2738 – When the Curtain Comes Down I

Do you know what a “velum quadragesimale” or lenten cloth is? It’s kind of a curtain that used to be hung in front of a church’s altar during lent. Luther did away with that custom in protestant countries, and even in the catholic parts of Europe it has become nearly extinct. There is only a small region in northern Germany where it is still alive and – where the tradition is most alive – that is my home country of Carinthia.

The small market town of Gurk is the the traditional and now only nominal seat of Carinthia’s bishop. It’s basilica is quite important though, and it has even been visited by Pope John Paul II. It’s lenten cloth, to come back to the topic, is the oldest in Carinthia, dating back to 1458. That’s only five years after the fall of Constantinople and 34 years before Columbus arrived in America 🙂

The second picture has been heavily corrected for perspective, and I had to add some fake background in order to not have to crop. It still gives a good idea though.

The last two images finally give you a full view of that awesome gothic vault. Hope you enjoy it.

The Song of the Day is “When the Curtain Comes Down” from Diane Krall’s album “Glad Rag Doll”. Hear it on YouTube.

3 thoughts on “2738 – When the Curtain Comes Down I”

  1. An incredible church… very beautiful. Interesting fact about the cloth. It occurs to me that some churches drape the altar cross during some intervals of the year… not obscuring it, only like a stoll. I wonder if this is a similar practice but more “modern”.

    Very nice images. You must have had to do some major work on the second image but your corner mask does not take away from the image.

  2. An interesting bit of history, both in the narrative and the beautiful photos. As lovely as these photo are I can only imagine how awe inspiring being there must be — 1458 – wow! Thanks for sharing the photos and a little of the history behind the subject, Andreas.

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