ANNE WANNER'S Textiles in History   /  book reviews, articles

  Himmel und H÷lle in Gold und Seide
Der "Goldene Ornat des Aymon de Montfalcon aus der Kathedrale von Lausanne"

Annemarie Stauffer, Photos Stefan Rebsamen
in: Glanzlichter aus dem Bernischen Historischen Museum 6

Bern, 2001

64 pages, 55 illustrations,
ISBN:3-9521573-8-4 (BHM)
ISBN: 3-0340-0515-6 (Chronos Verlag)

Bernisches Historisches Museum
Helvetiaplatz 5
CH-3000 Bern 6

see also the exhibition:
Orphreys and brocades, Lausanne History Museum,
12 October until 24 January 2002

  In 1536, with the conquest of the Swiss canton Vaud and with reformation religious objects, reliquaries, textiles of the cathedral of Lausanne went over to Berne. The objects were partly sold or melted down. The golden vestment was at first preserved in the city hall of Berne, in 1795 in the cathedral of Berne and since 1894 in the Bernese Historic Museum.
  The coat of arms embroidered on the golden vestment refer to Bishop Aymon de Montfalcon (1491-1517) as a donor. He was a member of an old aristocratic family. And as a council of the Savoy Court he participated at the wedding of Philibert II of Savoy with Margaret of Austria in Brussles in 1501.

As bishop of Lausanne he established the chapel of St. Mauritius and here he was buried in 1517. The figurative program of this chapel shows close coherence with the program of the golden vestment. The virigin Mary has a central position and this is connected with Mary's patronage over the cathedral of Lausanne. The cathedral was a place of pilgrimage for parents of children who died without being baptised.

embroidery around 1470
representation of the sacrifice of death
see also: iconoclasm

  Embroideries for ornamentation of vestments originated in the middle of 15th c. and they were executed by men embroiderers in professional embroidery worhshops. Pattern and also direct drawings on fabric were supplied by painters. They still can be found below the embroideries. According to the figurative program several pattern could also be combined.

Drawings of Rogier van der Weydens workshop and embroideries made after them habe been preserved.

pattern for sacrifice of death:
workshop Rogier van der Weyden,
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

  Representations of the virgins life were very popular in the 16th c. and widely spread by graphic reproductions. The embroideries of the golden vestment seem to be inspired by several sources, especially of works by Gerard David or Barend van Orley. The Presentation of the Virgin has similarities with an Altarpiece of van Orley from 1520, H˘pital St.Pierre, Brussles.

The espescially big heads of Joachim and Anna point to a second and different pattern which must have been in use at the same time.
Influence of a series with the virgins life from 1510 by Cornelisz van Oostzanen can be found.

Presentation of the Virgin
front of the Cope

visitation of the Virgin and Elizabeth
frontside of the first Dalmatic


wedding at Cana
backside of first Dalmatic

  The embroidered wedding of Cana, especially the figure of the servant in the front, can be compared to a painting by Gerard David of 1503 with the same subject and with the art of Brussles as well.
The author of the book, Annemarie Stauffer, dates the golden fabric around 1513 and the embroideries in the last years of Aymon's life. The bishop must have ordered the vestment in a workshop of Brussles between 1513-1517.

home   content Last revised October 12, 2001

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