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.

Friday, 9 October 2015

St Denis and his companions

Today is by tradition the feast of the mid-third century Bishop of Paris St Denis and his companions in martyrdom SS. Rusticus of Paris and Eleutherius of Paris. For his life and cult, and for details which explain some of the images which follow see the online account at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis

Nowadays here in the Birmingham Archdiocese this is, of course, the feast of Bl.John Henry Newman, so St Denis and his companions, together with St John Leonardi, are commemorated on October 8th.

The Medieval Religion discussion group yielded a fine crop of images. Gordon Plumb posted some stained glass depictions:

Chartres, Cathedrale Notre Dame, Bay 116, St Denis gives the Oriflamme to Jean-Clement de Metz:

Lincoln Cathedral, sII, 1c, c.1225-35:

York Minster, nXXXVI, 5b-6b, St Denis between two executioners:

Winchester College, Fromond's Chapel, east window, A10:
and detail:

Bourges, Cathedrale Saint-Etienne, Bay 31, Story of St Denis, c.1517-18:
and two details:

Genevra Kornbluth added these examples from her files in stone and wood:

John Dillon provided a splendid array of images, many of which show St Denis as a cephalaphore
( now you really should know what that means...) and how artists dealt with that subject.

a) as depicted (at left; at centre and left, Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius) in an early eleventh-century gradual according to the Use of the abbey of Saint-Denis near Paris (Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. 384, fol. 117v):


b) as portrayed in a mid-eleventh-century relief in the entrance hall to the Kirche St. Emmeram in Regensburg, originally the church of a monastery claiming to possess his remains:


c) as portrayed in high relief (at centre between Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius, all achieving martyrdom) in the mid-twelfth-century sculptures on the tympanum of the Portail des Valois (rebuilt in the 1230s or 1240s; restored in the nineteenth century) of the basilique cathédrale Saint-Denis in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis):


d) as portrayed in high relief (at centre between Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius) in a mid-twelfth-century walrus ivory plaque from a portable altar in the Musée du Louvre, Paris:


e) as portrayed in high relief (at centre) in the jambs of the left portal of the south porch (between 1194 and 1230) of the basilique cathédrale Notre-Dame in Chartres:


Detail view:


f) as depicted (at left) in an earlier thirteenth-century window (1228-1231) of the south transept clerestory of the basilique cathédrale Notre-Dame in Chartres (not to miss the important bibliography cited this page's "description" tab):


g) as portrayed in an earlier thirteenth-century statue on a choir screen in Bamberg's Dom St. Peter und St. Georg (consecrated, 1237):

h) as depicted (at right at the foot of the page; at left, St. Lambert of Maastricht) in a later thirteenth-century psalter and book for hours according to the Use of Liège (ca. 1251-1300; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 G 17, fol. 82v):

i) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century window (c. 1280) in the Stadtkirche St. Dionys in Esslingen am Neckar:

Saint Dionysus

j) as depicted (at centre betw. Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius, all achieving martyrdom) as in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the Legenda aurea (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 142v):

k) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Piatus of Seclin [ Feast day Oct.1st] ) in the late thirteenth-century (c. 1285-1290) Livre d'images de Madame Marie (Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 84v):


l) as depicted on a panel of the fourteenth-century rood screen of St Andrew, Hempstead (Norfolk):


m) as portrayed in a fourteenth-century pilgrim's badge in the Musée national du Moyen Âge (Musée de Cluny), Paris:


n) as portrayed (with the better preserved Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius) in an earlier fourteenth-century marble sculpture (c. 1301-1326; formerly part of an altarpiece) in the Musée du Louvre, Paris:


Detail view:


o) as portrayed in high relief (martyrdom; cephalophory) on an earlier fourteenth-century boss (c. 1301-1350) in the cloister of the cathedral church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity in Norwich:



p) as depicted in the illuminated Vita et passio sancti Dionysii in Latin verse (with Boitbien's translation in French prose) presented to King Philip V in 1317 by an abbot of Saint-Denis (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 2090-2092):
1) seated; at left, Sts. Antoninus and Santoninus; at right, Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius (BnF, ms. Français 2091, fol. 125r):



