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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  December 2015

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION December 2015

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Subject:

FEAST - A Saint for the Day (Dec. 29): St. Thomas of Canterbury

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 29 Dec 2015 07:19:35 +0000

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

A Londoner, Thomas Becket was successively archdeacon of Canterbury, chancellor of England under Henry II, and (from 1162) archbishop of Canterbury. In the latter post, his defence of ecclesiastical rights soon led to a falling out with Henry and to Thomas' withdrawal to France, where he remained until 1170. His return to Canterbury in that year had papal backing but only grudging acceptance from the king. The two were still quite unreconciled when Thomas was assassinated in his cathedral on 29. December 1170 by knights who thought that they were doing Henry a favor. Thomas' life of penitence and self-mortification while archbishop contributed to his image as a saintly martyr. He was canonized in 1173 and Vitae (with miracle accounts) soon followed.


Supplementing Gordon Plumb's recent post, herewith some links to further medieval images of St. Thomas of Canterbury:

a) as depicted (T. with three monks; T. martyred by three knights) in a later twelfth-century psalter and hymnal for the Use of the abbey of Saint-Fuscien in Amiens (Amiens, Bibliothèques d'Amiens Métropole, ms. 19, fol. 8r):
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht3/IRHT_058200-p.jpg
Detail views:
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht3/IRHT_058202-p.jpg
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht3/IRHT_058201-p.jpg

b) as depicted (martyrdom) in a later twelfth-century wall painting in the iglesia de San Nicolás in Soria (Castilla y León). The painting is exceptional in that it shows Thomas being stabbed in the back rather than struck in the head or the neck (for a similar instance see below at item dd). Linked to here are two news reports from 2009 with different views of it:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8029320.stm
http://iconosmedievales.blogspot.com/2009/11/csi-soria.html
and a brief BBC film clip showing more of the painting:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8192655.stm
Another view:
http://tinyurl.com/k5rsneh

c) as depicted (martyrdom scenes) on a later twelfth-century reliquary chest from Limoges (ca. 1173-1180?) in the British Museum, London:
http://tinyurl.com/zqkh4d3
NB: In dating this object to "1170 (circa)", the British Museum broaches the intriguing possibility of its manufacture in 1169, the year before Thomas' martyrdom.  One does sometimes see cult images adorned with a halo in anticipation of the subject's impending canonization or beatification.  But ordering up a reliquary for someone still alive and apparently healthy, esp. one that depicts the manner of that someone's death, bespeaks foresightedness of a rather different order.

d) as depicted (martyrdom scenes) on a later twelfth-century reliquary chest (ca. 1173-1180) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:
http://tinyurl.com/27s42cx

e) as depicted (martyrdom) in a perhaps later twelfth-century fresco (after 1173; alternatively: after 1220) in the chiesa dei Santi Giovanni e Paolo, Spoleto:
http://www.atlantedellarteitaliana.it/immagine/00022/15077OP24079.jpg 

f) as depicted (martyrdom) in a later twelfth-century full-page miniature (betw. 1175 and 1200) inserted into an earlier thirteenth-century psalter of English origin (London, BL, Harley MS 5102, pt. 2, fol. 32r):
https://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=16609  

g) as depicted (enthronement, martyrdom, and burial) in a late twelfth- or perhaps early thirteenth- century fresco (variously dated to ca. 1180 and to ca. 1200) in the iglesia de Santa María de Terrassa (_aliter_: Santa María d'Egara) in Terrassa (Vallés Occidental), Cataluña:
http://tinyurl.com/ngs6w9k
Detail view:
http://tinyurl.com/j3gexrm

h) as depicted on a late twelfth-century silk mitre with English embroidery (ca. 1180-1200; from the abbey of Seligenthal) in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, Munich:
http://tinyurl.com/o6dp6g7 

i) as depicted (at center) in the late twelfth-century apse mosaics (ca. 1182) of the basilica cattedrale di Santa Maria, Monreale:
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3164/2575093180_0101779142_b.jpg

j) as depicted (martyrdom) in one of four panels of a full-page illumination in the late twelfth-century so-called Bible of Saint Bertin (ca. 1190-1200; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 5, fol. 28v, sc. 2B):
http://manuscripts.kb.nl/zoom/BYVANCKB%3Amimi_76f5%3A028v_min_b2

