Further Considerations of Vestments Depicted in Sacred Art

Our (unofficial) 'series' on vestments in art has proven rather popular, so I thought we'd continue this consideration with a few more finds, beginning with some illustrations taken from 16th-17th century liturgical books.   While these particular illustrations are not coloured obviously, once can still get a sense of both the designs of the textiles from the period, as well as the form of them. In this first instance we see  an episcopal consecration taking place with the co-consecrators each wearing copes where the organi design of the silk damask is clearly portrayed. The chasubles being worn shown something akin to what we would today call a 'Neri' (but which, of course, has nothing specifically to do with St. Philip Neri, other than the fact he is portrayed in such in period paintings of him). 

This next woodcut, which depicts the martyr St. Lawrence, shows similar qualities in the fabric used for the depicted dalmatic. One might also take note of its very ample length and the use of rectangular pieces to depicts the horizontal orphreys. The use of the ornamental collar, now only preserved in Spain, Milan and Lyon, is also worth noting. 

We next have an illustration of a procession of the Blessed Sacrament. The comments made about the fabric of the cope earlier applies here as well, but what I would point our readers attention to here is the surplice depicted at the bottom-right of the illustration. It has the character of what we could today call a "Venetian" or "winged" surplice.

Moving past these illustrations from liturgical books and returning to painted work, here are a few more that I did not publish in our previous articles on this subject. These paintings depict similar styles to that shown in our previous considerations; namely fabric designs that were especially popular during the Renaissance and late middle ages, as can be seen here in the cope and dalmatic worn by the pontiff.

This next painting shows a similarly familiar design on the pontifical dalmatic being worn, however the cope presents a very interesting design which appears to depicts a green velvet cope done in a style we would generally today consider 'French' in terms of its form, with gold embroidery decorating the velvet itself in a pattern both linear and made up of naturalistic motifs.  While are looking at it, I would also turn your attention to the coloured mitre -- something seen in this period -- and the familiar form of the pontifical gloves with its IHS and sunburst design. 

We also turn once again to the familiar use of voided velvet during these centuries. 

As a final consideration today, the following painting is a depiction found in an altarpiece. It is as much interest for the shape of the chasuble as it is the material itself.

If our readers come across further examples of depictions of vestments in artworks or liturgical books that they feel might be of interest to our readers, I would certainly encourage them to send them in to us. 

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