Item No: mca2100400
Title: Le chemin de paradis (The way to paradise)
French and Latin
Rare Book Department
This manuscript has been dated to ca. 1460-1470.
Le Chemin de Paradis purports to be an explanation of the allegorical subject matter of two tapestries depicting a procession of the Church Militant that were commissioned by Jean Germain (ca. 1400-1461), bishop of Chalon-sur-Saône and counselor to Philip III of Burgundy, for his church. Also known as "Les deux pans de la tapisserie chrétienne" (The two panels of the Christian tapestry), the tapestry as well as Germain's text were intended for the instruction of clerics in preaching the faith. The allegory describes how Scripture and the interpretation of the Divine Word form the vehicle by which the Church is made triumphant. Five leaves of parchment inserted throughout the manuscript according to the different sections illustrate the text. The procession begins, as illustrated in this scene, with the chariot. As Germain explains, the chariot is Holy Scripture, which is carried by the four wheels of exegesis: history, allegory, tropology and anagogy. Each wheel is turned by one of the four Church Fathers: Jerome turns the wheel of history; Ambrose turns allegory, Gregory the Great turns tropology, and lastly, Augustine turns anagogy. In the chariot, the crucified Christ is surrounded by the three "estates" or orders of medieval society: those who work, identified here in French as as the "peuples" or people; those who fight, the "noblesses" or nobility; and those who pray, the "clergie" or clergy. Christ's blood flows down from his body and becomes a thin red line that simultaneously symbolizes his sacrifice and unifies the remaining illustrations in thematic and visual terms.
The Church Militant
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Lewis E 210
Jean Germain - Author