The Pax (Osculatorium or Tabula Pacis)

The Pax (Osculatorium or Tabula Pacis) The "pax" is an instrument whose function is best revealed by its Latin name: the osculatorium .  In a nutshell, the osculatorium is a small tablet to be kissed within the context of the sacred liturgy at the sign of peace. The origins of this tablet relate to the …

Benjamin West's Woman of the Apocalypse and the Winged Virgin

Benjamin West's Woman of the Apocalypse and the Winged Virgin Benjamin West (1738-1820) is one of those painters whom critics have long loved to hate. His neoclassical and historical style has seemed, to some, as a hopelessly outdated relic in a world dominated by artistic modernism. West was not Catholic—he grew up in a nominally Qua…

A Brief Consideration of Two Blessed Sacrament Chapels in Padua

A Brief Consideration of Two Blessed Sacrament Chapels in Padua Just as the Church has no singular, official philosophical school to which she formally subscribes, neither does she subscribe to any one particular style or period of art. Instead, her focus has always been on the ideal of noble beauty: that whatever style or artistic scho…

Paris and Lyon: Orphrey Variations in French Vestment Design

Paris and Lyon: Orphrey Variations in French Vestment Design A little over a year ago we took our readers through some of the variations in vestment design that can be found within continental Europe. These variations range from the particular shapes of the vestments in question down to their particular orphrey patterns. For the purp…

The Stonyhurst Vestments: Catholic Vestments of Tudor England

The Stonyhurst Vestments: Catholic Vestments of Tudor England The Gold and Glory exhibition in London only recently just ended but one of its features will surely be of some interest to our readers: the Stonyhurst vestments. By way of a little background, the exhibition itself took place in Hampton Court Palace within the rooms used b…

The Ossuary Chapel of San Martino della Battaglia

The Ossuary Chapel of San Martino della Battaglia The Ossuary chapel of San Martino della Battaglia is located in the north of Italy and is host to the remains of over one thousand soldiers who fought and died in the battle of San Martino . Originally this chapel was a chapel like any other, but in the latter half of the 19…

Before and After: St. Augustine's in Granada, Spain

Before and After: St. Augustine's in Granada, Spain Granda Liturgical Arts is one of the very well known, multi-disciplinary, contemporary liturgical art firms, working in diverse fields ranging from vestments, metalwork, woodworking and ore. As part of our ever popular "before and after" series, I wanted to share …

A Brief Survey of Some New Vestment Work

A Brief Survey of Some New Vestment Work The advent of September always brings thoughts -- for me at least -- of work beginning anew and as it has been awhile since we had checked in with some of our vestment designers, I thought it would be a good time to take a quick review of some of what they've been up to…

Some Impressive Monumental Lipsanotheca and Relic Chapels

Some Impressive Monumental Lipsanotheca and Relic Chapels Throughout Europe, as well as the "old new-world" (i.e. the Spanish missions) one can find some impressive displays of relics (and of course their associated reliquaries) frequently called lipsanotheca .  The word lipsanotheca specifically comes with reference to t…

The Neapolitan Reliquaries of Fra Diego da Careri (1606-1661)

The Neapolitan Reliquaries of Fra Diego da Careri (1606-1661) While I regrettably have very little information to provide to you, these works are simply too good to pass up. What you are looking at are the reliquaries attributed to Fra Diego da Careri (1606-1661), a sculptor and Franciscan friar. The works in question are dated to the…

Before and After: Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego

Before and After: Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego C onrad Schmitt Studios  recently drew our attention to another 'before and after' project, this time coming within the context of Our Lady of the Rosary in San Diego, California. The project in question was primarily focused on the restoration and reinvigoration of t…

An Early 16th Century Masterpiece of Woodcarving: The Altar of Sant’Abbondio in Como, Italy

An Early 16th Century Masterpiece of Woodcarving: The Altar of Sant’Abbondio in Como, Italy [The following piece was written by our colleague, Nicola de Grandi, and it comes at an apropos time as today, September 1st, is when the fifth century bishop and saint, St. Abbondio  -- the patron saint of Como -- is commemorated in that place; a place made famous througho…

The 1574 Pentecost Vestments of the Franciscan Shrine of La Verna

The 1574 Pentecost Vestments of the Franciscan Shrine of La Verna With the subject of the Franciscan shrine at La Verna fresh in mind with our recent considerations of the " tonacella " worn by its novices (seen on the left), I am put to mind of an impressive set of solemn vestments also found at the shrine: The "parato di Pe…

Liturgical Curiosities: The Franciscan Tonacella Per Novizi at La Verna and the Orfroi of the Rite of Lyon

Liturgical Curiosities: The Franciscan Tonacella Per Novizi at La Verna and the Orfroi of the Rite of Lyon The Franciscan Shrine at La Verna, located in Tuscany, is the place where St. Francis of Assisi is said to have received the stigmata.  There are many matters of interest in La Verna, not the least of which a liturgical curiosity known as the "tonacella per novizi"…

The Tree of Life - Living Vine Crucifix

The Tree of Life - Living Vine Crucifix [We are pleased to present the following essay written by Michael Raia of Studio io  detailing a work that was commissioned by that firm from another that our readers will be already quite familiar with,  ALBL Oberammergau . The work in question is a new Italianate style cruci…

