Classicism Meets Catholicism in these Rococo Vestments from Lithuania

I am, admittedly, not a fan particularly of vestments which employ full blown scenes upon them -- an article perhaps for another day.  However, personal preferences aside, this particular series of vestments -- which originated within Lithuania -- are certainly worth sharing for reason of their rather unique imagery. 

These particular vestments date from the last quarter of the 18th century (and possibly into the very early 19th) and show the popular influence of neo-classicism of that period. The figurative compositions combine Christian imagery with symbols of classical antiquity.

The chasuble itself has its core imagery of the Nativity while beneath is found a winged male figure that could be understood as angelic but actually depicts the Greek god Chronos carrying the Holy Family on his wings. It is considered "an allegory of the Son of God entering the flow of time." Beneath is a scene which is no doubt showing the cathedral of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. 

Similarly, the hood of this cope contains a personification of "Wisdom" from the Book of Proverbs in a figural depiction that is reminiscent of the Greek figure of Athena. 
While dispensing with the classical imagery, given the similar stylistic approach, I also wished to take this opportunity to share the following dalmatic which depicts an image of St. Joseph Calasanz being spoken to by God the Father, commanding him to assist the orphans. 
Continuing with the orphan theme is a scene taken from the Old Testament whereby Pharaoh's daughter finds the child Moses in the river and ultimately adopts him. 

Certainly very unique vestments to say the least demonstrating the diversity of approaches and symbolism that has been utilized over the course of centuries in a style that is at once classical as well as 'rustic.' 

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.