Fifteenth Century Paraments of the Order of the Golden Fleece

The following vestments, presently found within the collection of the Imperial Treasury of Vienna, are examples of early to mid fifteenth century works that were commissioned for the Distinguished Order of the Golden Fleece 

The chasuble is dated to circa 1430-1440 and depicts a subject which comes up far too infrequently in vestment work, the Transfiguration. On the back of the chasuble, within the orphrey, Christ is shown transfigured on the mountain top with St. Peter, St. James and St. John below and God the Father, Moses and St. Elias above.  Surrounding this are various architectural niches in a honeycomb like pattern which contain angels. 

One will note how the orphrey actually overlaps the underlying textile with its angels. Indeed, this chasuble seems to have three layers, one set on top of the other: the main body of the chasuble, the orphrey and the large figures. 

On the front of the chasuble we find the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan by St. John the Baptist.  Above are found the other Two Persons of the Holy Trinity in yet another depiction of God the Father and the dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit. As with the back, numerous other angelic beings decorate the rest of the chasuble. 

A detail better showing Moses, God the Father and Elias:

One interesting note is to compare how the transfigured versus non-transfigured Christ figures are depicted so as to emphasize the biblical account of Christ's appearance with its underlying implications.  

Next we have the cope, dated to the same period as the chasuble. The shield portion of the cope bears an image of the Virgin Mary, while the orphrey panels depict apostles and prophets.  Outside of these, all of the other depictions found on the cope show female saints -- located once again within the honeycomb like patterned design. 

Our final piece for your consideration is the antependium. The dating is, once again, the same, and the central panel, depicting the Holy Trinity, is attributed to the Master of Flemalle  -- one of the pioneers of Dutch realism.  The Trinity shown includes God the Father holding the Sacrificed Christ -- which makes perfect symbolic sense in relation to the altar and the Sacrifice of the Mass.  Outside this central depiction are found various male saints and Old Testament prophets. 
Truly stunningly beautiful works. 

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