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FEAST - A Celebration for the Day (May 31): The Visitation


John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>


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


Tue, 31 May 2016 10:34:43 +0000





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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

The feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrates the pregnant Mary's visit with her kinswoman Elizabeth, then pregnant with St. John the Forerunner (Lk 1:39-56).  In 1369 pope Urban VI, in a decree published by his successor Boniface IX, established the feast for the Roman church and fixed its date on 2. July (the day used for another Marian feast in Constantinople's church of the Theotokos at Blachernae).  Nonetheless, in the later Middle Ages it appears on calendars under a number of different dates.  2. July remained the feast's day in the general Roman Calendar until the latter's revision promulgated in 1969, when it was moved to today.  In an exception to that calendar, Roman Catholics in Germany continue to celebrate this feast on 2. July.  So do German Lutherans.  Some churches in the Anglican Communion celebrate the Visitation on 2. July; others celebrate it today.  In Byzantine-rite churches this feast is ordinarily not celebrated.  The Syriac Orthodox Church celebrates it on the fourth Sunday before Christmas.

Some period-pertinent images of the Visitation:

a) as depicted in an earlier sixth-century mosaic (carefully restored, 1890-1900) in the apse of the basilica Eufrasiana in Poreč:


b) as portrayed in relief (at left in the image at left) in a sixth-century ivory panel of Syrian origin (Visitation; Annunciation to A.) in the State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg (photographs courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth):


c) as [portrayed in relief on the earlier eighth-century Altar of Duke Ratchis (betw. 737 and 749) in the Museo cristiano in Cividale del Friuli:


d) as portrayed in relief (topmost panel; fifth and fourth figures from right) on an ivory panel from the perhaps early ninth-century Werden Casket in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London (photograph courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth):


e) as depicted (upper panel at right) in a later ninth-century copy (between 879 and 882) of the _Orationes_ of St. Gregory of Nazianzus (Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 510, fol. 3r):


f) as portrayed in relief (at right; at left, the Annunciation) on an earlier eleventh-century apse capital in what's left of the prieuré Saint-Léonard in L'Île-Bouchard (Indre-et-Loire): 




g) as depicted in an eleventh-century fresco in the cathedral of St. Sofia in Kyiv:


Detail view:


h) as depicted in a twelfth-century fresco in the église St.-Martin in Nohant-Vic (Indre):


i) as depicted in a later twelfth-century psalter from Ham of Fécamp (ca. 1180; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 13, fol. 15r):


j) in the late twelfth-century Navarre Picture Bible from Pamplona (Amiens, Bibliothèques d'Amiens Métropole, ms. 108, fol. 167r):


k) 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. 10v, sc. 1B):


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



m) as depicted in a panel of the late twelfth- or early thirteenth-century Childhood of Christ window (bay 0; ca. 1200) in the cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul in Troyes:


n) as depicted (at right) in an earlier thirteenth-century copy from Constantinople of the Marian homilies of Jacob / James of the Kokkinobaphos monastery (ca. 1201-1250; Paris, BnF, ms. Grec 1208, fol. 203r):



o) as depicted (lower register; above, the Annunciation) in the earlier thirteenth-century Psalter of St. Louis and Blanche of Castile (ca. 1225; Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 1186, fol. 16r):


p) as depicted in a pen-and-ink drawing in a set of earlier thirteenth-century models for the illumination of psalters (ca. 1230; Évreux, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. lat. 4, fol. 151v):


Who knew that the BVM had such a cyclopean gaze?

q) as portrayed in earlier thirteenth-century jamb statues (ca. 1230-1250) on the central portal of the west facade of the cathédrale Notre-Dame in Reims:


r) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century psalter for the Use of Reims (Carpentras, Bibliothèque municipale Inguimbertine, ms. 77 (\1), fol. 44v):


s) as depicted (at right in upper register) in the later thirteenth-century Bonmont Psalter (upper Rhine, ca. 1275; Besançon, Bibliothèques municipales, ms. 54, fol. 7v):


