Solemn Mass Set of Msgr. Gaspare Cantagalli, Vice President of the Vatican Secretariat of State

The following is an example of a twentieth century set of vestments of Florentine manufacture coming from the diocese of Faenza-Modigliana in the northern part of Italy. The set bears the arms (stemma) of Monsignor Gaspare Cantagalli who was the Vice President of the Vatican Secretariat of State from 1955-1969. 

The set is made of a silk brocade, spun metallic gold thread and includes polychrome floral designs. It's floral composition suggests that it would have likely been destined for use within the context of Marian feasts or for solemnities such as Easter -- though obviously it could have been utilized in any liturgically white feast strictly speaking.

What this particular example demonstrates, to my mind at least, is precisely the level of craftsmanship that was still being attained well into the 20th century in some parts of the Catholic world.  The quality of the material, the galloons and the stemma are second to none by comparison with any previous century.

Let's begin by taking a look at the three major component pieces of the set: the chasuble, the dalmatic (the tunicle is the same in its design) and the cope.

In addition to these primary pieces, here are a few other pieces from the set:

Chalice Veil
Humeral Veil
While not of the highest resolution, here too is a closer look at the stemma from the set. You will see here that it has the desirable characteristics of heraldry as traditionally manifest on vestments -- namely, being well integrated into the rest of the design (as opposed to merely appearing "tacked on") and of a three dimensional character (rather than the flat quality so often found in modern machine embroidery).

A very fine set indeed and one well suited to the solemn times in which it would have been liturgically used.

Photo credits: BeWeb

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