Ecclesiastical embroidery art
Despite some differences between various branches of the Christian religion, it should be noted that the embroidery still occupies a leading position in the decoration of both Orthodox and Catholic churches. Ecclesiastical embroidery art appeared in ancient times, but preserved only embroidery for church purposes from the tenth century. The embroidery of the beginning of the tenth century is stored in The Treasury Museum of Durham Cathedral, and fragments of the altar of the same century in the National Museum in Ravenna.
Beautifully embroidered items appeared in the early eleventh century. Among them – the paintings, embroidered with pure gold, stored in the cathedral of Bamberg; coronation mantle of Hungary, and other samples. Embroidery shows both costly materials and skills in their performance, and also the deep meaning of the embroidered paintings.
Until the thirteenth century gold thread used in embroidery for church purposes. To some extent the gold embroidery was replaced by fabric with gold thread. Therefore, the fabric was very reminiscent of embroidery, woven of gold, and it could easily be mistaken for such.
Church embroidery reached its highest development in the thirteenth, fourteenth, and the first half of the fifteenth century. During this period in the embroidery used gold, silver and silk threads, sequins, enamel, pearls, gemstones, diamond grit and corals. Bright pictorial embroidery was deeply religious in nature, adorned liturgical clothes, blankets and tapestries.
In the eleventh and twelfth centuries, Sicily became famous for its ecclesiastical embroidery. In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries became famous masters of England. Richly embroidered vestments from England get to other parts of Western Europe. A large number of excellent church crafts, magnificent examples of which still exist, were also produced in Germany, France and Italy.
In the fifteenth century the best ecclesiastical embroidery was made in Flanders. Gold thread embroidery combined with colored silks. The best examples of this vestments – the Order of the Golden Fleece, preserved in the Hofburg in Vienna.
In the Middle Ages embroidery began to change – it became more vivid, often quite inappropriate for the church embroidery. Has been constantly growing tendency to focus on shiny effects and majestic splendor. At the same time, the graphic embroidery fewer and fewer were in use, due to the influence of secular embroidery. Crafts for church vestments were more limited by purely decorative designs, taken mainly from the plant world, as well as some symbolic designs.
Church embroidery art flourished in the various provinces of the Byzantine Empire. Expensive handicrafts produced in the Greek church, still embroidery continued to come from Western Europe. Byzantine needlework had no effect on the Western church embroidery. One of the best examples of art crafts of the Byzantine Empire of the Middle Ages is in the treasury of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Although it was mistakenly attributed to the eleventh century, in fact, it is the work of masters of the Greek church of the second half of the fourteenth century.
Art of church embroidery differs from secular embroidery. However, the basic stitches and artistic methods were similar. Good taste, sense of color, skill, hard and painstaking work were also the same.