Detail view:


t) as depicted in a late thirteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Thérouanne (ca. 1280-1290; Marseille, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 111, fol. 8r):


Detail view: 


u) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco in the church of the Timios Stavros at Pelendri (Limassol prefecture), Republic of Cyprus:


v) as depicted by Giotto di Bondone in an early fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1302-1306) in the Arena Chapel in Padua:


w) as portrayed in an early fourteenth-century relief (betw. 1308 and 1330) by Lorenzo Maitani and assistants on one of the facade piers of the cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta in Orvieto:


x) as portrayed in two early fourteenth-century polychromed and gilt walnut statues (ca. 1310), attributed to Master Heinrich of Konstanz, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:


y) as portrayed in relief by Andrea Pisano on a plaque of his earlier fourteenth-century bronze south doors (betw. 1330 and 1366) for the battistero di San Giovanni in Florence:


Detail view:


z) as depicted (at left) in an earlier fourteenth-century fresco (1330s) in the vault of the diaconicon (a.k.a. chapel of St. John the Forerunner) of the church of the Hodegetria in the Patriarchate of Peć at Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija or the Republic of Kosovo:


aa) as depicted in an earlier fourteenth-century psalter and book of hours of southeastern French origin (ca. 1330-1340; Avignon, Bibliothèque-Mediathèque Municipale Ceccano, ms. 121, fol. 16v): 


bb) as portrayed in relief (third and fourth figures from left) in a later fourteenth-century ivory diptych from Paris (ca. 1350-1375) in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia (PA; photographs courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth):


Detail view:


cc) as depicted in a late fourteenth- or earlier fifteenth-century book of hours of French origin (Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. Faralicq 6, fol. 35r):


dd) as depicted in the early fifteenth-century Hours of René of Anjou (ca. 1405-1410; London, BL, Egerton MS 1070, fol. 29v):



ee) as depicted by Lorenzo Monaco in an early fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1409) in the Courtauld Institute of Art in London:


ff) as depicted in a panel of the early fifteenth-century Strasbourg Antependium (tapestry, ca. 1410) in the Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt am Main:


gg) as depicted in the early fifteenth-century Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (ca. 1411-1416; Chantilly, Musée Condé, ms. 65, fol. 38v):


hh) as depicted by Beato Angelico in a panel of the predella of his earlier fifteenth-century Annunciation Altarpiece (1433-1434) in the Museo diocesano in Cortona:


ii) as depicted by the workshop of the Master of the Rajhrad Altarpiece in a panel of the earlier fifteenth-century St. James Altarpiece (ca. 1430-1440) in the National Galleries (St. Agnes of Bohemia Convent) in Prague:


jj) as depicted by Jacques Daret in a panel painting from his earlier fifteenth-century Altarpiece of the Virgin (betw. 1433 and 1435) in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin:


kk) as depicted in the earlier fifteenth-century Barbavara Book of Hours (ca. 1440; Baltimore, Walters Art Gallery, ms. Walters 323, fol. 52r):


ll) as portrayed in relief in an earlier fifteenth-century papier-mâché devotional image of Swabian origin (ca. 1440) in the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in München:


mm) as depicted by Konrad Witz or by his workshop in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (_The Counsel of Redemption_; after 1444) in the Gemäldegalerie in Berlin:


Detail view:


nn) as depicted by Rogier van der Weyden in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1445) in the Museum der Bildenden Künste in Leipzig:


oo) as twice depicted in grisaille by Jean le Tavernier in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (ca. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2):

1) fol. 11v:


2) fol. 129v:


pp) as depicted in the later fifteenth-century Life of John the Baptist window (bay 5; ca. 1476-1500) in the église Notre-Dame in Bourges:


qq) as depicted in a very late fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Poitiers (Poitiers, Mediathèque François Mitterrand, ms. 1097, fol. 16r):


rr) as depicted by Master M. S. in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1500-1510) in the National Gallery in Budapest:


ss) as depicted in the early sixteenth-century Grandes Heures d'Anne de Bretagne (ca. 1503-1508; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 9474, fol. 36v):



John Dillon


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