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.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

St Thomas Aquinas

Today is the novus ordo feast of St Thomas Aquinas, and John Dillon has again provided a selection of depictions of St Thomas for the Medieval Religion discussion group, which I am reproducing here.

Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) was a nephew of one of the kingdom of Sicily's great nobles, Tommaso d'Aquino, count of Acerra and grand justiciar of the realm.  His father, Landolfo d'Aquino (the count's younger brother), was the lord of Roccasecca, the castle where Thomas was born.  Educated first at Montecassino and then at the University of Naples, Thomas shocked his family by becoming a Dominican novice rather than pursuing a traditional career in the landed church.  Unhappy at this turn of events, his father had him kidnapped and then held at another castle until he should come to his senses.  After almost two years Thomas managed to escape with the aid of his sister Theodora and then entered upon the life's work that would make him famous.  For that, one may read Ralph McInerny's account of Thomas in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Thomas was canonized in 1323.

A few views of what's left of the castle at Roccasecca (FR) in southern Lazio:
http://tinyurl.com/jen93b6 [click on the images for much higher resolution]

Some period-pertinent images of St. Thomas Aquinas:

a) as depicted (author portrait; at left, Pope Urban IV) in a late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century copy of his Catena aurea (Dijon, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 72, fol. 2r):


b) as depicted (predella; sixth figure from right) by Simone Martini in his early fourteenth-century polyptych of Santa Caterina in the Museo nazionale di San Matteo, Pisa (1319):


c) as depicted (at upper right, above Sts. Dominic of Caleruega and Francis of Assisi) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of Dante's Commedia (London, BL, Egerton MS 943, fol. 146r):

d) as depicted (at centre, between St. Peter and St. Paul) by the Master of the Piani d'Invrea Cross in an earlier fourteenth-century triptych (1330s) in Albi's cathédrale Sainte-Cécile:


e) as depicted (at left) by Bernardo Daddi in an earlier fourteenth-century panel painting (1338; "The Temptation of St. Thomas Aquinas") in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin:


f) as depicted by Lippo Memmi in an an earlier fourteenth-century panel painting (c. 1340; "The Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas"; formerly attributed to Francesco Traini) in Pisa's chiesa di Santa Caterina d'Alessandria:


g) as depicted in a mid-fourteenth-century copy of southeastern English origin of an anonymous abridgement of his Vita by William of Tocco (c. 1350; London, BL, Harley MS 916, fol. 1r):

h) as depicted in the lower panel of the mid-fourteenth-century window (1350s; from designs by Nardo di Cione) in the cappella Strozzi di Mantova in Florence's basilica di Santa Maria Novella:
Detail view (better colour, too):

i) as depicted (teaching) in the later fourteenth-century Breviary of Charles V (c. 1364-1370; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 1052, fol. 348v):

j) as depicted by Andrea Bonaiuti (Andrea da Firenze) in a later fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1365-1368; "The Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas") in the former chapter room, now the cappella Spagnuola, of Florence's basilica di Santa Maria Novella:


Detail view (Thomas Aquinas):


k) as depicted twice in a later fourteenth-century book of prayers of southern French origin (c. 1378-1383; Avignon, Bibliothèque-Médiathèque Municipale Ceccano, ms. 6733):
1) preaching [ or teaching -Clever Boy ] (fol. 6r):

2) praying (fol. 6v):


l) as depicted (his vision of the two angels who protected his chastity) in an early fifteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 242, fol. 323r):

m) as depicted (inspired while at prayer) by Sassetta (Stefano di Giovanni) in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting (1423) in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest (photographs courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth):


Detail view (Thomas and the dove of the Holy Spirit):


n) as depicted in the earlier fifteenth-century Hours of Catherine of Cleves (c. 1440; New York, The Morgan Library and Museum, Morgan MS M.917, p. 367):

o) as depicted (at far right, upper register of saints) by Beato Angelico in a mid-fifteenth-century fresco (c. 1441-1442) in the chapter room of the convento (now Museo nazionale) di San Marco in Florence:

Detail view:


p) as depicted (at right, flanking the BVM and Christ Child; at left, St. Dominic of Caleruega) by Beato Angelico in a mid-fifteenth-century fresco (c. 1445) transferred to canvas in the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg:


q) as depicted (upper register at centre, accompanied by a mitred St. Albertus Magnus; at left, Beatrice and Dante) by Giovanni di Paolo in a mid-fifteenth-century copy of Dante's Commedia (c. 1450; London, BL, Yates Thompson MS 36, fol. 147r):

r) as depicted in grisaille by Jean le Tavernier in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (c. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 269v):

s) as depicted (praying before engaging in a disputation) in a later fifteenth-century Flemish miniature in a French-language version of the Legenda aurea (c. 1470; Mâcon, Médiathèque municipale, ms. 3, fol. 215v):

t) as depicted by Benozzo Gozzoli in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (1471; "The Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas") in the Musée du Louvre, Paris:


Detail view (Thomas between Aristotle and Plato):

u) as depicted (second from left; at far left, St. Bernard of Clairvaux) by Francesco di Giorgio Martini in a later fifteenth-century panel painting of the Nativity (1475) in the Pinacoteca nazionale di Siena:
Detail view (Bernard and Thomas):


v) as depicted by Carlo Crivelli in a panel of his later fifteenth-century Demidoff Altarpiece (1476) in the National Gallery, London:

Image: Wikipedia 

w) as depicted by Sandro Botticelli (attrib.) in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1481-1482) in the Abegg-Stiftung, Riggisberg (canton Bern):


x) as depicted by Matteo Felice in a late fifteenth-century copy of Neapolitan origin of his Expositio litteralis in Isaiam (between 1489 and 1492; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 495, fol. 1r):

y) as depicted by Alessandro Agolanti in a panel of the late fifteenth-century glass window (1492; from designs by Domenico Ghirlandaio) in the cappella Tornabuoni in Florence's basilica di Santa Maria Novella:

z) as depicted (left margin at top) in a hand-coloured woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century Weltchronik (Nuremberg Chronicle; 1493) at fol. CCXVr:

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