A Review of More Sacred Vestments in Sacred Art

Continuing on with our exploration of some of the sacred vestments that appear in sacred art, we've compiled a few more since our last article on this subject. In looking at vestments in art, one must always bear in mind that generally where antique art is concerned, the artists would use examples which come from their own particular period (as these would have been the models available to them in which to work from). In that regard,, when looking at these images, one should not simply look at the beauty of the particular vestments and textiles, one should also take into consideration the place and time in which they were made as this can help to give a sense of the variations of liturgical design in different places and times.

 Our first example is a beautiful depiction of the Roman martyr, St. Lawrence. The painting is from 1520-1530 and certainly in looking at the dalmatic that the saint is depicted as wearing, one will see one of the popular velvet designs coming from that period, accompanied by two embroidered panels. It is a class renaissance vestment in style, materials and design.  (One will also take not of the liturgical collar worn about the neck of the saint and, similarly, the apparel on the alb.)

Saint Lawrence by Girolamo da Santacroce, 1520-1530

Regrettably the next image is a details taken from a larger painted piece, likely an Annunciation panel, depicting the archangel Gabriel wearing a beautiful red mantle/cope. While I do not have the particular date or artist at hand, one can tell that this is likewise a Renaissance work, showing the popular pomengranate pattern textile from that time as the body of the cope itself. It is accompanied by a bejewelled morse/clasp, orphreys and shield. 

Next we have an image of Saint Denis and Companions. This particular work was executed (no pun intended) in the 15th century and in this instance the vestment shown would be from at least a century earlier I would say. The form is conical and the decoration of the material and orphreys (with its repeating pattern of French fleur-de-lys) is medieval in nature. 

St. Denis and Companions by Jean Bourdichon, 15th century

Next we have an image of St. Philip Neri. ere again the article is unknown. The saint of course lived right up until the end of the 16th century, so based upon that and the style of the materials and cut of the vestment we can gauge that this particular work is likely from the 17th century.  Certainly the style of the black/gold velvet would support that, as would the general proportions of the chasuble.  I would suspect this is Spanish in origins for the same reason.  The chasuble includes a beautiful black/gold velvet, while the ophrey is white with embroidered floral ornamentation. 

St. Philip Neri, unknown.

There are many depictions of "the miracle of St. Gregory" and fortunately they almost always include very interesting vestment depictions. Here we have yet another. Like our image of St. Philip Neri above, I know little about it, but it is clearly "Spanish" (I use that term broadly) in its root as can be seen from the shape of the vestments, especially the dalmatics in both cut, the use of the liturgical collarin, and the ornamental orphrey panels.  Stylistically, this could be either 17th or earlier 18th century I would suspect. 

The Miracle of St. Gregory, unknown.

Guido Reni is one of the premiere artists of Rome and his image of St. Andrew Corsini from the earlier part of the 1600's shows a beautiful gold cope with a red orphrey. Once again we see one of the popular patterns from the renaissance in the red/gold textile that makes up the main body of the cope. 

St. Andrew Corsini in Ecstasy by Guido Reni, 1630-1635

In this next image there is a lot going on. It depicts St. Augustine being consecrated a bishop at dates to the late 1400's. We see a truncated gothic chasuble with a y-orphrey depicting various saints. The two consecrating bishops wear silk copes with golden orphreys and, beneath, ornamental dalmatics. In essence what we are seeing here is a nod to both the medieval style (seen the in the design of the mitres and chasuble) and the renaissance one (seen in the episcopal dalmatics). The acolytes are shown in medieval style, wearing apparelled albs. 

Detail: Consecration of St. Augustine of Hippo, ca. 1490

Finally, we have this depiction of the Annunciation taken from the mid 1400's. The archangel Gabriel is depicted here wearing a dalmatic, one again in one of the popular red/gold velvets of the Renaissance period, along with an apparelled alb with green silk/velvet inserts. A green crossed stole is shown worn outside of the dalmatic (as was the custom in earlier centuries, and still is in the Ambrosian rite). 

The Annunciation by Hans Memling, 1465-1470

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