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of all that is most ornamental in life. It is far from our intention to dilate on the course of events during earlier ages to which we owe the preservation of some of the noblest edifices of classical genius, especially within the walls of the Eternal City, or to explain the steps by which it came to pass that the monuments long admired by men of a more elevated taste, by being incorporated within the possessions of the Church, were handed down to superstitious imitation in an age when all power of original invention in art, as in every other province of the mind, had disappeared. But the time to which our attention has lately been directed was that in which church architecture, in our sense of the word, took its rise; and if to the efforts of one class of men more than another is to be referred so noble a result, we must assign the palm to the clergy, and more particularly to the monastic orders.
We cannot read of the vast extent of the cænobitic establishments of the Benedictine order without perceiving that architecture must have found in them a far more extensive field than it could have done in the most splendid abodes of secular pomp. A remarkable instance both of the lavish expenditure bestowed on the monastic edifices and of the almost superstitious reverence, with which in those days, as in our own, the relics of Roman art were cherished, occurs in the history of Benedict Biscop, the founder of the Wearmouth monasteryl. We
1 “Nec plus quam unius anni spatio post fundatum monasterium interjecto Benedictus oceano transmisso Gallias petens
read of his visiting Rome soon after the completion of his building, and returning “ enriched with countless articles of ecclesiastical furniture, with numerous copies, to wit, of the sacred books', as well as pictures exhibiting the concordance of the Old and New Testaments."*2
cæmentarios, qui lapideam sibi ecclesiam juxta Romanorum quem semper amabat morem facerent, postulavit, accepit, attulit. * * Proximante autem ad perfectum opere, misit legatarios Galliam, qui vitri factores (artifices videlicet) Britanniis eatenus incognitos ad cancellandas ecclesiæ porticuumque et conaculorum ejus fenestras adducerent. Factumque est; venerunt: nec solum opus postulatum compleverunt, sed et Anglorum ex eo gentem hujusmodi artificium nosse ac discere fecerunt; artificium nimirum vel lanpadis ecclesiæ claustris vel vasorum multifariis usibus non ignobiliter aptum. Sed et cuncta quæ ad altaris et ecclesiæ ministerium competebant vasa sancta vel vestimenta, quia domi invenire non potuit, de transmarinis regionibus advectare religiosus emtor curabat.” Bede, Hist. Abb. Wiremuth. 5.
i See p. 154.
* Mabillon, Acta Sanctorum Ord. S. Ben. t. i. p. 545. [From Bede, ibid. 9. See next note.]
? On his fifth voyage to Rome, he brought back (Bede, ibid. 6) “picturas imaginum sanctarum quas ad ornandum ecclesiam beati Petri Apostoli quam construxerat detulit; imaginem videlicet beatæ Dei Genetricis semperque virginis Mariæ, simul et duodecim Apostolorum, quibus mediam ejusdem ecclesiæ testudinem ducto a pariete ad parietem tabulato præcingeret; imagines evangelicæ historiæ, quibus australem ecclesiæ parietem decoraret; imagines visionum Apocalypsis beati Johannis, quibus septentrionalem æque parietem ornaret, quatenus intrantes ecclesiam omnes etiam literarum ignari, quaquaversum intenderent, vel semper amabilem Christi sanctorumque ejus quamvis in imagine contemplarentur aspectum, vel Dominicæ incarnationis gratiam vigilantiore „mente recolerent, vel extremi discrimen examinis quasi coram oculis habentes districtius se ipsi examinare meminissent.” Bede Another yet more striking example of the union of activity in the cause of religion with zeal for the erection and embellishment of the houses of God is presented to us in the life of Wilfred, Bishop of York at the close of the seventh century, and one of the most renowned patrons of ecclesiastical art among the AngloSaxons*. His cathedral he is said to have repaired, and to have filled the windows with glass, a substance previously unknown to his countrymenl. Moreover, the descriptions of the churches at Ripon 2 and (ibid. 9) thus describes the pictures brought back for both monasteries on Benedict's sixth visit: “ Nam et tunc dominicæ historia picturas, quibus totam beatæ Dei Genetricis quam in monasterio majore fecerat ecclesiam in gyro coronaret, adtulit: imagines quoque ad ornandum monasterium ecclesiamque beati Pauli Apostoli de concordia veteris et novi Testamenti summa ratione compositas exhibuit; verbi gratia, Isaac ligna quibus immolaretur portantem et Dominum crucem in qua pateretur æque portantem proxima super invicem regione pictura conjunxit. Item serpenti in eremo a Moyse exaltato Filium Hominis in cruce exaltatum comparavit.” From the description of Benedict Biscop's church, and especially of its pictorial decoration, we have every reason to conclude that the style he employed was Byzantine. Compare Ruskin, Stones of Venice, vol. ii. pp. 92, 102.
