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Panel - King from a Tree of Jesse

King from a Tree of Jesse

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    France (made)
    Champagne-Ardenne (possibly, made)

  • Date:

    ca.120-45 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details

  • Museum number:

    6E-1881

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 9, The Dorothy and Michael Hintze Gallery, case WS

This panel depicting an Old Testament king, and nine others in the museum's collections (Mus.nos. 5-5E-1881 and 6-6C-1881), formed part of different 'Jesse Tree' windows. 'Jesse Tree' windows are a visual representation of Jesus Christ's genealogy which was traced back to Jesse, the father of the Old Testament Prophet/King David.

These prophets announce the coming of Christ from the line of David and appear on the Tree accompanying images of Christ's royal ancestors. The whole window would have culminated at the top with either an image of Jesus Christ or an image of the Christ Child with his mother, Mary. At the bottom of the window would have been an image of Jesse from whom the genealogical Tree emerges.

The king here cannot be identified as there are no surviving inscriptions naming him and there may not have been originally. Jesse Trees with their kings and prophets were produced in all forms of church art from the 11th century and throughout the medieval period. There was no standard convention for the depiction of the prophets and the kings. The head of the king had been replaced in the 19th century, presumably because the original was damaged. The 19th century restoration was very poor and has subsequently been recently replaced.

Physical description

Figure of a King with both arms extended sideways.

Place of Origin

France (made)
Champagne-Ardenne (possibly, made)

Date

ca.120-45 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details

Dimensions

Height: 68.3 cm, Width: 48.6 cm, Depth: 3.1 cm

Object history note

At the time of acquisition, it was believed that this panel came from the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. This chapel was restored in the 19th century and some of the medieval windows were removed.

Some time before 1936 it was thought that the original location of these panels was Troyes Cathedral, possibly in the axial chapel.

Historical context note

I. Jesse:
Father of David, grandson of Ruth and Boaz.
(Old Testament prophet) Isaiah (11:1-3) A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
Isaiah (?): Messiah would come from the House of David.
Named in Matthew (1: 5-6) and Luke (3: 22) as an ancestor of Jesus.
Gospel of St Matthew:
Jesse – David – Solomon – Rehoboam – Abijah – Asa – Jehosophat – Joram – Azariah – Jotham – Ahaz

II. Prophets
Major Prophets: Elijah (Elias, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel (Ezechiel), Daniel
Minor Prophets: Hosea (Osee), Joel, Amos, Obadiah (Abdias), Johah, Micah (Michea), Nahum, Habakkuk (Habacuc), Zephaniah (Sophonias), Haggai (Aggaeus), Zechariah (Zacharias), Malaachi.
Others considered as: Moses, David, Solomon

III. Visual Representation of Tree of Jesse:
Jesse Window
A window whose design is based on the descent of Jesus from the royal line of David, usually in the form of a tree springing from Jesse (David's father) and ending in Jesus or the Virgin and Child, with the intermediary descendents placed on scrolls of foliage branching out of each other.
Jesses appear from 11th century
(1086.) Vysehrad Codex in Prague University
(12thc.) STG window, St Denis -
Lady Chapel - restored in 1848, current window includes both 12th and 19th century glass
J jesse - king - king - king - Virgin - Christ
flanked by 4 prophets either side
(12thc.) STG window, Chartres
Branches are labelled with names of His ancestors.
(c.1196) Parma. Baptistery, West jamb of North doorway
Virgin, Jesse, six kings either side, David, Solomon, Roboam, Abia, Asa, Josaphat, Joram, Ozias, Joatham, Achaz, Ezekias, Manassss
They hold books or scrolls but how does Watson know who they
(end 12thc.) Hildesheim, St. Michael's Church, painting on ceiling
Restored in 19th century so how can be sure of names?
Isaiah, Habakkuk, Ezekiel, Michah, Hahum, Balalm, Jeremiah, Hosea, Obadiah, Haggai, Jonah, John the Baptist - ancestors of Christ according to Luke's geneology (42 out of 70)
(c.1185) Hortus Deliciarum
Conclusions:
If Suger did initiate the idea of representing the Tree of Jesse at Saint-Denis, he did not evolve the design out of nothing. It is reasonable to think the representation in a window was based on an earlier minature. Because a group of prophets appears in the Chartres window, it isn't a given that it came from the Limoges prophet drama. Jesses can have or can not have genealogical tables.

