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FEAST - A Celebration for the Day (Jan. 6): The Theophany, The Epiphany, or the Epiphany and Baptism of the Lord


John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>


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


Wed, 6 Jan 2016 01:52:48 +0000





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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

6. January is the day of one of Christianity's major feasts, celebrating initial revelations of Jesus' divinity to the world at large as seen in the Adoration of the Magi, in his Baptism in the River Jordan, and in the Miracle at Cana.  In non-Chalcedonian churches and in Chalcedonian churches using the Byzantine Rite it is referred to primarily as that of the Theophany and its principal focus and image is Jesus' baptism when all three persons of the Trinity were manifest together (two visually, one aurally).  In the Roman Rite and in liturgical calendars influenced by the latter it is referred to either as that of the Epiphany or, in some churches, as that of the Epiphany and Baptism of the Lord; its principal image is at least usually the Adoration of the Magi.  Herewith some links to period-pertinent images of the Baptism of Jesus (preceded by a very few earlier instances) supplementing those to images in glass already posted by Gordon Plumb.  An analogous set of links to images of the Magi will follow, probably tomorrow.


John Dillon   

Baptism of Jesus images:

a) as depicted in relief on a third-century sarcophagus in Rome's chiesa di Santa Maria Antiqua:


b) as depicted in an earlier fourth-century fresco in Rome's cemetery of Marcellinus and Peter:


c) as depicted (at center) on an earlier fifth-century ivory relief panel, thought to be of Milanese or Roman origin, in the Bode-Museum in Berlin:


d) as depicted in the originally later fifth-century ceiling mosaic (betw. 451 and 475; restored in the 18th and 19th centuries) in the Neonian Baptistry in Ravenna:


The head of Jesus, the right arm and head of John the Baptist, and the dove of the Holy Spirit have been heavily restored.

e) as depicted in the late fifth- or earlier sixth-century ceiling mosaic (betw. 493 and 526) of the Arian Baptistry in Ravenna:


http://www.kornbluthphoto.com/images/ArBapt1.jpg [photograph courtesy of Genevra Kornbluth]

f) as depicted in one of the late sixth- or seventh-century full-page miniatures bound into in a late tenth-century gospels in Armenian (ca. 989; the Etchmiadzin Gospel; Yerevan, Matenadaran, ms. 2374):


g) as depicted in a full-page illumination in the later tenth-century Benedictional of St Æthelwold (betw. 963 and 984; London, BL, Add. MS 49598, fol. 25r):


h) as depicted (upper register) in a late tenth- or very early eleventh-century troper, proser, and gradual from the abbey church of the Holy Savior at Prüm in the Eifel (Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 9448, fol. 26v):


i) as depicted in the late tenth- or very early eleventh-century so-called Menologion of Basil II (Città del Vaticano, BAV, cod. Vat. gr. 1613, p. 299; colors poorly reproduced):


j) as depicted in the earlier eleventh-century "imperial" menologion for January in the Walters Art Gallery and Museum, Baltimore (ms. W. 521, fol. 38r):


k) as depicted in the seemingly earlier eleventh-century Hitda Gospels (Darmstadt, Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek, Hs. 1640, fol. 75r):


l) as depicted in the earlier eleventh-century mosaics (restored between 1953 and 1962) in the katholikon of the monastery of Hosios Loukas near Distomo in Phokis:


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


Detail view:


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


o) as depicted in a later eleventh- or early twelfth-century fresco in the Elmali (Apple) church at Göreme (Nevşehir province) in Turkey:


Detail view:


p) as depicted in the late eleventh- or early twelfth-century Sacramentary of Limoges (Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 9438, fol. 24r):


q) as depicted (upper register) in a twelfth-century triptych icon at the Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai:


r) as depicted on a panel of the early twelfth-century wooden ceiling (betw. 1109 and 1114) in the Kirche St. Martin in Zillis (Kanton Graubünden):


s) as portrayed in relief on the early twelfth-century bronze baptismal font (betw. 1107 and 1118), traditionally attributed to Renier de Huy, in the église collégiale Saint-Barthélémy / Sint-Bartholomeuskerk in Liège / Lüttich:


t) as depicted in the earlier twelfth-century St Albans Psalter (betw. 1120 and 1145; Hildesheim, Dombibliothek, MS St. Godehard 1, p. 32):


