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FEAST - A Celebration for the Day (August 6): The Transfiguration of Jesus


John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>


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


Sat, 6 Aug 2016 10:13:02 +0000





text/plain (1 lines)

medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

The feast of the Transfiguration of Jesus, also celebrated as the feast of the Holy Savior, is perhaps as old as the fourth century.  In many churches it is kept on 6. August.  In the Armenian Apostolic Church it is a moveable feast, celebrated ninety-eight days after Easter and thus always on a Sunday.  Entered under today in the earlier ninth-century Marble Calendar of Naples and in the originally tenth-century Synaxary of Constantinople, it is said to have become widespread in the Latin West in only in the twelfth century.  In 1457, in commemoration of the arrival at Rome, on 6. August in the previous year, of news of the Hungarian victory over the Turks before Belgrade, Callistus III mandated the feast for all churches of the Roman observance.

Herewith some period-pertinent  images of the Transfiguration:

a) as depicted (upper register) in the mid-sixth-century apse mosaic (shortly before 550) in Ravenna's basilica di Sant'Apollinare in Classe:



b) as depicted in the seemingly later sixth-century apse mosaic of the Basilica of the Transformation in the Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai at St. Catherine (South Sinai governorate) in Egypt:


This image dates from before the mosaic's recent restoration.

c) as depicted in a later ninth-century copy (betw. 879 and 882) of St. Gregory the Thaumaturge's prose paraphrase of _Ecclesiastes_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 510, fol. 75r):



d) as depicted in the late tenth- or very early eleventh-century Gospels of Otto III (Munich, BSB, clm 4453, fol. 113r): 


e) as portrayed in relief on the early eleventh-century "column" (originally a paschal candlestick) of Bp. St. Bernward (d. 1022) in the cathedral of the BVM at Hildesheim:


f) as depicted in the eleventh- or early twelfth-century frescoes in the Karanlık kilise (or Dark Church) at Göreme (Nevşehir province) in Turkey: 


Detail view (Jesus and the two prophets): 


g) as depicted in the mid-eleventh-century mosaics in the katholikon of the Nea Moni on Chios: 


Detail views: 




h) as depicted in the late eleventh-century mosaics in the katholikon of the Daphni monastery in Chaidari (Attika regional authority): 


Detail views: 



i) as depicted in two twelfth-century paintings on iconostasis beams in the Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai at St. Catherine (South Sinai governorate) in Egypt:



j) as depicted in an earlier twelfth-century Byzantine icon in the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg:


k) as portrayed in relief (upper register) in earlier twelfth-century Transfiguration tympanum (ca. 1130-1135) of the église Notre-Dame-et-Sainte-Croix in La Charité-sur-Loire (Nièvre):



l) as depicted in the mid-twelfth-century Passion of Christ window (bay 51; ca. 1145-1155) in the basilique cathédrale Notre-Dame in Chartres (photograph courtesy of Gordon Plumb):


m) as depicted in the mid-twelfth-century mosaics of the Cappella Palatina in Palermo: 


n) as depicted (central register) in a later twelfth-century fresco (ca. 1164) in the north chapel of the church of St. Panteleimon (Pantaleon) at Gorno Nerezi (Skopje municipality) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:


Detail views (prophet; apostles): 






o) as depicted (upper panel) in the later twelfth-century Floreffe Bible (ca. 1170; London, BL, Add MS 17738, fol 4r):


p) as portrayed in relief by Bonannus of Pisa in a panel of his later twelfth-century bronze doors (later 1180s) for the Porta San Ranieri of Pisa's cattedrale metropolitana primaziale di Santa Maria Assunta and now in the Museo dell'Opera del duomo there: 


q) as depicted 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. 17v, sc. 1A):


r) as depicted in the late twelfth-century frescoes (ca. 1191) in the church of St. George at Kurbinovo (Resen municipality) in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: 


s) as depicted in mosaic on a Byzantine portable icon of ca. 1200 in the Musée du Louvre in Paris: 


t) as depicted in a panel of a mid-thirteenth-century ambulatory window of the cathédrale Saint-Julien in Le Mans (Bay 108, panel B2): 


u) as depicted (at center) in the mid-thirteenth-century frescoes (1259) in the church of Sts. Nicholas and Panteleimon in Boyana near the Bulgarian capital of Sofia: 


v) as depicted by T’oros Roslin in a later thirteenth-century Gospels from Armenian Cilicia in the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore (1262; Walters Ms. W.539, fol. 163r):


w) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century fresco (ca. 1263) in the Bishop's Chapel of the Basilika Mariä Himmelfahrt in Gurk (Land Kärnten): 


x) as depicted in two miniatures in a later thirteenth-century Gospels (ca. 1266; Cambrai, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 189, fols. 35r, 157v): 

