the artist. During his travels he had fallen in love with  ' Italian primitive ' frescoes and it was their flat matt surfaces that he tried to imitate. Deriving the composition from church frescoes Puvis distorts bodies - such as the executioner's muscular back - to appear parallel to the picture surface, or at right angles to it in strict profile. Perspective is suppressed and space behind the fig tree is patterned by its branches into two-dimensional shapes.

These features can be seen again in the Birmingham painting, but here more clearly dominated by the calm, full face figure of St John, his nimbus drawing attention to his as the central figure in the frozen moment of time.

Image: oldpainting.tumblr.com

The contrast between the victim's stillness, prayerfulness, trustfulness and the sweeping movement of the executioner is striking. This is one of the reasons why the image is haunting.

What also makes the painting so striking is the youthfulness and vulnerability of the saint. He appears less fierce, more human, than he often does in paintings - not just the last of the prophets but also the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth.

The full face depiction of the pale face and body are reminiscent of the facing alabaster panels from the late middle ages which were popular products of the English alabasterers.


St John the Baptist pray for us

Friday 28 August 2015

St Louis in medieval art

To mark the feast day of St Louis on August 25th John Dillon posted the following images of the Saint-King, who ruled France from 1226 until 1270, on the Medieval Religion discussion group. I have opened and copied some of the more spectacular images, but all are worth investigating:

a) as depicted (upper register at right; upper register at left, his mother Queen Blanche of Castile) in the dedication illumination of an earlier thirteenth-century picture bible (circa 1230; New York, The Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum, MS M.240, fol. 8r):

b) as depicted (carrying the Crown of Thorns with Robert of Artois to Sens) in a panel of the mid-thirteenth-century Relics of the Passion Window (window A; ca. 1245-1248) in the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris:

c) as depicted (carrying the Crown of Thorns) in a mid-thirteenth-century glass window panel from Tours (circa 1245-1248) in the Cloisters Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:

King Louis IX Carrying the Crown of Thorns

d) as depicted at the outset of the dedicatory letter to him in a mid- to later thirteenth-century copy of Vincent of Beauvais' Speculum historiale formerly owned by the abbey of Royaumont (Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 568, fol. 9r):

e) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century legendary (ca. 1273-1300; Rouen, Bibliothèque publique, ms. 1410, fol. 3r):

f) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century copy of the Grandes chroniques de France (1274?; Paris, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, ms. 782, fol. 327r):

g) as depicted (carrying the Crown of Thorns) in the later thirteenth-century martyrology and obituary of the abbaye Notre-Dame des Prés in Douai (ca. 1275-1300; Valenciennes, Bibliothèque de Valenciennes, ms. 838, fol. 101r):

h) as portrayed in a late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century polychromed statue (circa 1300) formerly in the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris and now in the Musée national du Moyen Âge (Musée de Cluny) in the same city:
http://www.sculpturesmedievales-cluny.fr/notices/notice.php?id=667 This has an account of the statue.

The statue's modern copy in the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris:

i) as depicted in an early fourteenth-century sacramentary for the Use of Senlis (ca. 1310; Paris, Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève, ms. 103, fol. 278r):

j) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Louis of Toulouse) by Simone Martini in his early fourteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1310-1320) in the cappella di San Martino in the lower church of the basilica di San Francesco in Assisi:

k) as depicted (two of eight scenes illustrating his Dominican Office) by Jean Pucelle in the earlier fourteenth-century Hours of Jeanne d'Évreux (ca. 1324–1328) in the Cloisters Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:
1) receiving from a dove his lost prayer book (fol. 154v): http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/cl/original/DP233778.jpg
2) collecting the bones of martyrs (fol. 159v):

l) as depicted (three of numerous scenes from his life) by Mahiet in the earlier fourteenth-century sole copy of William of Saint-Pathus' thematically organized Vie et miracles de Saint Louis (circa 1330-1340; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 5716; foliation acc. to the digitization in Gallica):
1) going by ship on crusade (fol. 39v):
2) instructing his offspring (fol. 43v):
3) praying before the Crown of Thorns in the Sainte-Chapelle (fol. 67r):

m) as depicted (with Innocent IV at Cluny) in a later fourteenth-century copy (ca. 1375-1380) of the Grandes chroniques de France (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 2813, fol. 277r):

n) as depicted (at his coronation) in the second volume of a late fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century copy of Don Gonzalo de la Hinojosa's chronicle of Burgos in its French-language translation by Jean Golein (ca. 1400; Besançon, Bibliothèques municipales, ms. 1150, fol. 287r):

o) as depicted (right-hand column) in the early fifteenth-century Hours of René of Anjou (ca. 1405-1410; London, BL, Egerton MS 1070, fol. 99v; image zoomable):

p) as depicted in an early fifteenth-century breviary for the Use of Paris (ca. 1414; Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 298v):

q) as depicted in grisaille by Jean le Tavernier and assistant in the Suffrages of the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (ca. 1450-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 268r):

r) as depicted (at left center; at right center, Bl. Charlemagne) as depicted in a later fifteenth-century copy of the Grandes chroniques de France (ca. 1460; Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 5, fol. 282v):

s) as depicted (carrying the Crown of Thorns) in a late fifteenth-century breviary for the Use of Langres (after 1481; Chaumont, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 33, fol. 340r):

t) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century copy (1493) of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Angers, Université Catholique de l'Ouest, Bibliothèque universitaire, incunable non coté, fol. 290v):

u) as depicted on a wing of a late fifteenth- or very early sixteenth-century triptych (ca. 1495-1501?; Bl. Charlemagne on the other wing) in the Cappella del Santissimo Salvatore in Naples:

v) as depicted in a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Rome (ca. 1500; Den Haag, KB, ms. 74 G 22, fol. 201r):

Thursday 27 August 2015

Brazilian Monarchists take to the streets

The indefatigable Special Correspondent ( whom I had the pleasure of meeting up with by chance in Oxford last weekend) has sent me this link to a Facebook page about the current activities of Brazilian monarchists. This suggests that support for the admittedly divided Imperial House is surprisingly strong given that the country was declared to be a republic on 1889.