k) as portrayed in relief (martyrdom scenes) on the late twelfth-century baptismal font (ca. 1190-1200) in the church at Lyngsjö (Skåne län):
http://www.nordenskirker.dk/Tidligere/Lyngsjoe_kirke/Lyngsjoe_kirke406.htm
http://www.nordenskirker.dk/Tidligere/Lyngsjoe_kirke/Lyngsjoe_kirke408.htm
More views of this font are here (scroll down to "Døbefont"):
http://www.nordenskirker.dk/Tidligere/Lyngsjoe_kirke/Billedliste.htm

l) as depicted (martyrdom) on some of the numerous Becket reliquary chests made at Limoges in the later twelfth and early thirteenth centuries:
1) Ornamental reliquary châsse (ca. 1180) in the British Museum, London:
http://tinyurl.com/3ykvus6
2) Another (ca. 1180-1190), in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London:
http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O80222/the-becket-casket-casket-unknown/
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Becket_casket.jpg
http://tinyurl.com/c6lz8gz
3) a long side of another (late twelfth-century), in the Musée du Louvre, Paris:
http://tinyurl.com/3a362o7 
4) Two more whole chests (ca. 1190-1200 or a little later), in the Musée national du Moyen Âge (Musée de Cluny), Paris:
http://tinyurl.com/3xmjq6b
and
http://tinyurl.com/2uvzkvj
5) Another (ca. 1200), in the Musée municipal de l'Évêché, Limoges:
http://www.culture.gouv.fr/emolimo/thomas1.htm 
6) Another (ca. 1200), in the Museum Schnütgen (St. Cäcilien), Köln:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2354/2127843870_2dcb1823bb_o.jpg
7) Another (ca. 1205-1215), in the Musée d'Art et d'Archéologie (musée des Beaux-Arts), Guéret (Creuse):
http://www.culture.gouv.fr/emolimo/thomas2.htm 
8) Another (ca. 1210), in the Musée des beaux-arts in Lyon:
http://tinyurl.com/35c4jgs
9) Another (ca. 1210), in the British Museum, London:
http://tinyurl.com/jmzraod
10) Another (earlier thirteenth-century), in the Museo della Cattedrale di Lucca (Museo diocesano; in the second view seen through tinted glass):
http://www.museocattedralelucca.it/img/pics/scrigno.jpg
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3522/3837386490_88c39bba7c_o.jpg

Can't get enough?  Images of these objects and a few others of their kind will be found here:
http://tinyurl.com/9jz8ll
Still can't get enough? Links to images of these objects and many others of their kind will be found here:
http://conclarendon.blogspot.com/2015_09_01_archive.html

m) as portrayed (martyrdom) in a late twelfth- or early thirteenth-century copper gilt relief (ca. 1200) in the Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin:
http://tinyurl.com/3o5ugnz

n) as depicted (martyrdom) in a thirteenth-century fresco in Pavia's chiesa di San Lanfranco:
http://www.sanlanfranco.it/uploads/pics/w_assasinioTomasBecket.png

o) as portrayed (scenes) on an early thirteenth-century liturgical comb from England in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York: 
http://tinyurl.com/q6mno6r

p) as depicted (scenes) in the earlier thirteenth-century Becket Leaves in the British Library (ca. 1220-1240; four leaves from an illustrated rhymed Passio of Thomas of Canterbury in French; all eight sides headed by an illumination suggestive of the work of Matthew Paris):
http://www.angelfire.com/pa4/becketleaves/ 

q) as depicted (martyrdom) in the mid-thirteenth-century Carrow Psalter (Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery and Museum, ms. W.34, fol. 15v):
http://thedigitalwalters.org/Data/WaltersManuscripts/W34/data/W.34/sap/W34_000038_sap.jpg

r) as depicted (martyrdom) in a later thirteenth-century fresco (ca. 1260) formerly in the episcopal place at Treviso and now in that see's diocesan museum:
http://tinyurl.com/pqhgtum
Note the domes in the representation of Canterbury cathedral. It's thought that the artist was familiar with San Marco in Venice.

