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St Cornelius

  • Object:

    Panel

  • Place of origin:

    Lower Rhine (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1520-1521 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Master of St Severin (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Mr E. E. Cook

  • Museum number:

    C.325-1928

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 50b, The Paul and Jill Ruddock Gallery, case WN

This panel is one of many in the V&A that comes from the cloisters at Mariawald. These panels come from ten windows on the west and north sides of the cloister, plus one from the north end of the eastern part. The glazing of these cloisters began about 1510 and seem to have been completed in the 1530s.

Mariawald was a Cistercian abbey founded in 1480. The Cistercians were a monastic order established in 1098 in Burgundy at Citeaux. The founder of the Cistercians had broken away from the Benedictines which had been the first monastic order to be established in Europe, in the 6th century.

During the Revolutionary struggles in France and the subsequent religious upheavals under Napoleon, many monastic institutions on the continent were ‘secularised’ and their buildings destroyed. The abbey of Mariawald was closed down in 1802 but fortunately its buildings, including the cloisters, remain largely intact. However, the stained glass windows had been removed and it is believed that they were purchased by John Christopher Hampp of Norwich. Hampp sold the Mariawald panels to various churches and to private collectors. Many of these were purchased by the collector, Lord Brownlow who had them installed in his new chapel at Ashridge Park in Hertfordshire between 1811 and 1831.

In 1928 the contents of Ashridge Park were sold at auction and a private collector purchased the stained glass and gave it to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

W are able to reconstruct how the panels were placed in the cloister windows. Each window was composed of two openings (‘lights’). Each light was composed of three large panels, plus one small tracery panel. So there would have been eight panels to each window.

From the surviving stained glass panels we can determine the theme of the cloister glazing. Each window had two panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament and two panels with scenes from the New Testament. Above the biblical story panels, were two smaller prophet (or ‘messenger’) panels. These contained half-images of Old Testament prophets holding scrolls with text relating to biblical passages connected with the scenes below. At the base of each window were donor and patron saint panels. These donors were the ones who contributed to the financing of the cloister glazing.

This type of narrative arrangement is known as ‘typological’. Each Old Testament story was a ‘type’ or a prefigurement of a New Testament story (‘antitype’). The prophets on each window would hold text from the Bible relating to the Old and New Testament stories. For example, the Old Testament story of the ‘Sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham’ was seen as a prefigurement of the New Testament story of ‘Jesus Christ’s Sacrifice on the Cross’.

The figure in this panel is Pope Cornelius (reigned 251-253), the patron saint of the donor in the accompanying panel (Museum no. C.323-1928). We can identify him by his three tiered headdress, the papal crown, his three-barred papal cross, the top of which has been cut off, and by the horn (‘cornu’ in Latin) that he holds in his left hand. We cannot be certain that these two panels came from the sixth window in the cloisters at Mariawald.

The typological arrangement was popular in the Middle Ages. The stories were reproduced in manuscripts and in engravings from woodcuts and collectively became known as ‘Biblia Pauperum’ (‘Bibles of the Poor’). At the end of the 15th century the Biblia Pauperum were printed in book form and sold in their thousands. These books were used as design sources for artworks including stained glass panels.

Physical description

St Cornelius is seated in the centre of the panel. He wears a white and gold damasked undergown over which is a purple mantle trimmed in yellow. Cornelius wears the three-tiered papal crown and holds a long papal cross, the top cross bar of which is no longer visible. There is a book on his lap and in his right hand a horn.. The whole is set within an elaborate Renaissance architectural structure. In the background is a simple landscape with a wooden church and a stone fortified town, all painted in brown and silver stain on light blue glass.

Place of Origin

Lower Rhine (made)

Date

ca. 1520-1521 (made)

Artist/maker

Master of St Severin (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain

Dimensions

Height: 70.4 cm in display frame, Width: 67.7 cm in display frame, Weight: 9.3 kg in metal frame with perspex backing, Height: 77 cm, Width: 70.5 cm, Depth: 3.2 cm in display frame, Height: 66.8 cm sight, Width: 64.0 cm sight

Object history note

Believed to be from the sixth window of the cloisters of Mariawald.

Historical context note

St. Cornelius was a 3rd century Pope.

Mariawald was a Cistercian abbey founded in 1480. The Cistercians were a monastic order established in 1098 in Burgundy at Citeaux. The founder of the Cistercians had broken away from the Benedictines which had been the first monastic order to be established in Europe, in the 6th century.

During the Revolutionary struggles in France and the subsequent religious upheavals under Napoleon, many monastic institutions on the continent were 'secularised' and their buildings destroyed. The abbey of Mariawald was closed down in 1802 but fortunately its buildings, including the cloisters, remain largely intact. However, the stained glass windows had been removed and it is believed that they were purchased by John Christopher Hampp of Norwich. Hampp sold the Mariawald panels to various churches and to private collectors. Many of these were purchased by the collector, Lord Brownlow who had them installed in his new chapel at Ashridge Park in Hertfordshire between 1811 and 1831.

In 1928 the contents of Ashridge Park were sold at auction and a private collector purchased the stained glass and gave it to the Victoria & Albert Museum.

