European Art

December 6th: Saint Nicholas of Bari by Carlo Crivelli

I mentioned a few posts ago that I want to talk about some of the historical, religious, and mythological antecedents to Santa Claus. As today is Saint Nicholas's Day, this seems like a perfect time to get started. St. Nicholas (270-343) was a Greek/Turkish bishop and saint who became associated with gift giving due to… Continue reading December 6th: Saint Nicholas of Bari by Carlo Crivelli

American Art

December 5th: Flight into Egypt by Henry Ossawa Tanner

Henry Ossawa Tanner, Flight Into Egypt, 1923. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Photo via the-athenaeum.org. When I decided I wanted to do a flight into Egypt painting today, I expected to pick a famous one.  This common subject for religious paintings, involving Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus fleeing their persecutors on the back of a donkey has been… Continue reading December 5th: Flight into Egypt by Henry Ossawa Tanner

European Art

December 3rd: the Archangel Michael by Guido Reni

What would Christmas be without some angels? This striking painting of the Michael the Archangel is by Italian Baroque painter Guido Reni (1575-1642). In characteristic Baroque fashion, the painting is full of drama. The large figure of Michael is wearing Roman battle attire prepares to impale a tough-looking man representing Satan. Behind him is a shadowy setting with rocks in… Continue reading December 3rd: the Archangel Michael by Guido Reni

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

The Office of the Dead – Day Thirty-One of Medieval Manuscripts

The Office of the Dead (f.99) from the Belles Heures of Jean de Berry. French, c. 1405-9. The Cloisters Collection. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. (CC0 1.0) Today is the last installment of 31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts. I hope everyone has enjoyed seeing and reading about all these beautiful books over the past… Continue reading The Office of the Dead – Day Thirty-One of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

Apocalypse Manuscripts – Day Thirty of Medieval Manuscripts

I'm just going to carry on with this Halloween theme. Apocalypse manuscripts contain St. John the Divine's writings in the Book of Revelation, including supposed details about the end of the world. Remember that the saved and the damned are supposed to have very different experiences in the end, so Apocalypse manuscripts frequently have some pretty extreme… Continue reading Apocalypse Manuscripts – Day Thirty of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves – Day Twenty-Seven of Medieval Manuscripts

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves is a fifteenth-century Dutch book of hours that was owned by a controversial duchess of Guelders. According to the Morgan Library and agreed upon by pretty much every other source I read, the manuscript is "the greatest Dutch illuminated manuscript in the world" (Morgan Library website). The Morgan's description… Continue reading The Hours of Catherine of Cleves – Day Twenty-Seven of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

The Morgan Library Crusader Bible – Day Twenty-Six of Medieval Manuscripts

I couldn't wrap up thirty-one days of medieval manuscripts without featuring at least one Bible! The Morgan Library's Crusader Bible (MS M.638) was made in Paris in the 1240s. It presents the Old Testament completely in pictures; there's very little text, none of which is original to the book. The manuscript is famous for the… Continue reading The Morgan Library Crusader Bible – Day Twenty-Six of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

St. Cuthbert’s Gospel – Day Twenty of Medieval Manuscripts

I'm starting to realize that I prefer older (pre-10th century) medieval manuscripts to later ones. I think I'm attracted to older manuscripts' inherent mysteries - we simply don't know as much about their makers or original owners. Accordingly, today's feature is the St. Cuthbert Gospel, a seventh-century English gospel book now owned by the British… Continue reading St. Cuthbert’s Gospel – Day Twenty of Medieval Manuscripts

31 Days of Medieval Manuscripts

The Book of Durrow – Day Seventeen of Medieval Manuscripts

The Book of Durrow has always been fascinating to me, probably because it was the first medieval manuscript I studied in college. The Book of Durrow is stylistically related to the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels, both of which I've previously discussed, but the Book of Durrow pre-dates the other two. In fact, it is the earliest-known… Continue reading The Book of Durrow – Day Seventeen of Medieval Manuscripts