u) as portrayed in relief on the earlier twelfth-century stone baptismal font in the Stiftskirche St. Bonifatius in Freckenhorst (Lkr. Warendorf) in Nordrhein-Westfalen:


v) as portrayed in relief (at center) on the earlier twelfth-century capital frieze (ca. 1145) of the west facade of the basilique cathédrale Notre-Dame, Chartres:


w) as portrayed in relief on the mid-twelfth-century stone baptismal font in Dalby kyrka at Dalby, a locality of Lund:


x) as depicted in a panel of the mid-twelfth-century Life of Christ window (bay 50, panel 21) in the basilique cathédrale Notre-Dame, Chartres (photograph by Gordon Plumb):


y) as depicted in the mid- or slightly later twelfth-century mosaics of the Cappella Palatina in Palermo:


z) as depicted in a copy from 1818 of a later twelfth-century illumination (betw. 1167 and 1185) in the now lost original manuscript of Herrad of Landsberg's _Hortus deliciarum_:


aa) as depicted (second from right) in a set of later twelfth-century illuminations (ca. 1175-1200) bearing on St. John the Baptist (London, BM, Add. MS 42497, fol. 1r):


bb) as depicted in a late twelfth-century psalter from Ham of Fécamp (ca. 1180; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 13, fol. 19r):


cc) as depicted by Nicholas of Verdun on an enameled plaque of his late twelfth-century altarpiece (ca. 1181) in the Stiftsmuseum, Klosterneuburg (Land Niederösterreich):


dd) as depicted (two detail views only, the first unfortunately rather small) in the late twelfth-century mosaics (ca. 1182) of the basilica cattedrale di Santa Maria Nuova in Monreale:



ee) as portrayed in relief by Bonanno Pisano in a panel of his late twelfth-century bronze door (?later 1180s; the porta San Ranieri) for Pisa's cattedrale metropolitana primaziale di Santa Maria Assunta, now kept in the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo there:


ff) as depicted (middle register) 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:


Detail views:




gg) as depicted ca. 1200 in a fresco in the north crypt of the former cathedral at today's Roda de Isábena (Huesca):


hh) as portrayed in relief on the thirteenth-century baptismal font in Verona's battistero di San Giovanni in Fonte:


ii) as depicted (upper register) in an earlier thirteenth-century (1st quarter) psalter (London, BL, MS Arundel 157/2, fol. 5v):


Detail view:


jj) as depicted (upper register) in the earlier thirteenth-century Psalter of St. Louis and Blanche of Castile (ca. 1225; Paris, BnF, ms. Arsenal 1186, fol. 20r):


kk) as portrayed in relief on the earlier thirteenth-century bronze baptismal font (ca. 1225) in the Dom St. Mariae, Hildesheim:


Detail view:


ll) as depicted in a panel of the mid-thirteenth-century History of St. John the Baptist window (window G, panel 52; ca. 1245-1248) in the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris:


mm) as depicted in a panel of the later thirteenth-century Younger Bible Window (ca. 1280) in the choir of the Hohe Domkirche Sankt Peter und Maria, Köln:


nn) as depicted in the late thirteenth-century Livre d'images de Madame Marie (ca. 1285-1290; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 27v):


oo) as portrayed in relief on the late thirteenth-century bronze baptismal font (1290) in the Marienkirche in Rostock:


pp) as depicted in a late thirteenth or very early fourteenth-century fresco in the church of St. Nicholas in the Varoš monastery in Prilep in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:


Detail view:


qq) as depicted in a late thirteenth- or very early fourteenth-century fresco (ca. 1290-1305), attributed to Manuel Panselinos, in the Protaton church on Mt. Athos:

Detail view:


Composition as a whole (small image):


rr) as depicted by Eutychios or Michael Astrapas in a late thirteenth- or early fourteenth-century icon (ca. 1295-1318) in the Icon Gallery, Ohrid:


ss) as depicted by Giotto di Bondone in a very early fourteenth-century fresco (betw. 1303 and 1305) in the Cappella degli Scrovegni (Arena Chapel) in Padua: 


tt) as depicted (at right) in an earlier fourteenth-century mosaic (ca. 1312) in the former church of the Pammakaristos (Fetiye camii) in Istanbul:


uu) as depicted (at left) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1313 and 1318; conservation work in 1968) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. George at Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:


vv) as depicted (at left) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (betw. 1317 and 1324) in the nave of the church of St. Demetrius in the Patriarchate of Peć at Peć in, depending on one's view of the matter, either the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's province of Kosovo and Metohija:



