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, 10 January 2016

The Baptism of the Lord

Today is the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Traditionally one of the Three Wonders that mark Epiphany on January 6th - the visit of the Magi, the Baptism and the Miracle at Cana - it has only been a separate feast since 1955, being originally on January 13th, the old octave day of Epiphany, and since 1970 on the Sunday following that feast.

To mark the feast here are two panels from the St Wolfgang Altarpiece by the astonishingly versatile Austrian painter and sculptor Michael Pacher (c.1435-98). They are part of the great altarpiece in the church of St Wolfgang im Salzkammergut in Austria. There is a biography and a list of his surviving works at Michael Pacher. this includes a description of the altarpiece and its sections - the wings can be opened and closed in three different positions. There is more about the altarpiece, which dates from 1479-81, at  Pacher, St. Wolfgang Altarpiece - Khan Academy and at St Wolfgang Altarpiece - Web Gallery of Art. There is a link to a 1983 University of Pennsylvania dissertation on the composition at The St. Wolfgang Altarpiece.

Pacher combined Renaissance perspective and ideas close to those of Mantegna with German late medieval forms to create a rich and evocative style.

Unfortunately both these photographs are dark - I am not sure whether this is just caused by the difficulties of photographing the paintings in situ or because the piece needs cleaning. I hve seen others which suggest that much brighter images are possible.


Michael Pacher St Wolfgang Altarpiece 1479-81


Michael Pacher St Wolfgang Altarpiece 1479-81



The St Wolfgang Altarpiece
The panels above are on the back of the wings at the side



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