« March 2013 »
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile

E-mail me:

Please visit
my main
web page
to see my
work as an

13 February 2013


8 February 2013


Pope Adrian VI:
The Scriptures complain that the sins of the people come from the sins of the priest, and, therefore (as Chrysostom says), our Saviour, when He was about the cure the sickness of the city of Jerusalem, went to the temple to chastize first of all the sins of the priests, like a good physician, who cures disease by going to its root. We know that in this Holy See there have been many abominations these many years - abuses in spiritual things, excessive decrees, and everything perverted; nor is there any wonder if the disease has descended from the head to the members; from the supreme pontiffs to other prelates of lower rank. We all have gone aside everyone to his own ways, and there was none that did good, no, not one. Therefore it is necessary that we all give glory to God and humble our souls before Him, and each of us see whence he has fallen, and rather judge himself than await the judgment of God in the rod of His anger.

In this matter, so far as we are concerned, thou wilt promise that We shall spare no pains that this curia, from which, perchance, this whole evil has emanated, shall be reformed first of all, so that the health and reformation of all may also emanate from it. We feel ourselves the more bound to bring this about because We see that the whole world eagerly desires this kind of a reformation. We were never ambitious for this pontificate (as We believe We had told thee elsewhere), and so far as We were ourselves concerned We should have preferred to lead a private life and to serve God in retirement; indeed, We should have utterly refused the pontificate if the fear of God and the purity of our election and the danger that schisms might have arisen out of our refusal had not compelled us to accept it. Therefore We took upon us the yoke of the supreme dignity, not from lust of power, nor for the purpose of enriching our relatives, but with the intention of obeying God's will, of reforming the deformed Church, His bride, of succoring the oppressed, of promoting and honoring learned and virtuous men who have for a long time been neglected, and of doing everything else that a good Pope and legitimate successor of St. Peter ought to do.

No one should be surprised, however, if he sees that We do not immediately correct all the wrongs and abuses. The disease is too deep-seated; it is not simple but has many complications; its cure must proceed slowly and the most serious and dangerous symptoms must be combated first, lest in our desire to reform everything at once we turn everything upside down. Sudden changes are dangerous in a state, says Aristotle, and he who blows his nose too hard draws blood.


St. Aldhelm was an English saint of the seventh century; he was Abbot of Malmesbury and later Bishop of Sherborne, as well as an accomplished man of letters. According to Herbert Thurston:
His chief prose work is a treatise, De Laude Virginitatis, preserved to us in a large number of manuscripts, some as early as the eighth century. This treatise, in imitation of Sedulius, Aldhelm afterwards versified. The metrical version is also still extant, and Ehwald has recently shown that it forms one piece with another poem, De Octo Principalibus Vitiis... Several other letters of Aldhelm are preserved. One of these, addressed to Acircius (Ealdfrith), King of Northumbria, is a work of importance on the laws of prosody. To illustrate the rules laid down, the writer incorporates in his treatise a large collection of metrical Latin riddles.
Both the poem De Laude Virginitatis and the collection of riddles accompanying the epistle to Acircius have prrefaces in verse, each containing an ingenious double acrostic.

The preface to the De Laude Virginitatis begins with the line Metrica Tirones nunc promant carmina castos. The first letters of each of the thirty-eight lines of poetry in the preface spell out these same words when read vertically. Moreover, the last letters of each of the thirty-eight lines spell out this message also - when read from bottom to top!

Metrica Tirones nunc promant carmina castoS,
Et laudem capiat quadrato carmine VirgO,
Trinus in arce Deus, qui pollens secla creaviT,
Regnator mundi, regnans in sedibus altiS,
Indigno conferre mihi dignetur in aethrA
Сum Sanctis requiem, quos laudo versibus istiC.
Arbiter altithronus, qui servat sceptra superaA
Tradidit his coeli per sudum scandere limeN
Inter sanctorum cuneos, qui laude perennI
Rite glorificant moderantem regna tonanteM
Omnitenens Dominus, mundi formator et auctoR
Nobis pauperibus confer suffragia certA,
Et ne concedas trudendos hostibus istinС
Sed magis exiguos defendens dextera tangaT
Ne praedo pellax coelorum claudere limeN
Vel sanctos valeat noxarum fallere scenA
Ne fur strophosus foveam detrudat in atraM
Сonditor a summo quos Christus servat olympO
Pastor ovile tuens ne possit rabula raptoR
Regalis vastans caulas bis dicere puppuP
Omnia sed custos defendat ovilia jam nunС
Maxima praecipuum quae gestas numine nomeN
Addere praesidium mater dignare precatU
Nam tu perpetuum prompsisti lumine lumeN
Titan quem clamant sacro spiramine VateS
Сujus per mundum jubar alto splendet ab axE
Atque polos pariter replet vibramine fulmeN
Rex regum et princeps populorum dictus ab aevО
Magnus de magno, de rerum regmine rectoR
Illum nec terrae, nec possunt cingere coelI
Nec mare navigerum spumoso gurgite vallaT
Aut zonae mundi, quae stipant aethera celsA
Сlarorum vitam, qui castis moribus istiС
Auxiliante Deo vernabant flore perennI
Sanctis aggrediar studiis edicere paupeR
Tanta tamen digne si pauper praemia prodaT
Omnia cum nullus verbis explanet apertE
Sotsac animract Namorp Cnunsenorita cirteM.