The article as posted which is in French, and has some rather striking photographs, can be viewed at

The Imperial Arms of Brazil

Image: Wikimedia

Celebrating Bl. Dominic Barberi with a French choir

Yesterday evening to augment the celebration of the feast of Bl. Dominic Barberi the Oxford Oratory welcomed the Little Singers of Saint-Charles - Les Petits Chanteurs de Saint-Charles - from Versailles.

This Children's choir, founded by Fr Roger Morandi in 1983 are on their first English tour and their itinerary includes the Catholic cathedrals in Portsmouth, Arundel and Southwark, St George's Chapel Windsor and in Oxford both Christ Church Cathedral and the Oratory.

In the programme notes they state that their mission "is to sing the Lord and his wonders and to radiate faith and Christian joy. Our young singers receive both a musical and a spiritual education for without a living faith, sacred music is reduced to a purely artistic gesture and loses it's meaning."

They sang both for the Mass at 6 and then gave a concert of pieces from their classical repertoire. The singing was very beautiful, in a disciplined and reverent style - their spiritual formation as outlined above being apparent. It was a delightful way both  to mark the feast and to relax on a late summer evening.

Their web site can be seen at http://petits-chanteurs-st-charles.fr

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Historical fact and fiction

As a historian I am only too aware of the popular misconceptions about life in the past and how cinema and television produce, popularise and sustain them.

Quite by chance I came across this piece on the internet from the Sydney Morning Herald which discusses a particular example of this and which I thought might interest readers.

Written by Professor Garry Sturgess and published in the paper last March it can be viewed at Convicts and sex slaves: sorting the fact from the fiction in British TV series 'Banished' and in it the Professor does an effective demolition job on what appears to be a very badly researched historical drama, and which is full of contemporary prejudices and delusions.

It almost makes you want to watch the series so you can sit there and say to your friends " No, that's not true ... no, it would n't have been like that... no, that is simply ridiculous..."

Tuesday 25 August 2015

King Ludwig II of Bavaria

Today is the 170th anniversary of the birth in 1845 of the future King Ludwig II of Bavaria, and the feast day of patronal namesake St Louis of France.

Het Naero-dal met den Iordalsnut. (Phot. Wilse, Kristiania.)

King Ludwig II in his robes of state soon after his accession


There is an illustrated online biography of the King at Ludwig II of Bavaria.  

There is also online an article from the Daily Telegraph from last year, Bavaria's 'Mad King' Ludwig may not have been so mad ..., which suggests alternative diagnoses 
for his actions, and of those who suspended him from his executive powers as monarch in 1886. It also 
has links to two other articles, one of which suggests that the King was murdered. 

A painting of the King, presumably from soon after his accession to the throne in 1864


The Mad Monarchist posted the following piece some months ago about the King: Monarch Profile: King Ludwig II of Bavaria

King Ludwig II circa 1874

 Image: Wikipedia

King Ludwig II is in so many ways a tragic and troubled figure, and worthy of more than being dismissed as "Mad King Ludwig". As King of Bavaria at the time of German unification and all that that both entailed and implied it is perhaps explicable that he sought refuge in his building projects and in detachment from mundane affairs, even though such actions were of questionable help to the Wittelsbach dynasty. The evidence for his own inner demons, and those of his brother and successor King Otto suggest all was not well in the families and palaces of the rulers of Bavaria.

Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Bavaria1835-1918
 The Royal Arms of Bavaria from 1835


It is however possible that King Ludwig II should be seen as eccentric rather than mad, and that his building programmes merely ( merely?) carried further the often lavish building projects of other nineteenth century European monarchs and aristocrats - such as the subterranean constructions of a Duke of Portland at Welbeck. How much more exotic as buildings were they than King George IV's Brighton Pavilion or re-medievalising Windsor, Queen Victoria's neo -Scottish baronial Balmoral, some of the Hohenzollern buildings of King Frederick William IV and Emperor William II or king Ferdinand's Gothic fantasy castle at Cintra? If they were more exotic and expensive it was perhaps a logical,-or illogical - development of what had gone before. There was, of course, the little practical problem that King Ludwig was exhausting the accumulated wealth of his family with his extraordinary projects - one can see why ministers worried about his schemes....More recently I suspect the Bavarian tourist authorities have rubbed their hands with glee at what he provided them with.

There is an online biography of King Otto at  Otto of Bavaria and two blog posts about him, which also discuss King Ludwig II at The Mad Monarchist: Monarch Profile: King Otto of Bavaria

and, with some interesting photographs of the family and comments at  King Otto I. of Bavaria (1847-1916) 

These may suggest that there was not a common root cause to the mental state of the two brothers.

Whatever was the cause of the mental instability, if that is what it was and it it was a common factor, of  King Ludwig and King Otto seems to have belonged to their immediate family - it did not affect, so far as anyone ever indicates,  their uncle Prince Regent Luitpold, his son King Lugwig III or his descendants the present Bavarian Royal House.

[Personal Standard of King Louis II c.1864-1886 (Bavaria, Germany)]

The Personal Standard of King Ludwig II