* Wright, Anglo-Saxon Lit. Biog. p. 175.
1“Primum culmina corrupta tecti renovans, artificiose plumbo puro tegens, per fenestras introitum avium et imbrium vitio prohibuit, per quod tamen intro lumen radiebat. Parietes quoque lavans secundum Prophetam super nivem dealbavit, eam enim non solum domum Dei et altare in varia supellectili vasorum intus ornavit, verum etiam deforis multa territoria pro Deo adeptus terrenis opibus paupertatem auferens copiose ditavit.” Eddi Stephani Vita Wilfridi, c. 16. ap. Gale, XV Scriptores, i. 59.
? “Beatissimus Wilfridus Episcopus thalamum veri sponsi et Hexham', the latter of which is said by the biographer of Wilfred to have been superior to anything north of the Alps, display to us the progress made by the love of art among the clergy, even at so great a distance from Rome, whence were derived many of the outward ceremonies as well as the doctrines of religion?. Again, the historian
sponsæ, in conspectu populorum corde credentium et fide confitentium, auro et argento purpuraque varia mirifice decoravit: nam in Hrypis basilicam polito lapide a fundamentis in terra usque ad summum ædificatam variis columnis et porticibus suffultam in altum erexit et consummavit. * * Quatuor Evangelia de auro purissimo in membranis depurpuratis coloratis pro animæ suæ remedio scribere jussit; necnon et bibliothecam librorum eorum omnem de auro purissimo et gemmis pretiosissimis fabrefactam compaginare inclusores gemmarum præcepit.” Eddi Vit. Wilf. 17.
1 “Cujus profunditatem in terra cum domibus mirifice politis lapidibus fundatam, et super terram multiplicem domum, columnis variis et porticibus multis suffultam, mirabilique longitudine et altitudine murorum ornatam, et variis linearum anfractibus viarum aliquando sursum aliquando deorsum per cochleas circumductam, --non est meæ parvitatis hoc sermone explicare quod sanctus ipse Præsul animarum a spiritu Dei doctus opere facere excogitavit: neque ullam domum aliam citra Alpes montes talem ædificatam audivimus. Porro beatæ memoriæ adhuc vivens gratia Domini Acca Episcopus, qui magnalia ornamenta hujus multiplicis domus de auro et argento lapidibusque pretiosis; et quomodo altaria purpura et serico induta decoravit quis ad explanandum sufficere poterat ?" Eddi, Vit. Wilf. 22. Compare Bede, H. E. v. 20.
? In 710, Naiton king of the Picts, wrting to Ceolfrid abbot of Wearmouth, "architectos sibi mitti petiit, qui juxta morem Romanorum ecclesiam de lapide in gente ipsius facerent, promittens hanc in honorem beati Apostolorum principis dedicandam ; se quoque ipsum cum suis omnibus morem sanctæ Romanæ et apostolicæ ecclesiæ semper imitaturum, in quantum duntaxat tam
of the Benedictine order has given an elaborate description of the great abbey of Jumiéges on the Seine, founded by Filibert in the year 615; from which we may conclude that the architectural display of the exterior and the lavish magnificence of the interior were scarcely surpassed by the astonishing erections of a later date. It was natural that architecture, the most practical of the arts, should first rise to eminence in a rude society, and that the monks, accustomed as they were to occupy edifices of surpassing size and magnificence, should have been the designers of so many ornaments of a succeeding age. But it was hardly to have been anticipated that painting was to owe its revival to the spirit of mediæval asceticism. Yet that such was the case is attested beyond a doubt to us by the purely religious subjects of the earliest works preserved to our own day; and if we look back farther still, we shall find the origin of the art in the clumsy but characteristic devices with which the early monks decorated the Bible and the missal. The third art which naturally associated itself with the monastic life was that of music, which had indeed at all times and in all countries been looked upon as an almost necessary part of a clerical education. We have seen it obtaining for one of its zealous patrons the praise of Sidonius Apollinaris in a preceding century!, and it reached in consequence of the spread of religious houses
longe a Romanorum loquela et natione segregati hunc ediscere potuissent.” Bede, H. E. v. 21.
? See p. 73.