The last line of the preface is simply the first line spelled backwards: a clue to anyone who missed the second acrostic.

The acrostic in the preface to the collection of riddles spells out the words Aldhelmus cecinit millenis versibus odas. These are the first and last letters of each line of poetry, read vertically (each line begins and ends with the same letter):

Arbiter, aetherio jugiter qui regmine sceptrA
Lucifluumque simul coeli regale tribunaL
Disponis, moderans aeternis legibus illuD
Horrida nam mulctans torsisti membra BehemotH
Ex alta quondam rueret dum luridus arcE
Limpida dictanti metrorum carmina praesuL
Munera nunc largire: rudis quo pandere reruM
Uersibus aenigmata queam clandestina fatU
Sic Deus indignis tua gratis dona rependiS
Сastalidas nymphas non clamo cantibus istuС
Examen neque spargebat mihi nectar in orE
Сynthi sic nunquam perlustro cacumina sed neС
In Parnasso procubui nec somnia vidI
Nam mihi versificum potent Deus addere carmeN
Inspirans stolidae pia gratis munera mentI
Tangit si mentem, mox laudem corda rependunT
Metrica: nam Moysen declarant carmina vateM
Iamdudum cecinisse prisci vexilla tropaeI
Late per populos illustria, qua nitidus SoL
Lustrat ab Oceani jam tollens gurgite cephaL
Et Psalmista canens metrorum carmina vocE
Natum divino promit generamine NumeN
In coelis prius exortum, quam Lucifer orbI
Splendida formatis fudisset lumina saecliS
Vernm si fuerint bona haec aenigmata, versV
Explosis penitus naevis et rusticitatE
Ritu dactylico recte decursa, nec erroR
Seduxit vana specie molimina mentiS
Incipiam potiora: sui Deus arida servI
Вelligere quondam qui vires tradidit IoВ
Viscera perpetui roris si repleat haustU
Siccis nam laticis duxisti cautibus amneS
Olim, cum cuneus transgresso marmore rubrO
Desertum penetrat: cecinit quod carmine DaviD.
Arce poli genitor servas qui saecula cunctA
Solvere jam scelerum noxas dignare nefandaS.

6 February 2013


5 February 2013


Worcester Art Museum:
This painting has long been attributed to Stefano da Verona, who was active mostly in northern Italy and who was a proponent of the International Style. Popular throughout Europe toward the end of the fourteenth century, this style embodies a decorative elegance and an interest in minute detail that derive from northern European painting. Here the Virgin is portrayed as the Madonna of Humility: instead of being enthroned, she is seated on a cushion on the ground. In the sky above her appears God the Father with a scepter and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. The rose garden symbolizes the purity of the Virgin, while the music-making angels evoke the refined and grace-filled court life of the very end of the Middle Ages.

4 February 2013


Shunkoin Temple:
The Bell of Nanban-ji is designated as a National Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. This Jesuit bell was made in Portugal in 1577 and used at Nanbanji Church.

Nanbanji Church was the first Christian church in Kyoto. In 1576, Jesuit Father Gnecchi-Soldo Organtino established this church with the support of Nobunaga Oda, who was one of the most powerful feudal lords who ruled Kyoto in the late 16th century. In the next eleven years, Nanbanji was the center of Catholic missionary activities in Japan. Also, this church became an important place for traders from Portugal and Spain.

In 1587, Regent Hideyoshi Toyotomi created a law against all Christians in Japan. Nanbanji was destroyed and was never rebuilt. Following the anti- Christian policy of Regent Hideyoshi, the Tokugawa shogunate banned Christianity and systematically eliminated all Christians. Thus, the Bell of Nanbanji vanished from the Japanese history until the bell came to Shunkōin about 200 years ago.

On the surface of the bell ... under an IHS Christogram, there are three nails of the seal of the Society of Jesus. Three nails symbolize the Crucifixion of Christ. Also the Arabic numerals 1577 were engraved on the surface.

