Scenes of Martyrdom from Ecclesiae Militantis Triumphi Sive (1585)

Scenes of Martyrdom from Ecclesiae Militantis Triumphi Sive (1585) The following illustrations are taken from a book entitled Ecclesiae Militantis Triumphi Sive published in 1585. The book is a unique collection of illustrations of the scenes of martyrdom of various Christian martyrs. Each page includes more than one martyr, labelled accor…

A Brief Inquiry into Orange Shades in Vestments

A Brief Inquiry into Orange Shades in Vestments Amidst the Autumn leaves, it seems a good time to look at how oranges were traditionally used in liturgical vestments. Of course, orange has not really ever been a liturgical color per se in the Roman Rite. The closest I can find to an explicitly called-for use anywhere is i…

Book Notice: English Medieval Embroidery - Opus Anglicanum from Yale University Press

Book Notice: English Medieval Embroidery - Opus Anglicanum from Yale University Press Yale University Press has been busy putting out some titles which I think will be of interest to readers of Liturgical Arts Journal and the one which I wish to draw your attention to today is English Medieval Embroidery: Opus Anglicanum  edited by Clare Brown, Glyn Davies an…

Madonnas and Saints in the Cuzqueño Style of the Spanish Colonial Missions

Madonnas and Saints in the Cuzqueño Style of the Spanish Colonial Missions To conclude our present considerations of the Latin American style of sacred art called "cuzqueño," in our previous article we focused on the unique presentation of the muzzle-toting angel arcabucero  and today we now turn our attention to Christ, the Madonna as we…

The Ángel Arcabucero of Colonial Latin America

The Ángel Arcabucero of Colonial Latin America There is a style of sacred art called "cuzqueño" -- so named because it takes its origins from Cuzco (Cusco) nestled in the heart of the Andes in the South American country of Peru. Amongst some of the curiosities of this particular school of sacred art includes mu…

Illustrated Liturgical Year Calendar for Children

Illustrated Liturgical Year Calendar for Children A new illustrated liturgical year calendar is available from Sophia Institute Press .  Each day in the calendar is fully illustrated with the saint, feast or feria of that day. Themes from the breviary and from Dom Gueranger's  The Liturgical Year are woven throughout the…

Atypical Colour Combinations Seen in Historical Vestments

Atypical Colour Combinations Seen in Historical Vestments There is a kind of unofficial "canon" that has developed in the design of vestments. For example, very frequently one will see gold or silver orphreys paired with any and every liturgical colour. Black, green, red, white or violet with gold orphrey columns or broa…

A Spectacular Sixteenth Century Chasuble from Trent

A Spectacular Sixteenth Century Chasuble from Trent While the shape is clearly of later vintage, the main substance of this particular chasuble is dated to 1524-1574. The chasuble is compromised of a stunning Turkish velvet that incorporates winding branches with pomegranate leaves and fruits. Set on top of this backdrop is …

Before and After: St. Joseph's Chapel at St. Dominic's Parish in Brick, New Jersey

Before and After: St. Joseph's Chapel at St. Dominic's Parish in Brick, New Jersey We are pleased to present yet another installment in our ever popular 'before and after' series which considers the restoration or renovation of existing chapels to bring them back into greater alignment with the classical liturgical tradition. Today we turn to a pr…

Thirteen Ideas for Restoring the Catholic Roots of Halloween

Thirteen Ideas for Restoring the Catholic Roots of Halloween In my previous articles on the liturgical roots of Halloween, I have examined some of the customs of the Vigil and how they might be adapted to the present day. This year, I thought it might be useful to distill these disparate musings into a convenient list of ways that in…

The Duomo di Sassari: Cattedrale di San Nicola

The Duomo di Sassari: Cattedrale di San Nicola Continuing on with our consideration of some of the lesser seen cathedrals of Italy, we turn toward the Duomo of Sassari, located on the island of Sardegna. The cathedral itself finds its origins within the twelfth century, built originally in the Romanesque style but later…

Notes on the Liturgical Ornaments of the Cistercian Rite (Missale Cisterciense)

Notes on the Liturgical Ornaments of the Cistercian Rite (Missale Cisterciense) Recently I came across a few new images of the Cisterican rite and it prompted me to reach back to a few old images I also had and felt it might be an opportune time to provide some brief notes on this particular liturgical usage with a specific focus on its liturgical orna…

Another Case Study in the Influence of Candles and Candlesticks on the Harmony and Proportions of Altars

Another Case Study in the Influence of Candles and Candlesticks on the Harmony and Proportions of Altars On various occasions I've made reference to the importance of candles and candlesticks, both as a means of providing a sense of "verticality" to and also a way of emphasizing the high altar. In addition, for altars where there is a ciborium magnum or a grand r…

On the Impressive Ceremonies of the Latin Mass (Usus Antiquior)

On the Impressive Ceremonies of the Latin Mass (Usus Antiquior) I recently authored an article for the inaugural of the new TAN Books blog that I am editing, an online journal known as TAN Direction .  Below is the first part of the article, with a link to the remaining paragraphs, that I would like to share with readers.  The gist of th…

The Novelty of the "Ecclesiastical Textile"

