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, 21 February 2021

The Temptation of Christ

Today on the First Sunday in Lent the liturgy refers to the Temptations of Christ in the wilderness. With this in mind Wikipedia has as its Picture of the Day this painting by the fifteenth century Tyrolese artist Michael Pacher which includes all three of the Temptations.

File:St. Wolfgang kath. Pfarrkirche Pacher-Altar Versuchung 01.jpg

Image: Wikimedia Commons

The life and surviving painted and sculptured works of Pacher, who lived from c.1435-1498, are outlined in the Wikipedia account at Michael Pacher

The St Wolfgang altarpiece is one of his greatest compositions. Painted in the years 1471-9 it was installed in 1481 in the parish and pilgrimage church of St Wolfgang im Salzkammergut, where it remains to this day. It combines sculpture and painted panels 

Pacher in coming from the Tyrol drew upon artistic styles of the German speaking lands to the north and from those of Italy to the south. I find his paintings fascinating in their richly textured complexity. His synthesis of northern Gothic with the early Renaissance was innovative and striking. His use of dramatic lighting, his attention to detail and the robustness of his figures create a world in which the physical and the spiritual intersect, admitting the viewer beyond the limits of ordinary perception.

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