3 February 2013


Drawing by Barthélemy Faujas de Saint-Fond

The Golden Legend of James of Voragine, Englished by William Granger Ryan:
Opaque creatures manifested the Nativity, for example by the destruction of the temple in Rome, as above described, and also by the collapse of other statues that fell in a great many other places. For instance, we read in the Scholastic History that the prophet Jeremiah, going down to Egypt after the death of Godolias, indicated to the Egyptian kings that their idols would fall to pieces when a virgin bore a son. For that reason the priests of the idols made a statue of a virgin holding a male child in her lap, set it up in a secret place in the temple, and there worshipped it. When King Ptolemy asked them the meaning of this, they told him that it was a mystery handed down by the fathers, who had received it from a holy man, a prophet, and they believed that what was foretold would really happen.
The story of the statue's creation was inlcuded in the Speculum Humane Salvationis as a prefigurement of the Flight into Egypt, along with Moses breaking the Pharaoh's crown and Nebuchadnezzar's dream.


Sarah Jane Boss:
At Le Puy, it is not only the site that is enveloped in sacred mythology, but also the statue of the Virgin and Child. According to tradition, this too is a pre-Christian image prophetic of Christianity. The original statue is said to have been carved by the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah, while he remained in Egypt after fleeing there following the fall of Jerusalem. The statue is thus a visual prophecy of the Incarnation. One tradition recounts that King St. Louis IX of France, on his way to Palestine to join a crusade, was captured by the Sultan of Egypt. Whilst he was there awaiting his ransom, the sultan showed him many of the treasures of his country, amongst which, in the temple, was a black statue of a mother and child.

King Louis immediately recognized the image as a statue of the Virgin and Christ. When the king's ransom arrived, the sultan told him that he could choose a gift, from everything he had seen in Egypt, to take back with him to his native land, and the gift that Louis chose was the statue of the mother and child. The sultan was most reluctant to let it go, but, having given his word, he could not go back on it, and so the statue was taken by Louis to France, where it was given to the shrine of Le Puy.
The Black Virgin of Le Puy was guillotined and burned by the revolutionaries on 9 June 1794. As the statue burned, a secret door opened in its back, out of which a small parchment scroll fell. It was consumed by the fire before anyone could read what was written on it.

Shortly before the statue was destroyed, it was sketched and described by the Barthélemy Faujas de Saint-Fond. The statue currently venerated in the Cathedral of Le Puy is a replica based on this description.

2 February 2013


Its significance, explained in the Golden Legend of James of Voragine, as Englished by William Caxton.

Sequence by Adam of St. Victor:

Templum cordis adornemus;
Novo corde renovemus
Novum senis gaudium,
Quod dum ulnis amplexatur,
Sic longevi recreatur
Longum desiderium.

Stans in signum populorum,
Templum luce, laude chorum,
Corda replens gloria,
Templo puer presentatus,
Post in cruce vir oblatus,
Pro peccatis hostia.

Hinc Salvator, hinc Maria,
Puer pius, mater pia,
Moveant tripudium!
Sed cum votis perferatur
Opus lucis, quod signatur
Luce luminarium.

Verbum Patris lux est vera,
Virginalis caro cera,
Christi splendens cereus;
Cor illustrat ad sophiam,
Qua virtutis rapit viam,
Vitiis erroneus,

Christum tenens per amorem,
Bene juxta festi morem,
Gestat lumen cereum,
Sicut senex Verbum Patris
Votis, strinxit pignus matris
Brachiis corporeum.

Gaude, mater genitoris,
Simplex intus, munda foris,
Carens ruga, macula;
A dilecto preelecta,
Ab electo predilecta
Deo muliercula!

Omnis decor tenebrescit,
Deformatur et horrescit
Tuum intuentibus:
Omnis sapor amarescit,
Reprobatur et sordescit
Tuum pregustantibus.

Omnis odor redolere
Non videtur, sed olere
Tuum odorantibus:
Omnis amor aut deponi
Prorsus solet, aut postponi
Tuum nutrientibus,

Decens maris luminare,
Decus matrum singulare,
Vera parens veritatis,
Via vite pietatis,
Medicina seculi;
Vena vini fontis vite,
Sitienda cunctis rite,
Sano dulcis et languenti,
Salutaris fatiscenti
Confortantis poculi!

Fons signate
Rivos funde,
Nos infunde;
Fons hortorum
Riga mentes
Unda tui rivuli:
Fons redundans
Sis inundans;
Cordis prava
Queque lava;
Fons sublimis,
Munde nimis,
Ab immundo
Munda mundo
Cor immundi populi. Amen.

Englished by Digby S. Wrangham:

Let us, the heart's shrine preparing
With a heart renewed be sharing
In the old man's joy again,
Joy, which, held in his embraces,
So his long-felt heart's wish raises
Once more in the long-lived man.

Set an ensign for the nations,
Shrine with light, song with laudations,
Hearts with glory filleth He;
Now a child for presentation,
When a man, a sin-oblation
On the Cross for sin to be!

