Treasures of Heaven: The story of St Ursula

Treasures of Heaven: The story of St Ursula

This is a work of incredible naturalism and
astonishing beauty She’s one of the maidens that accompanied
St Ursula on pilgrimage St Ursula had eleven thousand virgin companions all of whom were slaughtered by the Huns according
to legend and a great cult of St Ursula and her virgin
masters emerges in the Middle Ages She’s made of painted oak between the years
of about 1500 – 1530 This one made probably in Brussels or South
Netherlandish and she represents an aristocratic figure this elaborate hairstyle which is braided
round the top of her head with festoons of drapery and hair around the
back she’s absolutely a perfectly beautifully observed
work of portraiture but in fact the secret that it conceals was
that it was also a reliquary so inside the head there’s a cavity which opens and that’s where the relic of the skull of
the Saint would have been kept A pendant hangs around her neck and behind a window on hear breast would have
been a second relic possibly part of the breast bone When you look at her face she’s communicating
with you very directly she’s making perhaps a sympathetic response
to a prayer and because after all the Saints were entreated to for their powers of intersession So the idea is that someone would have prayed
to the Saint and appealed for her help in adversity and the prayers of the Saint of course carrying much greater currency with God because the Saint’s have proved their virtue
through their martyrdom She has this very beatific smile almost playing on her lips of all the objects in the exhibition this is one you feel might open her mouth and speak to you, might even move

9 Replies to “Treasures of Heaven: The story of St Ursula”

  1. The curator is praising the object and talking about its function. Apart from the fact that he says the "Maids of St. Ursula" were slaughtered by the Huns, there is no story of St. Ursula herself in this clip.

  2. 11,000 virgin's?? Not likely. Probably more like 100 or so plus a few armed guard's depending on how rich she was. Why would she blunder into territory controlled by the Turkic speaking Uyghur's,(Hun's), and they're Goth friend's?

  3. See what happens when you don't do 'it'–you look hot (Heaven forgive me for that one) forever! >;o)

  4. The story of St Ursula is deemed to be myth rather than fact. There is absolutely no verifiable evidence of her existence.

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