Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday 20 March, 1212

Michel I Corneille dit Le Vieux  (Michel I Corneille, dit) 1602- 1664
La distribution des rameaux
Oil on canvas
316 x 200 cm
Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, France

The old name for this work is La distribution des rameaux - The Distribution of Palms. It was thought that it was St Geneviève receing palms on Palm Sunday

Now the experts have had a rethink

It is now called: La vocation de Sainte Claire d’Assise - the Vocation of St Clare of Assisi

Inspired by the works of Thomas de Celano, the first biographer of St Francis of Assisi, the artist  shows St Clare as a young girl following the advice of St Francis. Dressed in her finery, she went  to Church on Palm Sunday (20 March, 1212) to receive a palm directly from the hands of Pope Innocent III himself

That night she proceeded to the humble chapel of the Porziuncula, where St. Francis and his disciples met her with lights in their hands. 

Clare then laid aside her rich dress, and St. Francis, having cut off her hair, clothed her in a rough tunic and a thick veil, and in this way she vowed herself to the service of Jesus Christ. 

A work with a similar theme is by the artist in the Cathedral of Saint-Flour: this time of Saint Agnes of Assisi, O.S.C., (1197/1198 – 16 November 1253),  the younger sister of Saint Clare of Assisi and one of the first abbesses of the Order of Poor Ladies.

Michel Corneille (c 1603 - 1664)
Vocation de la bienheureuse Agnès d’Assise
Vocation of Blessed Agnes of Assisi
Oil on canvas
316 x 228 cm
Cathédrale,  Saint-Flour, Haute-Auvergne

Sixteen days after her elder sister Saint Clare ran off to join the group set up by St Francis, Agnes ran off to the Benedictine Monastery of St. Angelo where St. Francis had brought her sister, and resolved to share Clare's life of poverty and penance