Other Modern in Fontgombault

Today I wished to share with LAJ readers another entry in our Other Modern series. This particular set of vestments is one that I featured many years ago on NLM, but I hadn't the opportunity at that time to show them used within their proper liturgical context.

Recently that was remedied when I came across these photos on Le Petite Placide.  The photos are set within the gorgeous abbey church of Notre Dame de Fontgombault for the feast of Pentecost, having in turn been taken from the Dictionnaire des arts liturgiques published by Fremur.

Let's take a look.

An atmospheric image to set the context and stage

The vestments in question were designed by Dom Hans Van Der Laan, OSB, (1904 - 1991) of the Abbey of Oosterhout in the Netherlands. After this abbey closed, these vestments made their way to the French Abbey of Notre-Dame de Fontgombault.

Here is a slightly closer look at the vestments which Fontgombault kindly sent to me.

One might question the characterization of "modern" in their regard, however "other modern" is invariably characterized by elements both traditional and contemporary -- and it is this clear connection which precisely makes them "other modern."

Certainly the cut of these vestments is quite traditional, taking their inspiration from the first millennium of Church history, and the textiles, taken on their own, are also traditional in their design. It is, however, their particular arrangement and combinations that place them solidly within the context of the revivals of the twentieth century Liturgical Movement and the contemporary interpretations that often accompanied them. It is for this reason I would tend to class these as examples of Other Modern.

Even if you do not agree, however, they remain an interesting example of some of the revivalist work of the Liturgical Movement -- particularly within its monastic incarnations.

For more information on the work of Dom Van der Laan, see my article on New Liturgical Movement, The Vestment Work of Dom Hans Van Der Laan, OSB from August 2010.

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