Reredos in St. Andrew’s Sewanee

Below are some pictures from the chapel at St. Andrew’s Sewanee School, particularly the reredos behind the altar. The whole thing, very Italianate in its appearance, intrigues me, and I’d like to make a study of it at some point in the future. For now, let just note how amusing the image of the Virgin lifting the Christchild’s diaper is, a homely reminder of his fully human nature!




Postscript, Feb. 6, 2018. AHA! As you will see in the comments below, my good friend Celeste points out that the St. Andrews’ reredos is a copy of one by Carlo Crivelli in 1476 for the church of San Domenico in Ascoli Piceno, known as the Demidoff Altarpiece, now in National Gallery, London (from whose site the pictures below are taken).



The reredos is singled out as notable in theWPA’s Federal Writers’ Project book, Tennessee: A Guide to the State (Viking: New York 1939) pp. 482-83.

It’s not an EXACT copy, as can be seen from the additional “storey” in the St. Andrew’s Chapel, and the color of the Virgin’s garments. But still, my sense of its Italianate appearance seems borne out.

So, now the questions is WHY is this in the St. Andrew’s Chapel? Aside from its very evident beauty, of course, and its very “high church” appeal, was there a particular connection to this piece for the Holy Cross brothers who founded the school?


About Uncomely and Broken

I am a classicist in Sewanee, Tennessee.
This entry was posted in Bible, Education, Family, Italy, Saints, Sewanee, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Reredos in St. Andrew’s Sewanee

  1. Celeste Shibata says:

    Hi Chris. I am sure you already know this, but the reredos in St. Andrew’s Chapel is a copy of a 15th century Italian altarpiece by Carlo Crivelli that is in the National Gallery in London. Here’s a link:

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