The Novelty of the "Ecclesiastical Textile" It can be very difficult to see beyond one's own era. The only way to combat it is by way of familiarity with history. One example of this that I constantly come across is that many, shaped and familiar mainly with vestural expressions of the past century or so, have co…

Announcing: New TAN Books Blog "TAN Direction"

Announcing: New TAN Books Blog "TAN Direction" "Embark on a journey, one that will bring before you the writings of great Catholic thinkers, influencers, saints, and future saints including authors of TAN books." TAN Books is launching today a new online journal called  TAN Direction  which will aspire to give re…

Three Vestments of Velvet from Italy

Three Vestments of Velvet from Italy Our friend and colleague in liturgical studies, Nicola de Grandi, has recently sent in a few examples of some beautiful vestments, each made of velvet. Let's take a look at them. The first is a chasuble found in the cathedral of Aosta, Italy. The velvet is of later vinta…

Customs of Michaelmas

Customs of Michaelmas Continuing on with the theme of customs and traditions, today is the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, known as Michaelmas. The website Catholic Culture offers many good summaries of some of the customs and traditions associated with the liturgical year; here is what they…

Renaissance Art Flourishes at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte, North Carolina

Renaissance Art Flourishes at St. Thomas Aquinas in Charlotte, North Carolina What to do with a 1990's parish church built on a budget in functionalist style?  Answer: install a gorgeous antique baldacchino (a ceremonial canopy) exquisitely hand-carved during a previous age of faith.  Art moves us because it is beautiful, because it means somethi…

Quatuor Tempora: Notes on Origin and Meaning of Ember Days

Quatuor Tempora: Notes on Origin and Meaning of Ember Days The changing of the seasons, perhaps especially the entry into Autumn, bring to mind many things. One of them ought to be the Ember Days. What are ember days? At four periods of the year, the traditional liturgical calendar of the Church marks ember days. These days are att…

The Tree of Jesse Ceiling of Michaeliskirche in Hildesheim

The Tree of Jesse Ceiling of Michaeliskirche in Hildesheim St. Michael's in Hildesheim is a former Benedictine Abbey church which, since the time of the Reformation, has been in Lutheran hands. That said, it still retains a number of its Catholic features and the one in particular that I would like to draw readers attention to …

Lessons on Customs and Traditions Seen in St. Wenceslas' Feast and Carol

Lessons on Customs and Traditions Seen in St. Wenceslas' Feast and Carol September 28th marks the feast of St. Wenceslas. When I was a child, one of my favourite Christmas carols was "Good King Wenceslas" which was written by John Mason Neale, an English clergyman who was influenced by the Oxford Movement of Newman's time. My own l…

Vestments from the Cathedral of Seville

Vestments from the Cathedral of Seville Continuing on with our previous article on a spectacular Spanish cope, I wanted to also turn your attention to a spectacular set coming from the Cathedral of Seville. The cathedral in question is host to a great number of precious vestments -- for example, there are over th…

The 1758 Cope of San Juan de Dios, Granada

The 1758 Cope of San Juan de Dios, Granada The following cope is dated to 1758 and presents a fairly rare example of an eighteenth century vestment that includes explicitly religious symbols in its design. Most vestments from this particular century, not to mention much of the previous century, did not contain figur…

Patrons of the Arts: Pope Urban VIII (1568-1644)

Patrons of the Arts: Pope Urban VIII (1568-1644) Pope Urban VIII, born Maffeo Barberini in 1568, was the son of a Florentine nobleman. Because of the untimely death of his father when only aged three, his mother brought him to Rome where he was put under the care of his uncle, a protonotary apostolic. Educated by the Jesu…

The Miraculous Eleventh Century Plague Crucifix of San Miniato

The Miraculous Eleventh Century Plague Crucifix of San Miniato The Church and Sanctuary of the Holy Crucifix ( Chiesa o Santuario del Santissimo Crocifisso ) is located within San Miniato in the beautiful, central Italian region of Tuscany. This baroque era church is home to an impressive eleventh century crucifix -- one that is believed…

The Pax (Osculatorium or Tabula Pacis)

The Pax (Osculatorium or Tabula Pacis) The "pax" is an instrument whose function is best revealed by its Latin name: the osculatorium .  In a nutshell, the osculatorium is a small tablet to be kissed within the context of the sacred liturgy at the sign of peace. The origins of this tablet relate to the …

Benjamin West's Woman of the Apocalypse and the Winged Virgin

Benjamin West's Woman of the Apocalypse and the Winged Virgin Benjamin West (1738-1820) is one of those painters whom critics have long loved to hate. His neoclassical and historical style has seemed, to some, as a hopelessly outdated relic in a world dominated by artistic modernism. West was not Catholic—he grew up in a nominally Qua…

A Brief Consideration of Two Blessed Sacrament Chapels in Padua

A Brief Consideration of Two Blessed Sacrament Chapels in Padua Just as the Church has no singular, official philosophical school to which she formally subscribes, neither does she subscribe to any one particular style or period of art. Instead, her focus has always been on the ideal of noble beauty: that whatever style or artistic scho…

Paris and Lyon: Orphrey Variations in French Vestment Design

Paris and Lyon: Orphrey Variations in French Vestment Design A little over a year ago we took our readers through some of the variations in vestment design that can be found within continental Europe. These variations range from the particular shapes of the vestments in question down to their particular orphrey patterns. For the purp…