Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Altarpieces and Relics

At the moment there are two major exhibitions in London with religious themes.

The blurb states:

"Treasures such as these have not been seen in significant numbers in the UK since the Reformation in the 16th century, which saw the wholesale destruction of saints’ shrines. The exhibition offers a rare opportunity to glimpse the heritage of beautiful medieval craftsmanship that was lost to this country for centuries."

It goes on:

"The earliest items date from the late Roman period and trace the evolution of the cult of the saints from the 4th century to the peak of relic veneration in late medieval Europe"

Here is a BBC video on a BBC programme about the exhibition:

About the portable altar and the relics therein see

Not to be outdone The National Gallery in London has Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces before 1500

There is a marvellous video presenting the exhibition here

The video shows the Church of San Salvatore in Florence and is worth watching for that alone.

Here is a detail of the San Sepolcro Altarpiece by Sassetta which is part of the exhibition

Stefano di Giovanni (Sassetta) (active by 1427; died 1450)
Saint Francis before Pope Honorius III (detail)
Part of The San Sepolcro Altarpiece
Egg tempera on poplar
Full measurement: 88.4 x 52 cm
The National Gallery, London