1: http://tinyurl.com/3fpazom 

2: http://tinyurl.com/42hq7q3 

y) as depicted in a late thirteenth-century illumination in an originally early thirteenth-century Gospels thought to be from Nicaea or Nicomedia (Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, ms. Ludwig II 5, fol. 45v):


z) as depicted in a fourteenth-century copy of Guiard des Moulins' _Bible historiale_ (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 152, fol. 407r): 


aa) as depicted by Duccio di Buoninsegna in an early fourteenth-century predella panel (1311) from his Maestà for the cathedral of Siena, now in the National Gallery in London: 



bb) as depicted (at right) in an August calendar composition in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. ca. 1312 and 1321/1322) of the monastery church of the Theotokos at Gračanica in, depending on one's view of the matter, either Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo: 


Detail view (Jesus and the prophets):


cc) as depicted (panel at upper left) in an earlier fourteenth-century pictorial menologion from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 50v):


dd) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century panel (Bay 10, panel d; ca. 1330-1335) of a window in the nave of the cathédrale Notre-Dame in Strasbourg: 


ee) as depicted (middle register at left) by Lippo Memmi (attrib.) in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1335-1345; formerly attributed to Barna da Siena) in the chiesa collegiata di Santa Maria Assunta in San Gimignano (SI):


ff) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1335 and 1350) in the church of the Holy Ascension in the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć at Peć in, depending upon one's view of the matter, either Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo: 


Expandable detail views are here: 


gg) as depicted in the mid- to later fourteenth-century Breviary of Charles V (betw. 1347 and 1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 1052, fol. 433v):


hh) as depicted in the pinnacle of a later fourteenth-century window (ca. 1360) in the nave of the église paroissiale Saint-Jean Baptiste in Niederhaslach (Bas-Rhin): 


ii) as depicted in a later fourteenth-century missal for the Use of Saint-Didier at Avignon (ca. 1360; Avignon, Bibliothèque-Médiathèque Municipale Ceccano, ms. 138, fol. 254r): 


jj) as depicted in a later fourteenth-century copy of part of Vincent of Beauvais' _Speculum historiale_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1370-1380; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 15940, fol. 47r):


kk) as depicted by Giusto de' Menabuoi in a later fourteenth-century fresco (mid 1370s) in the baptistery of the basilica cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta in Padua:


ll) as depicted in a late fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1380) in the church of the Transfiguration of Our Savior on Kovalevo Field near Veliky Novgorod: 


mm) as portrayed in relief on a panel of the recently restored late fourteenth-century Pala d'Argento (ca. 1380-1390), a silver gilt altar frontal belonging to the chiesa di San Salvatore (a.k.a. San Salvador) in Venice: 


nn) as depicted by Theophanes the Greek in an early fifteenth-century festal icon (ca. 1403) formerly in the church of the Transfiguration in Pereslavl-Zalessky and now in the state Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow: 


oo) as depicted by Andrei Rublev in an early fifteenth-century festal icon (1405) in the cathedral of the Annunciation in the Moscow kremlin: 



pp) as portrayed in relief by Lorenzo Ghiberti in his earlier fifteenth-century gilded bronze plaques (completed, 1424) for the north door of the baptistery of Florence, now preserved there in the Museo dell'Opera del duomo: 



qq) as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century _Bible historiale_ (ca. 1430; Den Haag, KB, ms. KB, 78 D 38 II, fol. 167v):


rr) as depicted by Beato Angelico in a mid-fifteenth-century fresco (ca. 1441), in Cell Six of the Museo nazionale di San Marco in Florence: 

1) before the latest restoration: 


2) more recently: 


ss) as depicted in grisaille by Jean le Tavernier or an assistant in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (ca. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 21r):


tt) as depicted in a mid-fifteenth-century Armenian-language Gospels (1456; Paris, BnF, ms. Arménien 18, fol. 21v): 


uu) as depicted in two panels of a later fifteenth-century window (Bay 7; ca. 1467-1469) in the Lady Chapel of the cathédrale Notre-Dame in Évreux: 


vv) as depicted by Giovanni Bellini in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (1480) in the Museo nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples:


ww) as depicted in a late fifteenth-century icon (ca. 1497) from the Great Feasts range on the iconostasis of the Dormition cathedral of the Kirillo-Belozersky monastery at Kirillov (Vologda oblast), now in the Kirillov-Belozersky Museum of History, Art and Architecture: 



John Dillon 


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