2) appearing with Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius before the prefect Fescennius (BnF, ms. Français 2092, fol. 1r):


q) as portrayed in a polychromed earlier fourteenth-century walnut-wood statue from Köln (ca. 1320) in that city's Schnütgen-Museum:



r) as depicted (scenes of his life and and suffering; the last also depicting the martyrdom of Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (c. 1326-1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fols. 202r, 203v, 204r, 204v, 205v, 206v, 207v):

s) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century copy, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1348; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 275v):


t) as depicted in a panel of a later fourteenth-century glass window in the north transept of the Basilica St. Valentinus und Dionysius in Kiedrich (Lkr. Rheingau-Taunus-Kreis) in Hessen:



The panel's context in the window:

u) as depicted in a later fourteenth-century missal for the Use of Paris (after 1375?; Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. 411, C fol. 67r):



v) as depicted (at left; at centre and right, Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius; all achieving martyrdom) in a later fourteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1380; Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. 1729, fol. 262v):



w) as portrayed in a fourteenth- or fifteenth-century pilgrim's badge in the Musée national du Moyen Âge (Musée de Cluny), Paris:


x) as depicted (betw. Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius) in the early fifteenth-century Hours of René of Anjou (ca. 1410; London, BL, MS Egerton 1070, fol. 104r; image expandable):

y) as depicted in two illuminations in the early fifteenth-century Châteauroux Breviary (c. 1414; Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, fols. 364r and 367v):
1) Preaching (third from left, after Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius; fol. 367v):


2) Martyrdom (fourth from left, after Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius; fol. 364r):


z) as depicted (at left, receiving communion from Jesus while imprisoned; at right, undergoing martyrdom along with Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius) by Henri Bellechose on an early fifteenth-century altarpiece (paid for in 1416) in the Museé du Louvre in Paris:



aa) as depicted in a full-page illumination of French or English workmanship, attributed to the Master of Sir John Fastolf's Hours, in an earlier fifteenth-century Book of Hours (ca. 1430-1440; Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, ms. 5, fol. 35v):



Detail view (D.'s severed head):

St. Denis / M. Sir John Fastolf

bb) as portrayed in a later fifteenth-century polychromed limestone statue (c. 1460-1470) in the Bode-Museum, Berlin:



cc) as depicted (martyrdom and, in the upper register, cephalophory) in a later fifteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea in its French-language translation by Jean de Vignay (c. 1480-1490; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 245, fol. 135r):


dd) as depicted (between Sts. Rusticus and Eleutherius) in a late fifteenth-century breviary according to the Use of Langres (after 1481; Chaumont, Mediathèque de Chaumont, ms. 33, fol. 456r):



ee) as depicted in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century Weltchronik (Nuremberg Chronicle; 1493) at fol. CIXv:



ff) as portrayed in high relief on a polychromed and gilt panel of a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century altarpiece (ca. 1490-1510) in the Filialkirche Hl. Leonhard in Pesenbach (Oberösterreich):



gg) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Sebastian) on a panel of the late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century winged altar (c. 1497-1507) in the Pfarrkirche Hl. Remigius in Gampern (Oberösterreich):



hh) as portrayed in high relief (at far left) on the central panel of the late fifteenth-century Vierzehn-Nothelfer-Altar (1498) in the Münster St. Marien und Jakobus in Heilsbronn (Lkr. Ansbach):



Detail view:



ii) as portrayed in high relief on an early sixteenth-century stall end (between 1501 and 1507) in the choir of the St. Martins-Kirche in Memmingen:


jj) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Margaret) by Vicente Macip in the central panel of his early sixteenth-century altarpiece (c. 1510) in the capilla de San Dionisio y Santa Margarita in Valencia's catedral de la Asunción de Nuestra Señora:

San Dionisio y Santa Margarita by Meldelen


kk) as depicted by the Master of Messkirch on a panel from a dismembered earlier sixteenth-century altarpiece (c. 1535-1540) in the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart:



John Dillon subsequently posted two additional images:

Dionysius as depicted in one of four panels of a full-page illumination in the late twelfth-century so-called Bible of Saint Bertin (ca. 1190-1200; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 5, fol. 28v):

Dionysius (martyrdom) as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century prayer book from Brabant (ca. 1430-1440; Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum, ms. W.164, fol. 171r):

To all those I would add this image from the mid-fifteenth century east window of the church of St Denys in York


Image: pinterest/Roger Walton on Flickr

Meanwhile the New Liturgical Movement had an interesting post about the celebration of Mass in Greek by the monks of St Denis in honour of the Greek origin of their patron. The article is by The Greek Mass of St Denys of Paris

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