Piece of the Month II

Dada a extensão deste artigo, achei por bem publicar as versões inglesa e portuguesa em separado. Para a versão portuguesa, cliquem aqui.

PIECE OF THE MONTH II – SANTA CLARA TRIPTYCH

Collection: Machado de Castro National Museum, Coimbra

Dates: ca. 1483-1486

Provenance: Santa Clara-a-velha Monastery, Coimbra, Portugal

Local of Production: Coimbra (?), Portugal

Dimensions: 297cm in height × 342cm in width

Weight: Unknown

Materials: Oil and tempera on chestnut

Description: The Santa Clara Triptych is a set of paintings by an unknown master, part of an altarpiece which used to be housed in the Monastery of Santa Clara-a-Velha. It is one of the greatest extant works from the 15th century in Portugal, the result of a confluence of artistical currents: undeniably Portuguese, but with traces of influences from Castilian, Aragonese, and Flemish school.

The Triptych consists of three panels and a predella (a long continuous panel at the bottom of the altarpiece), with gilded Gothic frames. The three main panels show episodes from the life of Saint Clare: the middle, the most important panel, shows the best known episode, the expulsion of Muslims from the city of Assisi by showing them a monstrance with a consecrated host – the Miracle of the Eucharist. The left panel depicts Christ in the Garden; the right panel shows a Lamentation. The predella contains portraits of the Apostles and a peculiarly off-centred Christ.

Santa Clara de Coïmbra. Museu Machado de Castro
The triptych and predella.

This set of paintings is one of the greatest testimonies of the wealth of power of Santa Clara-a-Velha  during the Middle Ages. The central panel is of particulat interest to the military-minded reenactor, for including depictions of some standard pieces of Portuguese equipment at the time – brigandines, spears, war hats. In the central panel we have what is possibly the best depiction of an adarga in Portugal during the 1400s: not only can we clearly see the front of the shield, but its rear as well, including its straps and arm pad.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Dias, P. (1986). O Gótico. História da Arte em Portugal (Vol. 5). Lisboa: Alfa

Serrão, V. (2003). “Pintura e Vitral”. In Barroca, M. and Serrão, V. O Gótico. História da Arte em Portugal (Vol. 2). Lisboa: Editorial Presença, pp. 277-291

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