[ by Charles Cameron — whatever you may think of religion, the artwork in these images is stunning ]
There’s this phrase in the Apostles Creed, the shortest and most basic of the three creeds which mainstream Christians accept: the communion of saints. The hymn known as the Te Deum is more explicit, while describing basically the same companionship:
The glorious company of the Apostles : praise thee.
The goodly fellowship of the Prophets : praise thee.
The noble army of Martyrs : praise thee.
The holy Church throughout all the world : doth acknowledge thee;
But this image of that company, from Louis de Laval‘s illuminated Book of Hours, ca 1480, is the first I’ve seen that suggests the membership of this communion is innumerable —
— wave on wave, saint upon saint, halo on halo into the distance — until they constitute a veritable sea of gold.
Nor that the company includes many females, also innumerable–
— some of whom must have caused a ferment in their own day, or at least in the creative imagination of a court artist, likely Jean Colombe, in the 1480s..
Nor had I seen until now that there were vacancies for saints as yet unknown, perhaps unborn, their halos vacant —
— unless perchance these are saints so deeply meditative that they have lost all face, as the Zennists might say, save the original face alone..