This panel is one of many in the V&A that comes from the cloisters at Mariawald. These panels come from ten windows on the west and north sides of the cloister, plus one from the north end of the eastern part. The glazing of these cloisters began about 1510 and seem to have been completed in the 1530s.

As the cloisters were never dismantled we can reconstruct how the panels were placed in the architectural structure. The window openings in the cloisters were each composed of two openings ('lights'). Each light was composed of three large panels, plus one small tracery panel. So there would have been eight panels to each window.

From the surviving stained glass panels we can determine the theme of the cloister glazing. Each window had two panels depicting scenes from the Old Testament and two panels with scenes from the New Testament. Above the biblical story panels, were two smaller prophet (or 'messenger') panels. These contained half-images of Old Testament prophets holding scrolls with text relating to biblical passages connected with the scenes below. At the base of each window were donor and patron saint panels. These donors were the ones who contributed to the financing of the cloister glazing.

This type of narrative arrangement is known as 'typological'. Each Old Testament story was a 'type' or a prefigurement of a New Testament story ('antitype'). For example, the Old Testament story of 'Elisha greeted by the Sons of the Prophet' was a prefigurement of the New Testament 'Entry of Christ into Jerusalem' which occurred on what we now call 'Palm Sunday'.

The typological arrangement was popular in the Middle Ages. The stories were reproduced in manuscripts and in engravings from woodcuts and collectively became known as 'Biblia Pauperum' ('Bibles of the Poor'). At the end of the 15th century the Biblia Pauperum were printed in book form and sold in their thousands. These books were used as design sources for artworks including stained glass panels.

Descriptive line

Clear and coloured glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. Depicting St. Cornelius. From the cloister of the Abbey of Mariawald, German (Lower Rhine), about 1520-1

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

Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
Jakob Polius, 'Analecta sive collectanea antiquitatem', Duren, Stadtarchiv, A30, Hs. 2
James Wyatt, Description of the Stained Glass Panels at Ashridge Chapel, privately printed, 1906
MR James, Notes of Glass in Ashridge Chapel, Grantham, 1906
Hermann Schmitz, Die Glasgemalde des Koniglichen Kunstgewerbemuseums in Berlin, Berlin, 1913
Bernard Rackham, 'The Ashridge stained glass', Old Furniture, vol.5 (1928), pp.33-7
C.Goerke, Das Zisterzienserkloster Mariawald, Mariawald bei Heimbach, 1932
Paul Clemen, Die Kunstdenkmaler der Rheinprovinz, Kreis Schleiden, XI, 2, Dusseldorf, 1932
E. Wackenroder, Die Kunstdenkmaker des Kreoses Schleiden, Dusseldorf, 1932
Bernard Rackham, 'The Mariawald-Ashridge Glass', Burlington Magazine, Nov. 1944, pp.266-273
Bernard Rackham, 'The Mariawald-Ashridge Glass II', Burlington Magazine, April 1945, pp.90-94
Bernard Rackham, 'The Ashridge Stained Glass', Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 3rd series, vol.X (1945-7), pp.1-22
Wilhelm Neuss, ed., Die Glasmalereien aus dem Steinfelder Kruezgang, Moenchengladbach, 1955
J. Kurthen, 'Die alten Kunstfenster'', in Mariawald: Geschichte eines Klosters, Heimback/Eifel, 1962, pp.244-64
M. Conrad, 'Zur Geschichte der alten Glasgemalde aus dem Kreuzgang von Kloster Mariawald', Heimatkalendar des Landkreises Schleiden, 1969, pp.95-102
William Cole, 'A Hitherto Unrecorded Panel of Stained Glass from the Abbey of Mariawald', Journal of the British Society of Master Glass Painters, XVII (1981-2). pp.21-4
Avril Henry, ed., Biblia Pauperum, Scolar Press, 1987
Brigitte Wolff-Wintrich, 'Kolner Glasmaleriel sammlungen des 19. Jahrhunderts', in Lust und Verlust Kolner Sammler zwischen Trikolore und Preussenadler, exhibition catalogue (Kunsthalle Koln), Koln, 1995, pp.341-54
H.Zakin, 'Mariawald: Cistercian Narrative', in Stained Glass as Monumental Painting, XIXth International Colloquium, CVMA, Krakow, 1998, Cracow, 2000, pp.273-80
Raguin and Zakin, Stained Glass before 1700, part 2, pp.127-9, 170-6
Foister, Susan, Art of Light: German Renaissance Stained Glass(London: National Gallery Company, 2007), 32 p., ill., ISBN 978 185709 348 3.

Production Note

The painting of the panel is attributed to the Master of St Severin. See the altarpiece of the Raising of Lazarus originally in Cologne and now in the Bowes Museum.

Materials

Glass

Techniques

Painting; Silver staining

Subjects depicted

Thrones; Reliefs; Popes; Tiara (papal); Halo; Patriarchal staffs; Books; Horn; Columns (architectural elements); Landscapes (representations); Vestments

Categories

Glass; Stained Glass; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Ceramics Collection

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