Father Raffaele Migliorini, Scale-patterned Antependium

Padre Raffaele Migliorini, Scale-patterned antependium

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Author/ School/ Dating:

Father Raffaele Migliorini (Genova, 1799-1889)

Technique and Dimensions:

Painted, glued to paper and trasferred on canvas straw, 95 x 170 cm

Object Type:

Liturgical ornament


The centre of the antependium is dominated by the Franciscan coat of arms, standing out within a vibrant sunburst. The cross is surrounded by the motto of St. Paul: “ABSIT GLORIARI NISI IN CRUCE” (= “Never glory save in the cross”), from the epistle to the Galatians. The frame is trimmed with blue listels and embellished with a garland of alternating yellow and purple flowers.

The entire covering is in straw, and the particular way in which it is arranged on the surface (scales, herringbone, mosaic) produces extraordinary effects of light and colour, created by the direction of the fibres which reflect the light in countless different ways.

Its style, so geometrically severe, is austere yet elegant and graceful, and reveals a rationalistic predilection for details.

The piece's simple sobriety echoes the ideal of poverty in Capuchin life.

The work is signed by the artist to the reverse, on the upper part of the frame: “P.F. Raffaele da Genova 1879”.
Work restored in 2000 by the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence.