Patron saints of mice, cats and thunderstorms

:: in July 21, 2022 :: in Blog :: 0 comments

Depictions of Saints and their patronages is an infinite source of all kinds of curiosities. An art historian working on medieval religious art has to study carefully mysterious attributes and surprising storylines of the Saints’ lives. And as I currently work on the Polish version of the ICONCLASS database, I…

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Beating St Nicholas

:: in December 25, 2021 :: in Blog :: 0 comments

This December – more than ever before – many families discuss financial issues. Christmas is an expensive event, after all, but pandemics brought a global crisis and a huge inflation. So, we all worry about the money. As it happens, St. Nicholas – a figure that evolved into Santa Claus…

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Frustration of St Joseph

:: in December 18, 2020 :: in Blog :: 0 comments

Book of Hours of Catherine de Clèves (van Kleef) is the most richly decorated 15th c. Netherlandish book of prayers. It was created in Utrecht after 1434 and is in The Morgan Library & Museum (MS M.917/945). I have previously written about its miniatures decorating Monday prayers for the Purgatory…

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St Benedict growing tree in his belly

:: in November 16, 2020 :: in Blog :: 0 comments

In Central Europe, churches’ furniture dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries may often be a source of very interesting curiosities. For example, let’s take a look at pulpits: they sometimes had extremely weird shapes, as well as complex theological meaning. Some time ago I wrote about whale-shaped pulpits…

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Transsexualism?

:: in August 10, 2020 :: in Blog :: 2 comments

One of the most surprising ancient sculptures in the collection of Louvre in Paris is probably Sleeping Hermaphroditus – it is a Roman marble statue, and a copy after lost bronze Hellenistic Greek sculpture (dating back to mid-second century B.C., mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his “Natural History”). It…

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