An "Everyday" Solemn Mass Set from Renaissance Florence

Over the years we have shown many examples of ornate vestments from various periods of church history ranging from medieval to modern times. These frequently have included ornate embroideries, prelatial stemma and so forth. Of course, while these are representative of the highest end of vestments from any given period, given that in many instances they belonged to cardinals, bishops and the like, the question might be fairly asked: What about -- for the lack of a better term -- "everyday" vestments? By "everyday" I do not of course mean low quality, nor "cheap" in any qualitative sense. What I mean is simply the sort of work that might have found its way into your more typical urban parish setting.

To help explore that, I thought it might be of interest to take a look at a Solemn Mass set dated to the Renaissance period -- specifically to the second half of the sixteenth century. This particular set was manufactured in the very heart of the Renaissance, namely Florence, and so we could hope for no better  example of what we might consider a more 'typical' solemn Mass set from that period. 

This particular set is not characterized by the beauty of its embroideries but rather relies on the beauty of its textiles, the base of which is a gold brocade fabric with beautiful secondary colours of rosacea and a design which includes thistles and pomegranate motifs throughout. 

To accent this primary silk, a similarly coloured and styled gold and red velvet textile is used for the decorative orphreys on the chasuble, dalmatic and tunicle, as well as for the bottoms of the stoles and maniples. Here is an example:

Here is how it all this all comes together. It is a style which is both indicative of the tastes and designs of the period, and it also has the benefit of being something entirely reproducible in our own age. 


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