Christ on the Cross with Saints Vincent Ferrer, John the Baptist, Mark and Antoninus,
Painted by the Master of the Fiesole Epiphany (active circa 1450-1500),
Painted circa 1491/1495
Tempera and oil on panel
© Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Christ on the Cross with Saints Vincent Ferrer, John the Baptist, Mark and Antoninus,
Painted by the Master of the Fiesole Epiphany (active circa 1450-1500),
Painted circa 1491/1495
Tempera and oil on panel
© Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

Gospel of 23 May 2024

Our Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest

Mark 14:22-25

As they were eating Jesus took some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to them. ‘Take it,’ he said ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he said to them, ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.’

Reflection on the painting

This late 15th-century Italian Renaissance painting served originally as an altarpiece in the Dominican church of San Marco in Florence.  It was commissioned by the wealthy silk weavers’ guild for their altar. We see a richness of different silks, velvets and embroidered textiles rendered in our painting. At first glance, the painting appears to be a crucifixion scene, but it is not. Jesus, depicted as King, is free standing in front of a crucifix. In fact he is floating. His right foot, dripping with the blood of his wounds,is directly above a chalice. He is portrayed as the Eternal High Priest, the feast we celebrate today.

The Feast of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest is observed on the first Thursday following Pentecost. This solemn occasion directs our attention to Jesus' Priestly Office, serving as a model for all believers, especially the clergy. Priests are called to represent Christ in their ministry, acting in persona Christi, or "in the person of Christ." Today, we are reminded to lift up prayers for our priests, asking that they may increasingly reflect the likeness of Christ in their lives and service.

Christ in our painting is surrounded by four saints: Vincent Ferrer, John the Baptist, Mark, and Antoninus. Each saint is typically identified by specific attributes or symbols associated with them. Vincent Ferrer is shown wearing Dominican robes and holding a book, representing his role as a preacher and missionary. John the Baptist is depicted on the left wearing camel hair clothing and holding a reed cross. Mark is at the bottom right, portrayed holding a quill pen and his Gospel book; he is flanked by a lion, symbolising his Gospel's focus on Christ's royal dignity and authority. Antoninus, a Dominican friar and saints depicted in traditional robes Dominican robes.

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Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago

Gorgeous painting, so emphatic in its colours and characters, from the seraphim with their bright scarlet wings to the darkly magnificent figure of Jesus. I love this era of painting, from quite young it has fascinated me, with its stately poses, and celebratory colours.
Today further struggles with DVLA, my husband quite distressed. But I did find a marvellous rich blue Dartington glass vase in a charity shop, for a song. Blue always cheers me up, so I’m afraid I indulged. And the first rose has emerged on rosa Gabriel Oak, fantastic deepest pink, and highly fragrant. Thank you, Lord for such beauty. And I pray that all town planners and councillors will see the need for lots of plants, all over the place!!

Last edited 29 days ago by Noelle Clemens
Patricia O'Brien
Member
Patricia O'Brien
29 days ago
Reply to  Noelle Clemens

Gabriel Oak – he was one of my literary crushes as a teenager 🤣 Fancy him having a rose…

Noelle Clemens
Member
Noelle Clemens
29 days ago

Yes, Patricia, a most attractive character. I’m hoping the rose will be as dependable!

spaceforgrace
Member
spaceforgrace
29 days ago

I love the use of black here- what a contrast to yesterday’s dull browns and greys- here we have a very princely Jesus in a wonderful outfit- what a change from the usual garb he is shown in! I love this Jesus, all dressed up to party, and the composition with the saints and angels all beautifully painted in the most gorgeous colours.
I also love the way our priests still ‘dress up’ for mass, the colours varying with the liturgical calendar. Our PP often expalins the vestment colours at mass, and I appreciate the timeless nature of it.

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