Detail views:



ww) as depicted (panel at upper left) in the Great Feasts section of an earlier fourteenth-century pictorial menologion from Thessaloniki (betw. 1322 and 1340; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Gr. th. f. 1, fol. 3r):


xx) as depicted 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. 181r):


yy) 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:


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



aaa) as depicted in a mid-fourteenth-century mosaic (ca. 1350) in the baptistery of Venice's basilica cattedrale patriarcale di San Marco:


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


ccc) as depicted by Giovanni di Benedetto and workshop in a late fourteenth-century Franciscan missal of Milanese origin (ca. 1385-1390; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 757, fol. 439v):


ddd) as depicted by a northern Netherlandish painter in a panel of the late fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century Antwerp-Baltimore Quadriptych (this panel in the Walters Art Gallery and Museum, Baltimore):


eee) as depicted in an early fifteenth-century Moscow School icon (1408 or slightly later) in the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg:


fff) 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:


ggg) as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century psalter (ca. 1426-1450) and other religious texts from the Tigray region of Ethiopia (Paris, BnF, ms. Ethiopien d'Abbadie 105, fol. 7r):


hhh) as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century gospels in Armenian (1434/1435) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:


iii) as depicted in an earlier fifteenth-century fresco (ca. 1440) in Ballerups kirke, Ballerup (Region Hovedstaden):



jjj) as depicted by Piero della Francesca in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (late 1440s or 1450s) in the National Gallery, London:



kkk) as depicted by Rogier van der Weyden in the central panel of his mid-fifteenth-century St. John altarpiece (ca. 1450-1455) in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin:


lll) as depicted by Beato Angelico in a panel painting from his mid-fifteenth-century Armadio degli Argenti (ca. 1451), now in the Museo nazionale di San Marco in Florence:


mmm) as depicted in a mid-fifteenth-century gospels (1456) in Armenian (Paris, BN, ms. Arménien 18, fol. 10r):


nnn) as depicted in the later fifteenth-century Hours of Roland Gautron (until very recently, the so-called La Mandardière Hours; Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 31, fol. 71r):


For the attribution to Roland Gautron, see this post by Jean-Luc Deuffic in his blog Pecia (22. September 2015):


ooo) as portrayed in relief by Andrea della Robbia in a later fifteenth-century terracotta sculpture (betw. 1464 and 1490) for the baptismal font in the pieve delle Sante Flora e Lucilla in Santa Fiora (GR) in Tuscany:



ppp) as depicted by Andrea del Verrocchio, perh. with the assistance of Leonardo da Vinci, in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (1474-1475) in the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence:


qqq) as depicted in a later fifteenth-century Pskov School icon (ca. 1476-1500) in the Andrei Rublev Museum of Early Russian Art, Moscow:


rrr) as depicted by Martin Schongauer in a later fifteenth-century engraving (ca. 1480-1491; this copy in the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH):


For this image realized in glass see item yyy, below.

sss) as portrayed in relief (lower register at left) by Martin Schmidt on his late fifteenth-century baptismal font in the Marienkirche in Reutlingen (Lkr. Reutlingen) in Baden-Württemberg:


ttt) as depicted by the Elmelunde workshop in the late fifteenth-century paintings (ca. 1481) in Fanefjord Kirke, Fanefjord, Vordingborg Kommune (Region Sjælland):


uuu) as depicted on the late fifteenth-century painted cover (ca. 1490) for the baptismal font in the Pfarrkirche Sternberg, Wernberg (Land Kärnten):


vvv) as portrayed in relief (at left) on the late fifteenth- or earlier sixteenth-century jubé (betw. 1490 and 1530) in the basilique cathédrale Notre-Dame, Amiens:


www) 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) and now in the Kirillov-Belozersky Museum of History, Art and Architecture:


xxx) as depicted by Frueauf Rueland the Younger in a panel painting on a wing of a late fifteenth-century altarpiece (1498) in the Stiftsmuseum, Klosterneuburg (Land Niederösterreich):


yyy) as depicted in an earlier sixteenth-century glass window panel (ca. 1520-1521; based on a later fifteenth-century engraving by Martin Schongauer  [item rrr, above]) from the abbey of Mariawald in today's Heimbach (Lkr. Düren) in the Eifel, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London:



John Dillon


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