Thursday, 21 January 2016

The Saviour of the World and Our Lady of Sorrows

The pilgrim hospice (Fr. Hôtel-Dieu) in Issoudun which today houses a museum, preserves in its collection '6 small pictures of enamelled copper' in the former sacristy. They were listed in 1777 as part of the altar furniture, according to the inventory of the furniture and effects of the hospice of Issoudun taken at the time. They date from the late 16th century.

The two most beautiful plaques are monogrammed [LL] as the work of Léonard II Limosin (1550 - 1625). They are a complementary pair and must have been arranged as a diptych mounted on the retable or other liturgical objects.

Our Lady of Sorrows, enamelled copper, by Léonard II Limosin, late 16th century.
The haloed figures of Christ and the Virgin emerge mid-body from a blue and gold background. Christ holds in his left hand a globe surmounted by a cross, which he blesses with his right hand. He is the Salvator Mundi, triumphant saviour of the world. The Virgin inclines her head to the right, crossing her hands on her breast in a sign of her sorrow. This is the Mater Dolorosa, Our Lady of Sorrows. The two hands crossed on her breast are copied from the famous sculpture by Germain Pilon commissioned by Catherine de Medici in 1586. The impression of great pain and sorrow is reinforced by the expression on her face, the fine draughtsmanship and subtle application of colour giving a grace and feeling of profound contemplation.
A la cuisine hier: Five Bean Soup, with red lentils, blond lentils, giant Lima beans, black beans, chickpeas. The recipe it's based on is called Sixteen Bean Soup but I didn't have sixteen different sorts of beans in the pantry, and I used broccoli instead of kale because that's what I had on hand. 

We opened one of the Moretti beers we brought back from Milan for apéro. Maybe a mistake -- bottles bought on holiday in the sun don't have quite the same impact when they are drunk in the depths of winter at home.


  1. Lovely plaques.... how big were they?

    I think we can probably get to sixteen varieties of bean...
    a result of Pauline's addiction...
    always beware if she passes you a packet with a few beans in...
    she's a chronic "bean pusher"...
    there will be followers!!
    Nun's Belly Button,
    Soldier [Nun's BB upside-down],
    Yin-Yang [same as Orca],
    Cherrokee Trail of Tears,
    Black Canterbury,
    Huttite Soup....
    see, even I, who forgets peoples' names with abandon, have some of these fixed in my mind!!

    Moretti is blond, fizzy and mildly alcohlic....
    a bit like Jupiler!
    Save the rest until the Summer...
    or a hot Spring day....
    Hoegie is the same...
    not to be drunk in Winter unless you are desperate...
    best in an iced glass on a hot day...
    then it hits the mark.

    Winter is the time for beers to be cuddled and sipped in front of a blazing fire....
    Westvletteren 12,
    Rochefort 10,
    Kasteel Donker
    Chimay Bleu,
    Winter is the time for the "Drinking of the Dark!"
    Move to the darkside....
    for Winter.

    1. The plaques are about 20 cm x 12 cm I would guess from memory, maybe smaller.

      The Moretti beer was indeed exactly as you describe it.

  2. The Limoges enamels are famous and these two are some of the best. I especially like the way the Virgin was treated.

    1. I'm rather partial to Limoges enamels myself. The one of Mary above is very much of its time, very Mannerist, which leads to a slightly odd elongation of the body and limbs. In this case though it only heightens the effect of sorrow and piety.

  3. The colors of the plaques are quite remarkable. Such an intense blue.

    1. The intense blue, which was expensive, shows these were made for someone very wealthy.

  4. I teach English to slum families with the Sisters of Our Lady of Sorrows here in Dhaka, so I will show them these beautiful images. Thank you

    1. I am sure the Sisters will appreciate the beauty and the sentiment behind these images.