Lithuania, late 18th – early 19th c.
Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Paberžė.
18th c. Rococo colours and ideas of Classicism
The spirit of Rococo is particularly well reflected in eighteenth-century patterned silk fabrics from the weaving mills of France, above all Lyon, whose ornaments and colours were adopted by acupictors. The distinctive features of this style are light pastel colours, swirling flower garlands and diagonally meandering “rivers”. In the third quarter of the 18th century, the taste in decorative arts inclined towards classics with a predilection for clear architectural lines and a renewed interest in motifs of classical antiquity.
The cope is a sumptuous outer liturgical vestment. It is worn during processions and various liturgical services, with the exception of the Holy Mass. In the beginning, it performed the function of protection from cold in chilly monasteries, and was made from black woollen cloth. The cope has retained a relic of the former mantle protecting from bad weather, the hood, which has become a decorative element.
Embroidery with silk threads
The cope shield with classical-style embroidery shows the influence of painting compositions and themes of the given period. It is embroidered in silk with straight stitch imitating weaving.
Other biblical scenes and floral ornaments
In the cope shield, Christian themes are intertwined with ideas of classical antiquity: an embroidered classical column, an altar, garlands of laurel leaves and a woman reminiscent of the Greek goddess Athena. It is the Wisdom of the Book of Proverbs inviting the naïve to step on the path of understanding. An angel is holding a fragment of a biblical quote explaining what is happening.