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ART CULTURE PUBLICATIONS, INC.
PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
WYNKOOP HALLENBECK CRAWFORD Co.
Art Cu 2ture 12-18-25 10707
T IS BECOMING more and more clear to those who visit the great Museums of the world, either
masterpieces of bygone centuries are now congregating, or the grand old galleries of Europe, that the pleasure to be gained from the religious pictures of the 9th-16th centuries is in a great measure lost, unless one is able to understand their symbolism, and to recognise the personages portrayed, by the attributes and emblems which render them distinguishable. And one should bear in mind that almost seventy per cent. of all pictures painted, at least up to the end of the 15th century, at the zenith of the High Renaissance, treated of religious subjects, and were painted for churches or the private chapels of the powerful rulers of the small states, into which Italy, France, and Flanders were then divided.
Now, just as in Gothic architecture, every portion of a cathedral or church had its symbolic significance, so has every item in the splendid altar-pieces or mural paintings depicting the Divine Trinity, the Virgin Mary alone, or with Her Child, the Holy Family, the Evangelists and Apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the Patron Saints, the Monastic Orders, and so forth.
In all such pictures the placing of the personages was effected according to hierarchical laws laid down by the Church, and in addition to the added enjoyment one can find in the understanding of what has hitherto been largely a sealed book-as far as laymen are concerned the knowledge of these laws will often help in attributing a picture, and deducing, from the evidence on its face, its history and origin.
It has been our aim, in compiling this monograph, to make the practical information, actually required when walking through any picture gallery, so easily accessible that no valuable time is wasted in wading through masses of descriptive matter, which, while of incalculable importance to the student in his library, is nevertheless liable to obscure the vision of those who want to find a concrete, definite, fact as quickly as possible. Believing, with Napoleon, that "the slightest sketch explains more than the longest discourse," we have endeavored to illustrate our book as profusely, and at the same time, in as practical a manner, as lay in our power. There is no longer any questioning of the principle that comparative illustrations offer the best means of instruction, and so, instead of following the only too common practice of reproducing curious and little-known works, we have chosen, throughout, typical treatments of every section of the subject discussed in this book, in order that our readers may gain a clear impression of the accepted rule in each case. The exceptions can always take care of themselves.
We have endeavored to explain, in as few words as possible, the symbolic meaning of the costumes, accessories, and even the attitudes, of the personages of the Holy Trinity, of the Mother of Our Lord, and of the Saints, but in respect of the latter, we have not attempted to give lengthy descriptions of their lives and deaths, for too many practical and inexpensive works on this branch of the subject are at the disposal of those who require such information.
It has been our own experience during the course of our lecturing that the alphabetical lists of the distinctive attributes of the saints which form an important part of many books on the subject, offer difficulties of interpretation to all save those who are already more or less familiar with sacred pictures and sculpture. The tyro is frequently unable to distinguish the special symbol or attribute, particularly in cases where various
attributes may be given to a saint, as for example, St. Barbara or St. Catherine.
Now the first thing one notices, in looking at the picture of a saint, is the costume he or she is portrayed as wearing. Therefore, on condition that the peculiarities of each costume are known, a classification of the saints by their costumes must save an immense amount of research, and prevent very obvious errors. At the end of this volume will be found classified in this manner some 350 Saints who appear in the works of the old Masters, supplemented by an alphabetical general index.
More than 100 Madonna pictures, 14 Coronations, 400 pictures of Saints alone or in groups, 11 Annunciations, and so forth, afford possibilities of comparison and study such as have never before been offered to the public. More than 300 Artists and almost 1000 Pictures are mentioned.
A carefully compiled Index of Illustrations, by categories in alphabetical order, and lists of Artists, Museums and Churches where works by such Artists can be seen should make this book valuable for reference purposes.
In addition to this important list, the reader will find a totally new table of Martyrdoms in alphabetical order, so that pictures of saints undergoing torture, or being executed, may be immediately understood, and the principal personages identified; an alphabetical list of some 400 attributes and symbols with the saints who bear them; a chronological list of the Popes from St. Peter till the end of the Grand Period in art; and other tables of inestimable value to those who desire to extract the full mead of enjoyment from their visits to the great picture galleries of the world.
It will be found that in several places we have drawn attention to mistakes of fact, dates, etc., in other books on the subject, even in Mrs. Jameson's monumental work in several volumes which will always remain the classic for library students-but we have done so in no spirit of caviling, and with the sole intention of preventing misunderstanding. Similarly where recent research has given certain pictures to artists other than those who were until then considered to be their authors, we have mentioned both the old and the new attributions.
Finally, let us remark that we make no claim for infallibility either, and that our readers will surely find errors in this book as we find them in those of others, but at least they can rest assured that every precaution has been taken to check up all dates, Bible and classical references, the spelling of foreign words, correct orthography of names, and so forth, using the latest and soundest reference works for that purpose.
In conclusion, we should like to point out that this work is intended for practical use in the hands of artlovers, and is in no way designed as a complete list of Christian saints. Hundreds of local saints never appear at all in Art, and these are equally absent from our book. Others only appear in ancient missals and stained-glass windows. These also are only mentioned where they have a direct interest for the student.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I. A General Review of the Rise of Sacred Art, from the Commence-
ment of the Christian Era, the Origins of its Symbolism, and its
CHAPTER II. Of the Distinction between Symbols and Attributes, and between
Devotional, Votive, and Narrative Pictures.
The Madonna without the Child.
The Madonna and Child Pictures
The Special Symbols of the Virgin Mary
The Colors used for the Garments of the Virgin
CHAPTER VI. Of the Heavenly Hosts and Their Hierarchical Rendering in Art.
CHAPTER VII. Of the Evangelists and Apostles
CHAPTER VIII. Of St. John the Baptist and St. Mary Magdalene
CHAPTER IX. Of the Doctors of the Latin and Greek Churches
CHAPTER X. Of the Patron Saints of Christendom, the Virgin Patronesses, and the
Tables of the Patron Saints of Countries, Cities, Classes of Society,
I. Alphabetical Table of Martyrdoms, showing how the Martyr-Saints suffered and
II. Tables of 320 Saints, classified according to their Habitual Costumes, with the
date of their Deaths, their Monastic Order (where any), their Attributes, etc.
III. The Saints classified according to their divers categories, e. g. Contemporaries of
Our Lord; the Greek Martyrs; Roman Martyrs; the Martyrs of Northern
IV. Alphabetical Tables of the Symbols and Attributes of the Saints, with the
V. Chronological Table of the Bishops and Popes of Rome, from St. Peter up to the
VII. Complete Alphabetical General Index