Three Titular Cardinals of San Lorenzo in Lucina and Their Violet Vestments

With Advent now upon us,  a season of penitential coloured vestments, let's take a look at three exquisite samples of some antique violet vestments coming from the 1600's and 1700's, each belonging to a cardinal of the Roman church.

The first example was made in Rome and is dated to the period of 1695-1727 and bear the arms of Cardinal Giuseppe Sacripante (1642-1727). Because it bears his arms as a cardinal, we can date the chasuble to this specific range of time for it was in 1695 that Sacripante was elevated to the rank of cardinal and given the titular church of Santa Prassede and finally San Lorenzo in Lucina. He would go on to become Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Council, as well as for the Council of the Propagation of the Faith and Camerlengo. 

The design is very typical to its period and represents the most precious form of sacred vestment that was produced at the time. Gold thread embroidery is set into floriated vine work on a purple/gold silk lamé. As was so often the case in this period of time, the embroidery design is done in such a way that the orphrey and equivalent to the gallons are embroidered more heavily to maintain the visual structure of a traditional chasuble design. (Think here of one that has no embroidery and simply uses galloons and trims set onto silk.) 

The maniple and chalice veil from the set are also worth a look:

Our next example comes from Trent and is dated to 1604-1629. It too bears the stemma of a cardinal, in this instance Cardinal Carlo Gaudenzio Madruzzo (1562-1629).  Here again we know with greater precision the possible date range of manufacture of the chasuble precisely because of the inclusion of the cardinals arms. Upon being made a cardinal, he was given the title of San Caesario in Palatio and, yet again, San Lorenzo in Lucina. 

Once again we see a very delicate style of embroidery that was very typical to this particular period of history -- compared to the embroideries of the next century by comparison.  The violet silk that makes up the basis of this chasuble is of the darker, greyish, bluish-purple sort of variety.Set against the gold, it makes for a beautiful contrast. 

Speaking of the heavier embroideries of a century later, our third and final sample is another cardinalatial chasuble, this time dated to the period of 1766, like the first made in Rome, and bearing the arms of Cardinal Giovanni Carlo Boschi (1715-1788). Like the two cardinal's before him, his titular church was one of the 'Laurentian' churches in the city of Rome, San Lorenzo in Lucina, and prior to that Santi Giovanni e Paolo.. He would become a Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary.

The shade of purple used on this particular chasuble (yet again a purple/gold silk lamé) is really quite fine, accented by the bright yellow gold embroideries that are set into floriated motifs, checkerboard patterns and the inclusion of grape clusters. While I regrettably cannot provide you with a closer view of it. the stemma is a masterpiece of colour and texture. 

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