Some Fifteenth Century Chasubles

As chasubles from the fifteenth century and earlier are relatively rare (all things considered) we haven't shown a very great deal of them, so today I thought we would take a look at some from the fifteenth century specifically. It is worth noting that many of these will have been modified in terms of their shape or cut -- adjusting them to later stylistic preferences -- but the cut is not the focus here; rather it is the character of the textiles and orphreys. 

Textiles from this period are frequently, though not always, characterized either by the use of simple (but rich) velvets, or by those that are characterized by bold designs, often based on plant and fruit themes. 

The orphreys from the period are frequently embroidered, inherited often times from the medieval period directly. 

The first example is a classic textile from the period in an Italian Renaissance pomegranate pattern that includes a rich figurative orphrey.

Next we have a violet chasuble from 1490-1510 which is absolutely filled with Christological and Marian themes. The character here is quite medieval. 

Next we have a chasuble dated to 1425-1450 that includes a stamped velvet base typical to the period. Here you can especially see the move toward the style that would become more popular in successive centuries. 

Returning to the pomegranate theme is this Tuscan chasuble dated from 1490-1549. The central orphrey strikes me as likely later than the main red and gold fabric, but this is purely a guess on my part. 

This next chasuble includes a very interesting textile and is dated to the second half of the 15th century. One can see that the figures in the orphrey have been cut off, suggesting the orphrey was either an earlier piece or that the shape of the chasuble was later modified. 

Of course not every chasuble from this period included embroidered orphreys suffice it to say. Here is a 15th century example that relies on the beauty of the fabric to carry the weight of the design, much like designs in successive centuries.

We have shown a lot of red/gold examples here, so we will mix it up now with a bit of green stamped velvet dated to the last decade of the 15th century. 

Here too is a chasuble donated by a 15th century cardinal, done on a blue (or possibly purple) velvet textile in the last quarter of the 15th century.

Again, lest one think the earlier chasuble were always figurative in nature, here is another example in violet dated to 1440-1460. (The shape, however, likely being later modified of course.)

Finally I would conclude with a chasuble that is likely in a shape more indicative to the era, dated to 1440. 

What we might take from these examples is that this period frequently represents a transitional bridge between the medieval era -- which was very often dominated by its figurative imagery showing scenes of the life of Christ and the saints -- with later centuries that relie on ornamentation taken from the natural world -- plants, flowers, vines and fruits typically. 

This shift is no doubt primarily reflective of the shift in tastes that were to found in society in general at these particular times. 

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