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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  July 2016

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION July 2016

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Subject:

FEAST - A Saint for the Day (July 23): St. Bridget of Sweden

From:

John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

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

Date:

Sat, 23 Jul 2016 14:01:29 +0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

Bridget of Sweden (Birgitta) was the daughter of an important Swedish family.  She was married when she was about the age of fourteen.  One of her eight children was St. Catherine of Sweden (or of Vadstena; 24. March).  After her husband's death in 1344 Bridget lived as a penitent near the Cistercian monastery at Alvastra and in 1346 she entered the newly founded double monastery at Vadstena (endowed for her by king Magnus II, whose queen she had once served at court as a lady in waiting).  There Bridget established her Order of the Most Holy Savior (a.k.a. the Brigittine Sisters), whose rule was confirmed in 1370.  In 1349 she moved to Rome, where she continued to record the visions and revelations that she had been receiving since childhood and where she worked tirelessly for the improvement of the Church and for the return of the papacy from Avignon.

Bridget died on 23. July 1373.  In the following year her daughter Catherine brought her body back to Vadstena.  Bodily relics believed to be Bridget's were enshrined there in 1381.  These may have been authentic then but in 2010 radiocarbon (C-14) analysis established 1) that one of the two skulls -- the other was long said to be that of St. Catherine -- now kept in her shrine is too recent to have belonged to either saint and 2) that the other skull is highly unlikely to be hers.  Bridget was canonized on 7. October 1391.  In the Roman Catholic church she is the patron saint of Sweden and a patron saint of Europe.  In the Church of Sweden and in the Roman Catholic diocese of Stockholm Bridget is principally celebrated on 7. October.  Today (23. July) is her feast day in the general Roman Calendar.


Some period-pertinent images of St. Bridget of Sweden:

a) as depicted (at lower right, experiencing her vision of the Nativity) by Niccolò di Tommaso in a later fourteenth-century panel painting (betw. 1373 and ca. 1380) in the Pinacoteca Vaticana:
http://www.wga.hu/art/n/niccolo/tommaso/bridget.jpg

b) as depicted (front row at far left; with John the Baptist and other saints) in a late fourteenth-century copy, from Paris, of Guillaume Durand the Elder's _Rationale divinorum officiorum_ in its French-language translation by Jean Golein (ca. 1380-1385; Den Haag, KB, ms. 78 D 41, fol. 293v):
http://manuscripts.kb.nl/zoom/BYVANCKB%3Amimi_78d41%3A293v_min

c) as depicted (at bottom right, experiencing her vision of the Christ's descent from Heaven to a raised host at an altar) in a full-page illumination in a late fourteenth-century Brigittine / Bridgettine breviary from Naples (ca. 1390-1400; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 29, fol. 2v):
http://manuscripts.kb.nl/zoom/BYVANCKB%3Amimi_76f29%3A002v 

d) as depicted (at lower left, experiencing her vision of the Nativity) by Turino Vanni in a late fourteenth- or earlier fifteenth-century panel painting (betw. 1395 and 1433) in the Museo Nazionale di San Matteo, Pisa:
http://tinyurl.com/nptnzcv

e) as portrayed in a late fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century wooden statue in the monastery church of the BVM and St. Bridget in Vadstena (Östergötlands län):
http://www.illustrata.com/pages/vadstena/birgitta10.jpg
https://sigbrith.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/0121.jpg

f) as depicted in two illuminations in the earlier fifteenth-century Burnet Psalter (Aberdeen University Library, AUL MS 25, fols. 28v, 61r):
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/diss/historic/collects/bps/folios/details/028vdet.htm
http://www.abdn.ac.uk/diss/heritage/collects/bps/folios/details/061rdet.htm

g) as depicted (tempted by a devil whilst writing) in the earlier fifteenth-century frescoes of Nørre Tranders kirke, Nørre Tranders (Nordjylland):
http://tinyurl.com/prde6by

h) as portrayed in an earlier fifteenth-century wooden statue (ca. 1425-1435) in the monastery church of the BVM and St. Bridget in Vadstena (Östergötlands län):
http://tinyurl.com/oet93ms

i) as depicted by Johannes Rosenrod in two of his earlier fifteenth-century frescoes (1437) in Tensta kyrka, Uppsala kommun (Uppsala län):
1) Receiving a revelation:
http://tinyurl.com/qehqln2
2) with Urban VI:
http://tinyurl.com/ofabbrv

j) as portrayed (at right; at left, St. Gertrude) in a statue belonging to the recently restored earlier fifteenth-century Kumla Altar (1439-1440; made in Lübeck) from Kumla kyrka, Kumla kommun (Örebro län), now in the Historiska Museet in Stockholm:
http://tinyurl.com/plavq97

k) as depicted (at left) in a mid-fifteenth-century triptych (betw. 1440 and 1455) by the Master of Pratovecchio, formerly in the Getty and sold at auction by Sotheby's, New York on 27. January 2011:
http://tinyurl.com/pzb2m4f

l) as portrayed in a mid-fifteenth-century wooden statue, perhaps of German origin, from Padasjoen kirkko / Padasjoki kyrka (Pirkanmaan maakunta / landskapet Birkaland) in the Suomen Kansallismuseo, Helsinki:
http://tinyurl.com/pq2pby7
Detail view:
http://tinyurl.com/pk6uxlr

m) as portrayed (at center) in the great mid-fifteenth-century altarpiece (betw. 1455 and 1459; made in Lübeck) of the monastery church of the BVM and St. Bridget in Vadstena (Östergötlands län):
http://tinyurl.com/o8habz9
Detail view (Bridget):
http://tinyurl.com/pb7nzfu

