Bella Bessard. Texts by Bella Bessard, historical commentary edited by Sebastiana Papa
1982 / 216 PAGES
An immense and precious patrimony of faith, the relics have come down to us in glittering and bejewelled receptacles. The medievalist Bella Bessard narrates the art of those who modelled the sacred cases and the imaginative history of the saints to whom they belonged.
Useful intermediaries between man and God thanks to their thaumaturgical and salvific power, for centuries the great medieval reliquaries catalysed the worship of pious crowds, moved armies of pilgrims, restored sight to the blind and movement to paralytics, warded off plagues and procured victories in battle. To protect and honour this immense patrimony of Faith, to make it sparkle in the dark crypts of the churches, skilled and devout goldsmiths hammered and set in gems, polished and embossed, creating precious masterpieces for the greater glory of God and his holy hosts. Enclosed in the black silk crypt of this volume, the Sacred Cases scattered throughout many churches and museums are brought together in an ancient Treasury. It is presented in a study by Bella Bessard, who gives her expert commentary on each reliquary; a selection of writings on the history, uses, abuses, powers and mysteries of the relics - collected with devout patience by Sebastiana Papa - completes the volume.