Daniel Mitsui  ~  Religious Artwork  ~  Giclee Prints  ~  St. Theodore of Canterbury



St. Theodore of Canterbury, also known as St. Theodore of Tarsus, was born in Asia Minor in the early 7th century, and witnessed the wars between Sassanid Persia and the Byzantine Empire. He later fled the conquests of the Rashidun Caliphate, lived in Constantinople and later Rome. Pope Vitalian appointed him Archbishop of Canterbury in 668. As Archbishop, he oversaw the continued reconciliation between the factions of Roman and Celtic Christianity in England and established an influential school of theology and the arts.

I wanted this work to look distinctly English, but also to reflect the extraordinary cosmopolitanity of St. Theodore, who was familiar with Syriac, Armenian, Byzantine, Roman and Celtic Christianity.

The borders and halo include plants common in England: field pea, sow thistle and English ivy. The blackletter inscription is Theodorus Cantuariensis, Latin for Theodore of Canterbury.

The background resembles an Oriental carpet; I got the idea to use this from the art historian Voklmar Gartzhorn, who proposed that St. Theodore was personally resposible for bringing the tradition of the Oriental carpet from Christian Armenia to the British Isles, influencing the insular manuscript illuminators.

The writings of Bede mention that St. Theodore was sent to England at the age of 66 and wore the round (Petrine) tonsure, having grown out his characteristically eastern shaved head (Pauline tonsure) first in order to be shorn in the Roman manner. Undoubtedly this was considered important, as the shape of the tonsure was a point of serious contention between the Roman and Celtic missionary schools in England at the time (the latter of whom traditionally wore the Johannine tonsure).

He wears a pallium in reference to his office as Archbishop of Canterbury (the arms of the See of Canterbury to this day include a pallium), an apparelled amice, and a chasuble whose orphreys combine the ornament of the borders and the background carpet. The damask pattern on the chasuble includes three crows and a lion, which are the main elements in the arms of the city of Canterbury.

Medium: Drawing, color ink on goatskin parchment
Dimensions: 5 3/4" × 8 1/4"
Year: 2019

The original drawing was made on private commission.

An open-edition giclée print of this drawing is available for $44. You may use the button below to pay via PayPal, debit card or credit card. Be sure to confirm the shipping address.

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all works copyright Daniel Mitsui / danielmitsuiartist at gmail dot com