Monday, August 10, 2009

Spectacular Vestments from the Treasury of St. John Lateran

Over at the Italian forum Cattolici Romani, a user has posted some photos of vestments found in the treasury of the Papal Basilica and Cathedral of St. John Lateran. While the quality of the photographs - taken through the glass casings - is maybe not the best, they still give very good impressions of these simply outstanding vestments. One might hope that at least some of them might be used again in papal liturgies for solemn occasion, as their quality is simply infinitely higher than almost anything we see today. While considerations regarding conservation should not be discounted off hand, I have always thought that treasures such as these were created to give greater glory to Almighty God, and if they are ultimately worn out in his service they simply fulfill their proper purpose. The mere preservation in a museum for items such as these has always struck me as the approach of people to whom they are just the objects of abstract interest like that of the ethnologist, not a part of their living tradition.

Now for the pictures (click to enlarge):

A chasuble of Clement VIII (1592 - 1605):

A set of vestments of Cardinal Rezzonico, the later Pope Clement XIII (1758 - 1769):

A detail of a cope of Clement XII ( 1730 - 1740):

An antependium of the same Pontiff:

And an antependium of Alexander VII (1655 - 1667):

A High Mass set of a Cardinal Chigi:

A chasuble of a Cardinal Colonna:

Some vestments not identified, but no less spectacular:

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