s) as depicted (martyrdom) in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the _Legenda aurea_ (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 12v):
http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/ds/huntington/images//000975A.jpg

t) as depicted (martyrdom) in the late thirteenth-century Livre d'images de Madame Marie (ca. 1285-1290; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 81r):
http://tinyurl.com/ybuwf3e

u) as portrayed (martyrdom) on a fourteenth-century roof boss in the cathedral church of St Peter, Exeter:
http://tinyurl.com/ybwmumk

v) as depicted in some of the numerous Becket-related scenes in the earlier fourteenth-century Queen Mary Psalter (ca. 1310-1320; London, BL, Royal MS 2 B VII):
1) T.'s enthronement (fol. 291r):
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=53337
2) T. disputing with the king (fol. 291v):
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=53373
3) T. dining with the pope (fol. 295r):
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=53346
4) T. returning to England (fol. 297r):
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=53350
5) T.'s martyrdom (fol. 298r):
http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=39444

w) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1326-1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 87r): 
http://tinyurl.com/ye8n7nu

x) as depicted (martyrdom) in an earlier fourteenth-century French-language legendary of Parisian origin with illuminations attributed to the Fauvel Master (ca. 1327; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 183, fol. 195v):
http://tinyurl.com/yjwgs9y

y) as depicted (martyrdom) in a mid-fourteenth-century copy, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1348; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 26v):
http://tinyurl.com/ybd8l4g

z) as portrayed (in his shrine) in a later fourteenth-century pilgrim's badge in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:
http://tinyurl.com/nzulhg9

aa) as depicted (third row from the top, second from left; image expandable) in one of twenty-six window late fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century glass window panels (ca. 1400) from the Marienkirche in Wismar (Land Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) re-mounted in the same city's Kirche Heiligen Geist:
http://tinyurl.com/c8ey5rw

bb) as depicted (martyrdom) in an early fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay followed by the _Festes nouvelles_ attributed to Jean Golein (ca. 1401-1425; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 242, fol. 22r):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8426005j/f59.item.zoom

cc) as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century psalter for the Use of York (Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 22, fol. 17v):
http://tinyurl.com/grcx482

dd) as depicted (martyrdom) in the earlier fifteenth-century Châteauroux Breviary (ca. 1414; Châteauroux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 2, fol. 226v):
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht2/IRHT_054065-p.jpg

ee) as depicted (martyrdom) in an early fifteenth-century copy of the _Elsässische Legenda aurea_ (1419; Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek, Cod. Pal. germ. 144, fol. 274r):
http://digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/diglit/cpg144/0571 

ff) as depicted by Meister Francke's in two earlier fifteenth-century panel paintings (mid-1430s; from his dismembered earlier fifteenth-century altarpiece of St. Thomas Becket) in the Kunsthalle in Hamburg: 
1) T.'s entry into Canterbury:
http://tinyurl.com/yb3q3o
2) T.'s martyrdom:
http://tinyurl.com/yarm7y

gg) as portrayed (martyrdom) in a later fifteenth-century alabaster panel (ca. 1450-1500) in the British Museum, London:
http://www.warfare.altervista.org/15/Murder_of_Becket-Alabaster_panel.htm

hh) as portrayed in two later fifteenth-century alabaster panels, from a dismantled altarpiece with Becket scenes, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London:
1) T. meeting the pope:
http://tinyurl.com/l85rrdy
http://tinyurl.com/333fg4b
2) T. landing at Sandwich:
http://tinyurl.com/lynhjlw 
http://tinyurl.com/lynhjlw

ii) as portrayed (enthronement) in another later fifteenth-century alabaster panel in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London:
http://tinyurl.com/lbym68y
http://tinyurl.com/yaq6kgr

jj) as depicted (martyrdom) in a later fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1480-1490; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 244, fol. 29bis,v):
http://tinyurl.com/ycv83qp

kk) as depicted (right margin at bottom) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (_Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CCIIr:
http://www.beloit.edu/nuremberg/book/6th_age/right_page/105%20%28Folio%20CCIIr%29.pdf

ll) as depicted (at right, after St. Roch and St. Anastasia of Sirmium) in a late fifteenth-century fresco (1493; restored in 1990) in the cappella di Sant'Anastasia in Sale San Giovanni (CN) in Piedmont:
http://tinyurl.com/km6cr3c
Why is Thomas accoutered as a pilgrim? Is this a late medieval way of identifying a saint whose own resting place has become a major shrine?

mm) as portrayed in a polychromed statue on the probably earlier sixteenth-century altarpiece (betw. 1501 and 1526) in Härads kyrka, Härad, Strängnäs kommun (Södermanlands län):
http://www.flickr.com/photos/7909590@N08/6268730290/

Best,
John Dillon
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