IV. Textual Sources:
Prophets' Plays:
Origins of?
(5th or 6thc.) Pseudo-Augustine, Sermo contra Judaeos, paganos et Arianos de Symbolo (Migne, P.L. XLII, 1117-30)
precursor to 'lectio' read at Matins at Christmas [so developed into a Christmas play?]
Prophets from lectio:
Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Moses, David, Habakkuk, Simeon, Zacharias, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Virgil, Nebuchadnezzar, the Erythraen Sibyl
(11thc.) Processus Prophetarum (Feast of Ass)
(12thc.) Prophet drama of St-Martial, Limoges (in Paris)
13 prophets
(12th-13thcs.) Ordo Representacionis Ade (in Tours)
probably written in England
11 prophets
(13thc.) Rouen
28 prophets: Moses, Amos Isaias, Aaron, Balaam and his ass, Zachary, Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Simeon, 3 Gentile prophets
(13thc.) Ordo Prophetarum (in Laon)
13 prophets
(13thc.) Christmas Play (in Munich)

V. Design Sources:
Biblia Pauperum:
Annunciation: Isaias, David, Ezechiel, Jeremias
Nativity: Daniel, Isaias, Habacuc, Micheas
Adoration: David, Isaias, Balaam
Presentation: David, Malachias, Zacharias, Sophonias
Flight Egypt: Isaias, David, Jeremias, Osee
Fall Idols: Osee, Nahum, Zacharias, Sophonias
Massacre: David, Proverbs, Jeremias, Osee
Return Egypt: David, Osee x2, Zacharias
Baptism: Isaias, David, Ezechiel, Zacharias

This panel depicting an Old Testament prophet and nine others in the museum's collection (Museum nos. 5-5E-1881 and 6-6C-1881) formed part of at least two different 'Jesse Tree' windows.
'Jesse Tree' windows are a visual representation of Jesus Christ's royal genealogy. Christ's ancesters were believe to trace their line back to Jesse, the father of the Old Testament Prophet King David.
These prophets announce the coming of Christ from the line of David and appear on the Tree accompanying images of Christ's royal ancestors. The whole window would have culminated at the top with either an image of Jesus Christ or an image of the Christ Child with his mother, Mary. At the bottom of the window there would have been an image of Jesse from whom the genealogical Tree emerges.

Two other panels in the museum (Mus.nos. 6D and 6E-1881) depict Kings from a 'Jesse' Tree' window but were not originally part of either of these series of prophets.

This panel depicting an Old Testament King, and ten others in the museum' collections (Mus.nos. 5-E-1881 and 6-C and E-1881), formed part of 'Jesse Tree' windows. 'Jesse Tree' windows are a visual representation of Jesus Christ's genealogy which was traced back to Jesse, the father of the Old Testament Prophet/King David. These prophets announce the coming of Christ from the line of David and appear on the Tree accompanying images of Christ's royal ancestors. The whole window would have an image of Jesus Christ and his mother, Mary, on the top. At the bottom of the window would have been an image of Jesse from whom the genealogical Tree emerges.

This panel and another of a king in the museum (Mus.no.6E-1881) depict Kings from a 'Jesse Tree' window but were not originally part of this series of prophets.

Descriptive line

Panel of clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details. Depicting an Old Testament King from a Tree of Jesse window. French, possibly Champagne, c.1210-45

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

V.C. Raguin, Stained Glass in Thirteenth-century Burgundy, Princeton, 1982
E.C. Paston, "And he shall gather together the dispersed: The Tree of Jesse at Troyes Cathedral", Gesta, vol.37, no.2 (1998), pp.232-9
E.C. Paston, "The Tree of Jesse at Troyes Cathedral", in Stained Glass as Monumental Painting (XIXthe International Cooloquium, CVMA, Krakow 1998), Cracow, 2000, pp.55-65
Madeline Caviness & Virginia Raguin, 'Another Dispersed Window from Soisssons: A Tree of Jesse in the Sainte-Chapelle Style'. Gesta, XX (1981), pp.191-198
Grodecki, Louis, Les Vitraux de Saint-Denis, I, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, 1976

Materials

Glass

Techniques

Painting

Subjects depicted

King; Tree of Jesse

Categories

Religion; Christianity; Stained Glass

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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