Updates, Live

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Aert van den Bossche: Martyrdom of SS Crispin and Crispinian

Aert van den Bossche: Martyrdom of SS Crispin and Crispinian, 1494
oil on panel
National Museum in Warsaw Arkady
photo: Stanisław Lorentz,1990
no copyright infringement intended

Aert van den Bossche lived by the end of 15's century. He is also known as Aert van Panhedel, also as the Brussels Master, also as the Master of the Legend of St. Barbara. He activated in Brussels and in Bruges (where he was a member of the Guild of Saint Luke). He remained known in the history of art through his triptych devoted to the martyrdom of SS Crispin and Crispinian. The middle part of this triptych is now at the National Museum in Warsaw, the the outside of the right wing in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow, and the inside of the right wing in the City Museum in Brussels.

Now, you would ask me who these saints were, Crispin and Crispian? They are honored in the Catholic Church, in the Eastern Orthodox Church, and in the Anglican Church. I would add that after Vatican II the Catholic Church got more skeptical as to the proofs of Crispin and Crispian's historical existence, and even removed the  St. Crispin's Day from their liturgical calendar, though without removing them from the list of saints. Here is what Wiki has to say about the two saints:

Saints Crispin and Crispinian are the French Christian patron saints of cobblers, tanners, and leather workers. Born to a noble Roman family in the 3rd century AD, Saints Crispin and Crispinian, twin brothers, fled persecution for their faith, ending up in Soissons, where they preached Christianity to the Gauls and made shoes by night.Their success attracted the ire of Rictus Varus, the governor of Belgic Gaul, who had them tortured and thrown into the river with millstones round their necks. Though they survived, they were beheaded by the emperor c. 286.
An alternative account gives them as sons of a noble Romano-Briton family whose father had been killed having incurred the displeasure of the Roman emperor living at Canterbury. As they were approaching maturity their mother sent them to London to seek apprenticeship and to avoid coming to the attention of their father's killer. Traveling there, the brothers came across a shoe-maker's workshop in Faversham and decided to travel no further but to remain in Faversham where there is a plaque commemorating their association with the town. They are also commemorated in the name of the ancient pub Crispin and Crispianus in Strood. It might be thought that a flaw in this account is its failure to explain how the brothers came to be martyred.

Catholics may have removed the Feast of St. Crispin from their calendar, the feast remains anyway in history. It was in St. Crispin's Day that several famous battles occurred, at Agincourt (1415, Hundred Years' War), at Balaclava (The Charge of the Light Brigade, 1854, Crimean War), and in the Leyte Gulf (1944, Pacific theatre, WWII).

(Old Masters)



Post a Comment

<< Home