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.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

St Michael the Archangel

Today is the Feast of St Michael the Archangel

St Michael Triumphs over the Devil
Bartholomé Bermejo
Image: National Gallery

This spectacular depiction of the Archangel was commissioned in 1468 from the Cordoban born artist who worked in the lands of the Crown of Aragon. Bermejo drew upon both the Aragonese- Catalan style and on that developed earlier in the century in the Netherlands. 

The National Gallery, which acquired the painting in 1995 from the Werhner collection, has an account on its website at In detail: Saint Michael Triumphs over the Devil | Bartolome Bermejo

The Prado website also has an introduction, in English, to Bermejo’s work at Bartolomé Bermejo - Exhibition

In connection with a recent exhibition of Bermejo’s work at the National Gallery, of which the painting was the centrepiece there are two really excellent videos, each about an hour long. In the first Gabriel Finaldi speaks about Bermejo’s life and work at The art of Bartolomé Bermejo

In the second one Tobias Capwell from the Wallace Collection talks about the depiction of the armour, highlighting its accuracy and the visual splendour of fighting in the fifteenth century. That  video can be seen at Curator of Arms and Armour on Bermejo

Both of these talks bring out the attention to detail that is a characteristic of Bermejo and of the era and the wonderful depiction of fabric and metal, the delight in the minutiae of the subject.

St Michael Pray for us

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