Today is the date in the traditional calendar of the Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross. Lamentably it is not included in the modern General Calendar. This discovery of the principal relic of the Passion by the Empress St Helena in the early fourth century provided her with her own attributes in representations of her in later centuries.
The story of the True Cross from the planting of a seed from the tree in the Garden of Eden in Adam’s mouth at his burial to the recovery of the True Cross by the Emperor Heraclius is set out in Piero dellla Francesco’s Legend of the True Cross in the Franciscan church in Arrezzo. It was painted between 1447 and 1466. I posted about this great cycle in The Legend of the True Cross and in Another commentary on Piero della Francesca’s Legend of the True Cross to mark the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross in September last year.
The Invention of the True Cross from
Piero della Francesca’s The Legend of the True Cross Arezzo 1447-66
Image: Web Gallery of Art
arbor una nobilis;
nulla talem silva profert,
flore, fronde, germine.
Dulce lignum, dulci clavo,
dulce pondus sustinens!
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