This is perhaps why so many of his works remain fascinatingly incomplete --even an apparently finished piece such as the monitory Monstrance
for a Grey Horse (Fig.
As for monstrances
, until mid-fourteenth century their existence is well identified in richer parishes, while their acquisition from this period on, already in a full Counter-Reformation spirit, imposed a model that would persist until the late seventeenth century.
For example, when Heinrich Tocke, a University trained theologian and member of the Council of Basel, attacked the bleeding hosts of Wilsnack in the 1440s, he first raised questions about the visual evidence in the monstrance
but moved quickly to the deeper theological issues.
Then to "Angels in the Life of the Community: Messengers", who are depicted as sometimes interceding on our behalf, and to" Angels and the Liturgy," where again there are monstrances
and chalices from the Pontifical Sacristy and a nineteenth- century pyx of silver, partly gilded with enamel and gold, processional crosses of exquisitely fine workmanship and then on to Christ the Judge, portrayed by the Last Judgement, a solemn collection and a pertinent reminder of our mortality.
More than in the resulting cultural object, I am interested here in the action that takes place, an action that includes the Other among one's most treasured possessions, within the greatest epic poem, in the sacred Host's monstrance
, in the triumphal procession, an action that brings the horse into Troy.
He describes their content vividly: 'Obscene polyps, in mitre, coronet, or mantilla, hack at statues, prance on tight-ropes, ride on a charger which turns into pig or Pegasus, pray to financial monstrances
, are tossed by bulls.' But he claims that the 'nightmare atmosphere' of the series is the sign of 'a talented artist struggling to cope with a problem entirely outside his powers'; that Picasso's work 'cannot reach more than the limited coterie of aesthetes, who have given their life so wholly to the cult of art that they have forgotten about everything else', while 'those who are occupied with more serious things will not have time or energy to work out all its implications'.
DeMille had rebuilt a lost world for his Ben Hur: locating forgotten thuribles, monstrances
, Baroque tabernacles ..."
From here it was a short step to monstrances
and eucharistic processions, which sometimes even turned into brawls when rival groups from different churches ran into one another.
There treasures, such as silver chalices, gold monstrances
and patens, and silk chasubles, are displayed in glass-doored cabinets usually surrounding a heavy oak table illumined by tall windows.
In Newark, New Jersey in April, a Pennsylvania man pled guilty to smuggling three monstrances
, one of them containing bone fragments of Saint Maxellendis, a seventh-century Frank noblewoman.
Last January when the Vatican proclaimed 2005 the "year of the Eucharist," diocesan papers ran the story of the "special blessed monstrances
," which the pope would bless, then send out around the world, to travel from parish to parish where the Eucharist would be exposed to be adored by the faithful.
Every gallery presents equally arresting works: There are elaborately embroidered copes, miters and even papal slippers; stunning chalices, monstrances
and reliquaries worked from precious metals; and beautiful often ancient, mosaics and fresco fragments Awe and wonder are inspired at every turn.
31 after pleading no contest to charges of burglary and theft related to taking monstrances
, ciboria, candelabras, altar candlesticks, a missal stand, an antique incense burner and several large candles from two Clark County churches.
With such arc-lamp brightness, one would be inclined to look for spores of jealousy from sister parishes: Years before, many parish devotional processions ended up in riots when two monstrances
and cultures collided.
Benediction, where the consecrated host was displayed in silver or gold monstrances
and adored by worshipers on their knees, became virtually obsolete.