Triumph of Death over the Clergy thumbnail 1
Triumph of Death over the Clergy thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Sacred Silver & Stained Glass, Room 83, The Whiteley Galleries

Triumph of Death over the Clergy

Panel
ca. 1520-1530 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Much of medieval art has a moralising message. This particularly applies to art after the social and economic devastation resulting from the plagues of the 14th century. This panel shows the Triumph of Death. The subject was intended to remind viewers that it was foolish to rely on the transitory things of human life.

This panel singles out the clergy of the church. Death at the top, represented by the skull and crossbones, overlooks the falling emblems of the clerics: a papal tiara, a bishop’s mitre and a cardinal’s hat. Alongside these symbols are a processional cross, a staff, a crosier and a liturgical text.

We believe that the panel comes from the church of St Herbland in Rouen, Normandy. The French Revolutionary authorities closed this church in 1791. It was pulled down in 1824.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details and silver (yellow) stain
Brief Description
Panel of clear, coloured and flashed glass with painted details and yellow (silver) stain. Depicting The Triumph of Death over the Clergy. Made in France (Rouen), c.1520-30.
Physical Description
Panel. Oval tracery-light with cusped head and pointed base. The Triumph of Death over the Church. Skull and cross-bones with, below, emblems of the church falling upside-down.
Dimensions
  • Unframed height: 1222mm
  • Unframed width: 690mm
  • Framed height: 1266mm
  • Framed width: 731mm
  • Framed depth: 32mm
  • Framed weight: 10.0kg
Object history
Said to have come from Rouen Cathedral. Probably from the church of Saint-Herbland in Rouen.
Historical context
Much of medieval art, especially after the devastation wrought by the succession of plagues in the second half of the 14th century, has a moralising message. This panel shows the Triumph of Death and was intended to remind the viewer of the folly of placing too much emphasis on the transitory things of human life.



The Clergy are singled out in this panel. We see Death, represented by the skull and crossbones at the top, overlooking the falling emblems of the clerics of the church. There is a papal tiara, a bishop’s mitre and a cardinal’s hat. Alongside these are a processional cross, a staff, a crozier and a liturgical text.



The panel was probably originally located in the Church of Saint Herbland in Rouen, Normandy. The Revolutionary authorities closed the church in 1791. The church was pulled down in 1824.
Subjects depicted
Summary
Much of medieval art has a moralising message. This particularly applies to art after the social and economic devastation resulting from the plagues of the 14th century. This panel shows the Triumph of Death. The subject was intended to remind viewers that it was foolish to rely on the transitory things of human life.



This panel singles out the clergy of the church. Death at the top, represented by the skull and crossbones, overlooks the falling emblems of the clerics: a papal tiara, a bishop’s mitre and a cardinal’s hat. Alongside these symbols are a processional cross, a staff, a crosier and a liturgical text.



We believe that the panel comes from the church of St Herbland in Rouen, Normandy. The French Revolutionary authorities closed this church in 1791. It was pulled down in 1824.
Bibliographic Reference
Williamson, Paul. Medieval and Renaissance Stained Glass in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London, 2003. ISBN 1851774041
Collection
Accession Number
C.75-1953

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record createdJuly 28, 1998
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