n) as portrayed in a later fifteenth-century statue (betw. 1450 and 1500) in an altarpiece from Törnevalla kyrka in Törnevalla, Linköpings kommun (Östergötlands län), now in the Historiska Museet in Stockholm:
At center in the altarpiece:
http://tinyurl.com/q95p98f
Detail view:
http://catview.historiska.se/catview/media/lowres/24688

o) as portrayed in a later fifteenth-century wooden statue (betw. 1450 and 1500) in Viksta kyrka, Uppsala kommun (Uppsala län):
During the restoration of the church in 1932-33?:
http://kmb.raa.se/cocoon/bild/show-image.html?id=16000200169971
After the rebuilding of 2006:
http://www.kyrkokartan.se/055567/images/55567_11525195
http://tinyurl.com/o9bf7uy

p) as portrayed by the Master of Soeterbeeck in a later fifteenth-century wooden statue (ca. 1470) of Brabantine origin in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:
http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/463798 

q) as portrayed in a later fifteenth-century wooden statue (ca. 1475) from an altarpiece from Sollentuna kyrka in Sollentuna (Stockholms län), now in the Historiska Museet in Stockholm:
http://medeltidbild.historiska.se/medeltidbild/mbbilder/bilder/94/9416427.jpg

r) as portrayed (at right; at left, Anna själv tredje [Anna selbdritt / Anne trinitaire]; at center, a crowned female saint) in a statue on a wing of the later fifteenth-century altarpiece (betw. 1475 and 1500) from Hammarby kyrka (Stockholms län), now in the Historiska Museet in Stockholm:
http://tinyurl.com/oxyzgoe  

s) as portrayed in a later fifteenth-century wooden statue (betw. 1475 and 1500) in Borgs kyrka in Norrköpings kommun (Östergötlands län):
http://medeltidbild.historiska.se/medeltidbild/mbbilder/bilder/95/9523630.jpg
Detail view:
http://medeltidbild.historiska.se/medeltidbild/mbbilder/bilder/95/9523636.jpg

t) as depicted (at far right) on a wing of a later fifteenth-century altarpiece (betw. 1475 and 1500) from Salems kyrka in Salem (Stockholms län), now in the Historiska Museet in Stockholm:
https://supernaut.info/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/historiska-museet-40.jpg
Detail views:
http://tinyurl.com/zan9nfh
http://tinyurl.com/nr86e3g

u) as depicted (at lower right, experiencing her Eucharistic Vision) in a later fifteenth-century manuscript (betw. 1475 and 1500), of Neapolitan origin, of her _Revelaciones_ and other texts (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MS M.498, fol. 4v):
http://www.themorgan.org/collection/medieval-and-renaissance/manuscript/85653

v) as depicted (receiving a revelation whilst writing) in a later fifteenth-century Brigittine breviary (1476) in the New York Public Library (Spencer Collection Ms. 63):
http://tinyurl.com/ntzbadp

w) as depicted in the later fifteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1480) of Gislinge kirke in Gislinge, Holbæk Kommune (Nordvestsjælland):
http://tinyurl.com/ot345fh

x) as depicted (writing at the dictation of an angel) in a late fifteenth-century breviary perhaps from Bruges (ca. 1480-1490; Den Haag, KB, ms. 135 J 10, fol. 136r):
http://manuscripts.kb.nl/zoom/BYVANCKB%3Amimi_135j10%3A135v_136r 

y) as depicted (praying before a crucifix) in a late fifteenth-century prayer book (betw. 1480 and 1500) of southern Netherlandish origin (London, BL, Yates Thompson MS 18, fols. 202-244, at fol. 234r):
http://tinyurl.com/q4tvzrq

z) as depicted (giving her order its Rule) in a late fifteenth-century hand-colored woodcut print (betw. 1480 and 1500) of south German origin (Augsburg?) in the British Museum, London:
http://tinyurl.com/oxvhw2n

aa) as depicted in two hand-colored, late fifteenth-century woodcuts in a copy in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, München, of the first complete printing of her _Revelaciones_ (Lübeck: Bartholomaeus Ghotan for the Vadstena monastery, 1492):
1) Dictating to a scribe (p. 29):
http://tinyurl.com/o49louh
2) Imparting a revelation (p. 36):
http://tinyurl.com/nf4swrw

bb) as depicted (receiving a revelation whilst writing) in a late fifteenth-century woodcut in a copy in the Kongelige Bibliothek, København, of the _Sunte Birgitten Openbaringe_, a Low German reworking of her _Revelaciones_ (Lübeck: Hans van Ghetelen [the Poppy printer], 1496):
http://tinyurl.com/q5cfujm

cc) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Catherine of Sweden) in a panel painting on a shutter (closed position) of a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century altarpiece (ca. 1500) in Högsby kyrka (Kalmar län):
http://medeltidbild.historiska.se/medeltidbild/mbbilder/bilder/95/9518015.jpg

dd) as depicted (at far right) in a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century altar frontal (ca. 1500) from Urjalan kirkko / Urdiala kyrka in Pirkanmaan maakunta / landskapet Birkaland, now in the Hämeen museo in Tampere / Tammerfors:
http://urjala.ekirkko.fi/kuvat/isot/urjala-00010426-2.jpg
Detail view  (at right; at left, St. Hemming):
http://tinyurl.com/hjz2vyr

ee) as depicted in the early sixteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1510) of Nibe kirke in Nibe, Aalborg Kommune (Nordjylland):
http://tinyurl.com/nw27lwc

Best,
John Dillon
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