Sunday, January 13, 2019

04 Works, RELIGIOUS ART - Today, January 13, is St. Hilary of Poitiers' Day, With Footnotes - 13

Workshop of Jeanne and Richard de Montbaston
The ordination of Saint Hilary of Poitiers, c. 14th century

Hilary of Poitiers, (300AD – 367AD) was primarily of the Western church but was very much in the framework of thought of the Alexandrian School.  Because he was so aligned to the Eastern school and did little to develop the theology of the West both sides were suspicious of him.  He was stuck between the two as his Latin tongue was not favoured in the East and his affiliation with the East was not favoured in the West.

Waiting for the Savior
Miniature of an eleventh century Frescoed icon

He had very little resources or company to refine his thinking.  Yet, he endeavoured to approach the task of exploring the truth in a highly disciplined way that is so characteristic of the Eastern church.  He tried to reach the uneducated mind making some of his explanations appear as though they were insulting the intelligence of the reader.  As a result, his explanations might appear long winded and convoluted.  These criticisms are by those who were perhaps questioning his allegiances.

St. Hilary of Poitiers Revives the Dead Infant, 12th century 
Manuscript illumination from Codex Bodmer
Fondation Martin Bodmer, Geneva

The Golden Legend's account of this miracle has Hilary lying down in the dust and praying beside the dead body until the two of them rise together. But in this manuscript he simply recalls the child to life at the urging of its mother. More on this work

When Athanasius of Alexandria was condemned at the Council of Milan and was sent into exile, Hilary was one of those who refused to sanction the Emperor’s decision.  He played  a part in gathering support to have this decision overturned and gave a strong letter of protest to the Emperor. This resulted in him being sent into exile in 356AD.  During this time, he wrote his work On the Trinity.  Hilary tried to bring unity between the East and the West by making a clear distinction of  the Persons and the meaning of the relationship between the Father and the Son.  He never fully succeeded in bringing about an orthodox church and state. More on Hilary of Poitiers

Richard Montbaston was a copyist in Paris in the late 14th century. From his studio, in particular, he released the Roman de la rose , illuminated by his wife, Jeanne.

Having taken the oath of the booksellers in 1338, Richard de Montbaston is mentioned as "bookseller" in the colophon of the Life of the saints . On the other hand, his wife, Jeanne, took the oath of the booksellers in 1353 as illuminatrix and libraria , which gave rise to speculations that if Richard had the title of copyist and was the owner of the workshop, he would be impossible to assign the illuminations of manuscripts to his wife, Jeanne, although his work is documented in any surviving manuscript. More on Richard Montbaston

St. Hilary of Poitiers

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