Baroque and Rococo Chasubles from Eastern Europe

If you look toward Eastern Europe, one will see a rather different influence in design compared to their Western European counterparts -- a certain rustic quality one might say. While they are indeed of the same design family in many regards, nonetheless the style and the technique used in their execution is certainly distinctive and today I thought we'd take a look at four chasubles from Lithuania, two of them are considered examples of Rococo, dated to the third quarter of the 18th century, and the other two are from the 17th century, representing the baroque period. 

In our article, Baroque Versus Rococo: What's the Difference? we explored some of the differences between the two styles and you will see those differences also reflected here. Rococo was particularly known for its exuberance of colour by comparison with its baroque cousin, and in these two Rococo period chasubles, ornamented by depictions of various saints, one will certainly see that reflected:

What I personally find very appealing in these two chasubles is the very delicate use of colour. While in the nineteenth century colours often became very dark and high in contrast, within these we see a much more muted approach to the colour scheme, yet one which is still bright and airy, lending the designs a particular festal appeal.

Baroque, on the other hand, was much less characterized by its use of colour; golds, silvers and whites tended to predominate with a particular fixation on a sense of movement -- shown here in the bold, meandering floral and organic forms going down each side of the main orphreys.  

The first chasuble includes an image of the Immaculate Conception, the Virgin crowned in stars, crushing the head of the serpent with the image of the dove representing the Holy Spirit above her, and above it, a representation of God the Father. 

The second chasuble includes an image of St. Casimir, prince of Lithuania and Poland, gazing upon the Madonna and Child.

The use of images of the saints during this period of time was less common in places such as France, Italy and Austria and in that regard might be understood to represent a difference of emphasis found within Eastern Europe that was perhaps influenced by the importance of the image in Eastern Christianity -- but this is purely speculative on my part. 

Photos: © Ba┼żnytinio paveldo muziejus 2018

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