Vested Angels: Eucharistic Allusions in Early Netherlandish Paintings

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Peeters Publishers, 1998 - 385
McNamee's detailed and well illustrated new study is about eucharistic symbolism in Early Netherlandish painting. It focuses on the pervading presence of the vested angel in this school of painting and its eucharistic significance. These angels, dressed in every possible variation of the vestments of the subministers of the traditional Solemn High Mass, are represented as serving the Christ in each episode of His life. As celebrant of the Eternal Liturgy, Christ is shown wearing "the chasuble of his flesh". The author traces the source of the symbol of the vested angel to the motif of the Eternal Liturgy (or Mass) in the Byzantine tradition. Here Christ is represented at an altar wearing the phelonion or eastern equivalent of a chasuble, and being assisted by angels dressed in orarions, the eastern equivalent of the dalmatic, the vestment of deacons and subdeacons at the traditional Solemn High Mass in the West. Another more immediate source is the long tradition of the Latin liturgical dramas, in which the directives frequently prescribe that the angels in the plays be dressed in some variation of vestments of the traditional Solemn High Mass in the West. The history of the vested angel is traced through numerous paintings representing scenes from the life of Christ: from the Annunciation through the Last Judgement. The theological basis of this study is offered in a discussion of Maurice de la Taille's Mysterium Fidei, a theory of Mass that best parallels the concept of Eucharistic symbolism in Early Netherlandish painting. The author provides clarifying new insights into the paintings he analyses, such as The Adoration of the Lamb, by Jan van Eyck and the Beaune Last Judgement by Rogier van der Weyden. Colour illustrations and over a hundred photographs of the original paintings help the reader to follow this fascinating analysis.

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Spis treści

Two Early Netherlandish Paintings with Explicit Eucharistic
The Origin of the Vested Angel as a Eucharistic Symbol
Immediate Theological Background of the Eucharistic Motif
Eucharistic Import of the Seilern Triptych
The Ghent Altarpiece or The Adoration of the Lamb a Visual
Eucharistic Allusions in Annunciation Scenes
Eucharistic Symbols in Nativity Scenes
Eucharistic Allusions in Epiphany Scenes
Appendix A Liturgical Vestments and Accounterments
Appendix B Color Symbolism
List of Illustrations
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