Monday, February 16, 2015

Through the viewfinder: Scenes from the life of Saint Andrew

In this series, named after TtV photography,  I want to share with you a work of art, be it a painting, sculpture, manuscript or drawing from my vast collection of museum visit images.

I can't say that I usually pay much attention to Spanish art in museums. After all, my focus in both research and living history is North and Western Europe. I have to admit though, that many interesting things can be found in southern European art, even for the scholar and amateur alike that study different regions alltogether. It is often in the differences in what we see that we can learn something about our own subject. Take dress for instance, only by comparing the dress of different areas, it becomes clear what features are typical for a certain place at a certain time.

This altar (dated 1420-30) is thought to be the major work of an anonymous artist, known as the Master of Roussillon, who was influenced by Lluís Borrassa (active between 1380-1424/5). He worked in the region of Roussillon, in Catalonia. The altar is believed to have originally come from a church in the city of Perpignan. For a full view of the altar, follow this link.
The central panel shows Saint Andrew, both apostle and a disciple of Saint John the Baptist, who is holding his attribute: a cross. In the panel above are the Virgin and child surrounded by saints and angels. The flanking panels depict important events in Saint Andrews's life, while the scenes in the predella below are devoted to a number of more obscure episodes.

I have to confess that initially it was the funny looking frilled veil on one of the side panels that made me stop.

Saint Andrew saving a bishop from the Devil, who is disguised as a woman

Do you notice her funny (and coloured!) top frill and a white veil or coif with a narrow black frilled edge? I'm not sure if this actually represents a type of headwear that existed in real life, after all, this lady does represent the devil, but it sure looks fantastic. I also love her fabulous black gown. Disney should have used this figure as an example for Snow White's evil queen!

Women taking Saint Andrew to her sister

Somewhat less spectacular perhaps, but I loved this scene from the predella because of the wonderful fabric on the bed and the interesting white caps and neck coverlets  the three women are wearing.

The crucifixion of Saint Andrew

Well, I cut Saint Andrew out of this detail, so what you see is actually the men crucifying him, rather than him being crucified. These bad guys do wear some marvelous clothes though. Did you spot the scalloped wings at the shoulders of the lavender grey robe? I wish I could have a garment like that. Seriously. I might consider reenacting a biblical bad guy from the Pirenées just to have a justification for having such a thing.

(Not really though!)


Consuelo said...

sorry for not writing in English.

El diablo lleva una garlanda sobre un toca. Y el vestido es una hopalanda.
Las otras mujeres llevan tocas.
Le pongo enlaces

best regards

Isis said...

Luckily we have google translate in this world! ;)

Thanks for you comment.

I however don't agree that the headwear is a garlanda. You don't seem to be very sure of that yourself in the description on your blog: "Garlanda seguramente de piel bajo toca." I don't know on what grounds you say it 'certainly' is a garlanda made of fur/leather. It certainly does not look like either of those two to me.
That the long robe is a houpelande is of course quite clear, but it is a quite unusual type with the really high collar.

Consuelo said...

La forma del tocado nos lleva a la garlanda (no hay tocados similares a este en España salvo el Rollo, pero lo descarto ya que no parece estar relleno) y que sea de piel o no es la duda que tengo porque no he visto el cuadro más que en fotografía y el aspecto que tiene es de piel (por cierto, pues "bajo" toca y es "encima de" de la toca).

En España las hopalandas con cuello tan alto fueron habituales.

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