Daniel Rock: Nineteenth Century Ecclesiologist and Liturgiologist

Daniel Rock: Nineteenth Century Ecclesiologist and Liturgiologist Many of us are more than familiar with liturgiologists such as Edmund Bishop and Archdale King, to name only a couple, however one individual who is perhaps less familiar for us today is the Rev. Daniel Rock, D.D.. Accordingly, I thought perhaps some introductions might be …

The Presence of Old Testament Righteous in the Liturgical Calendar and Liturgical Art of East and West

The Presence of Old Testament Righteous in the Liturgical Calendar and Liturgical Art of East and West One of the many elements of the Eastern Church which I have always held in fond regard is the prominence that we find there for the Old Testament righteous. Within the Byzantine liturgical calendar for instance, a number of Old Testament prophets and righteous have particul…

Revisiting the Ciborium Magnum

Revisiting the Ciborium Magnum When one thinks of the great basilicas of Rome, while there are many artistic and architectural elements to attract one's eye, invariably one's eye is drawn to the ciborium magnum -- and, thus, to the very altar itself which it covers and enshrines.  The word "…

Fifteenth Century Paraments of the Order of the Golden Fleece

Fifteenth Century Paraments of the Order of the Golden Fleece The following vestments, presently found within the collection of the Imperial Treasury of Vienna, are examples of early to mid fifteenth century works that were commissioned for the Distinguished Order of the Golden Fleece  The chasuble is dated to circa 1430-1440 and depic…

What Sits Beneath S. Agnese in Agone (and Piazza Navona)

What Sits Beneath S. Agnese in Agone (and Piazza Navona) Piazza Navona is surely one of the most popular piazzas in all of Rome with its fountains, Egyptian obelisk, churches and general architectural and atmospheric appeal. What many may or may not realize is the site of the present day piazza is the former site of the Stadium o…

Notre Dame des Victoires in Quebec City

Notre Dame des Victoires in Quebec City One of the books found in my library is titled, The Old Churches of the Province of Québec: 1647-1800 . It is an interesting title for me as I am quite interested in the early Catholic history of New France. One of the churches found in that book is Notre-Dame-des-Victoires,…

Four Generations of Woodcarvers: A Brief History of Mussner G. Vincenzo Ars Sacra

Four Generations of Woodcarvers: A Brief History of Mussner G. Vincenzo Ars Sacra The “Mussner G. Vincenzo” studio is located in Ortisei, the main village of the Val Gardena, nestled in the Dolomite Mountains of north-eastern Italy. This small valley is known as “the valley of woodcarvers” because for the last four hundred years locals here have earned t…

Cerulean Blue Marian Vestments from Formerly Colonial Peru

Cerulean Blue Marian Vestments from Formerly Colonial Peru Being so close to the Assumption, I thought it apropos to share another vestment set in blue coming from the Spanish tradition. The shape of the chasuble is, of course, Spanish, being a much more truncated form that the more ample Italo-Roman form. The colour is blue, and s…

The Silver Altar Dressings of the Huesca Cathedral

The Silver Altar Dressings of the Huesca Cathedral This spectacular ensemble, collected over several centuries, with pieces dating from the 16th to the 19th century, consists of the frontal for the altar, together with three gradines and a decorative canopied dossal for the exposition of the blessed sacrament, along with ot…

New Traveling Altar Cards by Gammarelli

New Traveling Altar Cards by Gammarelli G ammarelli 's, nestled in the heart of historic Rome, is now offering a special edition of folding altar cards for the usus antiquior by Claritate.  These quality cards are illustrated with images from the Raphael Rooms ( Stanze di Raffaello ) in the Apostolic Palace (seen…

Raised Embroidered Chasuble of the Late Fifteenth Century

Raised Embroidered Chasuble of the Late Fifteenth Century The following chasuble comes from Bohemia and is dated to circa 1480-1500.  The main material of the chasuble is a green velvet that has had a pattern created within it by a process called "voiding." Voided velvet is created when the velvet is woven in such a way …

The San Juan de los Reyes Antependium (Toledo, ca. 1530)

The San Juan de los Reyes Antependium (Toledo, ca. 1530) The antependium, or altar frontal, that we are looking at today is dated to 1530 with its origins being identified as Toledo, Spain, originally made for the Franciscan monastery of San Juan de los Reyes which was founded by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella of Spain to c…

Canadian Iconographer Frank C. Turner

Canadian Iconographer Frank C. Turner A well-known Canadian Catholic in the Archdiocese of Vancouver is Frank C. Turner , a baby-boomer actor turned iconographer from Holy Family parish in East Vancouver.  Frank was born and raised in Alberta where in his youth he was a dedicated altar boy, serving Mass in Latin…

The Pre-55 Calendar and Inculturation

The Pre-55 Calendar and Inculturation The last half century has seen a great push for inculturation and adaptation of the Roman liturgy to various lands and peoples. Paradoxically, however, this same period also saw a dramatic simplification of the liturgical calendar. I say paradoxically because the calendar h…

Church of St. Joseph: Oldest Catholic Church in North Carolina

Church of St. Joseph: Oldest Catholic Church in North Carolina It was a pleasure to attend Holy Mass at St. Joseph's in Mt. Holly, North Carolina.  This delightfully charming little church is the oldest standing Catholic church in the state.  The original church building is still in existence, made of wood by Irish farmers and gold…