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…

The Stonyhurst Vestments: Catholic Vestments of Tudor England

The Stonyhurst Vestments: Catholic Vestments of Tudor England The Gold and Glory exhibition in London only recently just ended but one of its features will surely be of some interest to our readers: the Stonyhurst vestments. By way of a little background, the exhibition itself took place in Hampton Court Palace within the rooms used b…

The Ossuary Chapel of San Martino della Battaglia

The Ossuary Chapel of San Martino della Battaglia The Ossuary chapel of San Martino della Battaglia is located in the north of Italy and is host to the remains of over one thousand soldiers who fought and died in the battle of San Martino . Originally this chapel was a chapel like any other, but in the latter half of the 19…

Before and After: St. Augustine's in Granada, Spain

Before and After: St. Augustine's in Granada, Spain Granda Liturgical Arts is one of the very well known, multi-disciplinary, contemporary liturgical art firms, working in diverse fields ranging from vestments, metalwork, woodworking and ore. As part of our ever popular "before and after" series, I wanted to share …

A Brief Survey of Some New Vestment Work

A Brief Survey of Some New Vestment Work The advent of September always brings thoughts -- for me at least -- of work beginning anew and as it has been awhile since we had checked in with some of our vestment designers, I thought it would be a good time to take a quick review of some of what they've been up to…

Some Impressive Monumental Lipsanotheca and Relic Chapels

Some Impressive Monumental Lipsanotheca and Relic Chapels Throughout Europe, as well as the "old new-world" (i.e. the Spanish missions) one can find some impressive displays of relics (and of course their associated reliquaries) frequently called lipsanotheca .  The word lipsanotheca specifically comes with reference to t…

The Neapolitan Reliquaries of Fra Diego da Careri (1606-1661)

The Neapolitan Reliquaries of Fra Diego da Careri (1606-1661) While I regrettably have very little information to provide to you, these works are simply too good to pass up. What you are looking at are the reliquaries attributed to Fra Diego da Careri (1606-1661), a sculptor and Franciscan friar. The works in question are dated to the…

Before and After: Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego

Before and After: Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego C onrad Schmitt Studios  recently drew our attention to another 'before and after' project, this time coming within the context of Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego, California. The project in question was primarily focused on the restoration and reinvigoration of t…

An Early 16th Century Masterpiece of Woodcarving: The Altar of Sant’Abbondio in Como, Italy

An Early 16th Century Masterpiece of Woodcarving: The Altar of Sant’Abbondio in Como, Italy [The following piece was written by our colleague, Nicola de Grandi, and it comes at an apropos time as today, September 1st, is when the fifth century bishop and saint, St. Abbondio  -- the patron saint of Como -- is commemorated in that place; a place made famous througho…