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Article

Virginia Davis

[Order of the Holy Saviour]

Religious order named after its foundress, St Bridget of Sweden (c. 1303–73; can 1391), a devout woman with Swedish court connections. In 1346 she founded Vadstena Abbey in Sweden, which she intended to be an influential spiritual centre reflecting the original group of the faithful with the Virgin at its head. Vadstena became the model for other Brigittine houses. Bridget went to Rome in 1349 to seek approval for her Order, dying there after returning from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Her body was returned to Vadstena in 1374.

The Brigittine Rule, the Regula Sancti Salvatoris, supposedly was revealed to Bridget by Christ. With the Augustinian Rule (see Augustinian Canons §1), it formed the constitution of the Order, which was finally recognized by Pope Urban VI (reg 1378–89) in a bull of 1378. The Order flourished mainly in northern Europe in the later Middle Ages. Intended primarily for women, it had double houses with separate but adjacent convents for men and women, sharing a church. Monks were superior in spiritual matters, the abbess in all else. Monasteries were large by contemporary standards, the rule stipulating that they should have 85 members. Convents were consecrated at Vadstena in ...

Article

Fibula  

Niamh Whitfield

[Lat.: ‘brooch’]

Metal dress-pin that not only was used as a clothes’ fastener, but also acted as a sign of an individual’s allegiance, wealth, and status (see fig.). Brooches are common finds in pre-Christian graves of the Germanic peoples and Vikings, enabling inferences to be drawn about their uses, the garments to which they were attached, and migration patterns. For the later Middle Ages, comparable information can be gleaned not only from the objects but also figural representations, wills, and inventories.

Many brooches from the early Middle Ages descend from Roman fibulae of different types. These include the penannular brooches from Ireland and Britain, fastened by a pin slotted through a gap in a ring; disc-brooches, fastened by a pin on the back, and worn especially by Germanic women; and the various elongated Germanic bow brooches, which seem to be adaptations of the cross-bow fibulae worn by Roman officials in Late Antiquity (...

Article

Amy Widmayer

[Galliano-Guillen, Juan Carlos Antonio]

(b Gibraltar, Nov 28, 1960).

British fashion designer, active also in France. Half renegade, half romantic, as a designer for Christian Dior, Galliano deftly captured Dior’s essence, creating excessively elegant garments for the modern, youthful woman unafraid of breaking fashion rules (see fig.). Known for his extravagant catwalk shows, over-the-top couture collections and knack for blending street- and high fashion, Galliano’s outrageous adaptations of iconic Dior silhouettes, master tailoring skills and penchant for theatrics, combined with a keen business sense, have earned him the distinction of being one of the most influential designers of his generation.

Born into a family of modest means in Gibraltar and raised in gritty south London, Galliano was educated at the prestigious Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design, where he graduated with a first class honours degree in 1984. His final collection at Central Saint Martin’s, entitled ‘Les Incroyables’, was an irreverent nod to the tattered clothing of the French Revolutionaries, and showcased not only his flawless technical skill, but his astute attention to detail and his passion for historical research....

Article

Lourdes Font

(b Yverdon-les-Bains, May 6, 1898; d Lausanne, Feb 22, 1953).

French fashion designer of Swiss birth. Piguet presided over one of the leading couture houses in Paris in the 1930s and 1940s, although he is best remembered for hiring Christian Dior and launching his career in fashion. Piguet typically worked with at least one assistant who could translate his ideas into sketches (see fig.). He needed to collaborate with others in order to design, but he had highly original taste and he established a distinctive style that was by turns provocative and romantic.

Piguet was born to a family of Swiss bankers who reluctantly supported his choice of a career in fashion. At the age of 20, he opened his own couture house in Paris, but he was apparently not successful. By 1923, he was working for Paul Poiret and the following year he joined Redfern. In 1933 he opened his own house for the second time.

Throughout his career, Piguet’s designs were dominated by black (...

Article

Brian Spencer

Brian Spencer

Emblem, usually made of metal, on sale at pilgrimage sites to celebrate the saint or devotional object venerated there. The badges were usually worn in the hat, attached by pins or stitching rings that were cast in one piece with them. Their use flourished in the Middle Ages in Europe, particularly in the 14th and 15th centuries, but declined after the Reformation of the mid-16th century. In Catholic countries, however, the production of medallions for pilgrims continued at some shrines thereafter, in a few instances until the present day. Despite their fragility, several thousand medieval badges have been excavated or recovered from riverbeds across the whole of Europe since the early 19th century. These still represent only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of souvenirs that were sold at some shrines every year. In 1466, for example, 130,000 badges were sold in a fortnight at the Swiss monastery of ...

Article

Rosary  

Nigel J. Morgan

In the Roman Catholic Church, the devotion to the 15 Mysteries, the prayers of which are often counted on a string of beads, also referred to as a rosary. The name may derive from the fact that the beads are sometimes carved with roses. The form of the devotional prayers became standardized in the 15th century and is still used in the late 20th century. It consists of meditations on 15 episodes in the life of Christ and the Virgin, comprising three cycles, or chaplets: the Joyful Mysteries (the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation in the Temple and the Finding of the Christ Child in the Temple), the Sorrowful Mysteries (the Agony in the Garden, the Flagellation, the Crowning with Thorns, the Road to Calvary and the Crucifixion), and the Glorious Mysteries (the Resurrection, the Ascension, the Descent of the Holy Ghost, the Assumption of the Virgin and the Coronation of the Virgin). The devotion begins with the recitation of the Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, three Hail Marys and the ...

Article

In its most general sense, spolia (pl., from Lat. spolium: ‘plunder’) denotes all artifacts re-employed in secondary contexts, from building blocks reused in a wall to pagan gems mounted on a Christian reliquary. It is a matter of debate whether this broad application of the term is justified, or whether it should be restricted to the relatively small subset of reused objects that were taken or ‘stripped’ (like spoils) from their original context, rather than found, purchased, inherited or otherwise acquired by non-violent means. It is likewise debated when the use of spolia should be considered meaningful, if at all. Arnold Esch defined five possible motives for using spolia: convenience, profanation, Christianization, political legitimation and aesthetic attraction. Michael Greenhalgh has argued for reducing the motives to three (at least with regard to marble): pragmatism, aesthetics and ideology; while Finbarr Barry Flood cautioned against reductive interpretations generated by any taxonomy, insisting that reused objects are mutable in meaning and capable of multiple interpretations during their life cycle....

Article

Nigel J. Morgan and Pauline Johnstone

Garments and items used by the clergy.

Nigel J. Morgan

The form of ecclesiastical vestments in the Early Christian period and during the Middle Ages is known largely from works of art rather than extant objects. Textiles are susceptible to decay with time, and although a number of vestments survive from the 14th and 15th centuries, few survive from the earlier centuries, when vestment forms were developing. Visual information is provided by mosaics, wall, panel and manuscript paintings, ivories, illuminated manuscripts and above all from tomb sculpture and sepulchral brasses.

Such evidence is abundant from the 6th century, but from the earliest years of the development of vesture for the rituals of the church it is largely lacking. It can generally be concluded, however, that most Christian vestments were derived from late Roman secular dress. It is unlikely that the ritual garments of the Jewish levitical priesthood had much influence on this early development, although this cannot be completely excluded. In the Middle Ages, when it was of importance to explain the symbolic function of vestments, writers frequently linked the Christian vestments with those described in the Old Testament for Aaron and the priests of the Old Law. Such medieval interpretations have clouded the issue as to whether any aspect of Christian vesture did originate in Jewish forms....