Saviour! here, here, Mary lowly!
Holy Son and mother holy!
Move us all to glad delight
By that work of light perfected,
Which we now, for prayer collected,
Image with our tapers bright!

The true light the Word from heaven,
Virgin's flesh the wax, hath given
To Christ's candle, bright as day,
Which to hearts that wisdom showeth.
Through which virtue's path he knoweth.
Who by sin is led astray.

As one, love t'ward Jesus bearing,
In this festal custom sharing.
Doth a waxen taper hold,
So the Father's Word supernal,
Pledge of purity maternal.
Did old Simeon's arms enfold.

Joy thou, who thy Father barest!
Pure within, without the fairest!
From all spot or wrinkle free!
Pre-elect of the Belovèd!
By the Elect of old approvèd!
Darling of the Deity!

Beauty of all kinds seems clouded,
Sore defaced and horror-shrouded.
When we see thy beauty shine:
Bitter groweth every savour,
Hateful and of filthy flavour,
After we have tasted thine.

Every scent the sweetest smelling
Seems not sweet, but most repelling,
When thy scents our nostrils fill;
Love of all kinds is rejected
Instantly, or else neglected,
Whilst thy love we cherish still.

Lovely light o'er ocean's waters!
Mother, peerless 'mongst earth's daughters!
Parent true of truth immortal!
Way of life to grace's portal!
Medicine all the world to heal!
Duct of wine from life's fount bursting.
For which all men should be thirsting!
Sweet to those in health or sickness!
Health to all, who in sore weakness
For its cheering draught appeal!

Fountain duly
Sealed as holy!
Outpour for us
Rivers o'er us:
Fount of showers
For hearts' flowers!
Water ever
From thy river
To all thirsting souls impart:
Fount o'erflowing!
Through hearts going,
Grant ablution
From pollution:
Fountain, given
Pure from heaven!
From earth, wholly
Impure, throughly
Purify man's impure heart! Amen.

1 February 2013


Her life, according to Oengus the Culdee.

Fragment of an abecedarian hymn by Ultan of Ardbraccan:

Xps in nostra insula que vocatur Hibernia
Ostensus est hominibus maximis mirabilibus
Que perfecit per felicem celestis vite virginem
Precellentem pro merito magno in mundi circulo.

Ymnus iste angelice summeque Sancte Brigite
Fari non valet omnia virtutum mirabilia
Que nostris nunquam auribus si sint facta audivimus
Nisi per istam Virginem Marie sancte similem.

Zona sancte militie sanctos lumbos precingere
Consueuit diurno nocturno quoque studio
Consummato certamine sumpsit palmam victorie
Refulgens magno splendore ut sol in celi culmine.

Audite virginis laudes sancta quoque merita
Perfectionem quam promisit viriliter impleunt
Xpi matrem se spopondit dictus et fecit factis
Brigita aut amata veri Dei regina.
Englished by Mary Francis Cusack:

Christ in our isle was shown to men,
By Brigit's saintly life;
Excelling all who came before,
She conquered in the strife.

Like her no other saint was found,
But Jesu's mother blest;
Her virtues and her wondrous fame
Can never be expressed.

With holy fervour girdled round,
The victor's palm she gains;
And like the glorious sun above,
In heaven refulgent reigns.

Then listen to this virgin's praise:
To Christ she gave her vow,
Faithful she kept it; her reward
Is reigning with Him now.

31 January 2013


British Museum:
Aldegrever's work shows more than any other artist since Schongauer the close association that persisted between the engravers' and goldsmiths' professions. About one hundred of his engravings are designs for ornament, of which his designs for goldsmiths' work fall into the period 1528-39. He produced seventeen designs for sheaths of swords, daggers or domestic knives, most of which show the sheaths alone. [These] display large-scale designs for the scabbard and hilt; they represent his most impressive achievement in this genre and are probably the most famous ornament prints of the period. Such objects would have been extremely costly to realise and were intended for ceremonial use by the nobility or wealthy patrician families. Daggers of this type are seen buckled to the men in Aldegrever's engravings of wedding dancers of 1538 and in drawings by Urs Graf and others.

Newer | Latest | Older

This is a not-for-profit web log, with an educational purpose. The quotations that appear in its entries I presume to be fairly used under current copyright law. To my knowledge, the pictures displayed here are either faithful reproductions of two-dimensional works of art in the public domain, or have been authorized for display via a Creative Commons or similar license. I am making an ongoing effort to properly credit all of the quotations and images that appear on this web log.

If you are the owner of the rights to any quotation or image that appears here and you object to its presence, or the manner in which it is presented, please e-mail me at danmitsui [at] hotmail [dot] com and I will remove or amend the post.