Lower Panel (colour)

An original work by Matthew Grayson of
 Wells Cathedral's "Magnum Opus" Lower Panel (2003)

Medium : Watercolour, Acrylic and Graphite on Board

Original Painting Size : width 660 mm x height 330 mm

10 Signed, Artist's Proofs All Sold
Signed, Limited Edition Prints All Sold
Unsigned Prints Available
Commercial User Images Available 


The Illumination was taken from the Lady Chapel tiled floor, whilst the Latin text featured is a gradual (plain chant No.5) by the baroque composer Gregorio Allegri

The painting is currently on a four year tour and will return to the Bishops Palace at Wells in 2010.

The Latin text is from the Bible; from Psalm 107 verses 32 and 31 in the Old Testament and from Matthew chapter 16 verse 18 in the New Testament :

Ps 107:32 - Exaltent eum in ecclesia plebis et in cathedra seniorum laudent eum
Let them exalt him also in the church/congregation of the people, and praise him in the chair/assembly of the elders.

Ps 106:31 - Confiteantur Domino misericor diae eius et mirabilia eius filiis hominum
Let the mercies of the Lord give glory to him, and his wonderful works to the children of men.

Alleluia (A shout or song of praise to God)

Matt 16:18 - Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo Ecclesiam meam.
Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build My Church.

Alleluia (A shout or song of praise to God)

Interpreting the Magnum Opus painting (lower panel)

The lower panel has as much significance to the west front as the main panelbut in a different form of imagery.

The dimensions of the lower panel are calculated using the same geometry pattern for the double reflected squares and the cover length of the main panel.

The two coats of arms are of Bubwith and Staffordboth 
13th century mediaeval bishops at the time the theme of the main panel paintingbased - approximately 1427-1445.

The angels below signify the development of the west front from the first few centuries of the cathedral's construction.

Central to either plinth at which the angels kneela gold cross has been painted, to break the formation of white crosses among the borderlines.

This signifies the belief in God and faith, past and present.

Hovering above the top-central point is the Holy Spirit with a small halopeering down onto the eye line of Stafford's angelgiving the sense of security within the cathedral.

Stafford's angel in return, looks straight into the eyes of the Holy Spirit.

The small images of Saint Peter and Saint Paul are painted either side of the plinth.

A wilderness scene (signifying organized chaos) and showing the west front of the cathedral in the year 1230, before Bubwith and Stafford carried out the significant construction work on the west frontas depicted in the main panel, complete the plinth's meaning.

To the bottom central panelthe Lamb of God is sited, emanating rays of hopeon a bed of lush grass and sacred flowers.

Stafford's angel's hand is pointing towards the Lamb of God continuing the"communicationof the painting's figures.

Bubwith's angelkneeling on a blank grey cold-looking stone, signifies the beginning of time and the first visions of building a cathedral in Wells.

Her handsholding a booknot only give the viewer the understanding of literacy and connection with the cathedral's librarybut also the ever-open scope olearning from educationboth religious and general.

The eye line of the angel is directed back up to the Holy Spirit, completing the reading pattern of the painting.

The reading pattern of these four groups creates a diamond shape.

The Latin text has been laid ouin a retro style of unjustified range left.

Old techniques of illumination are utilised, where the word or sentence is "illuminated" depending on the importance and significance of the text.

The geometrical square and coloured diamond formsat the end of each line of verse,signify the journey of life and the three stages of man.

The white perimeter relates to the Holy Spirit and heaven.

The blue relate to the seas.

The greento land and life.

The red to the blood of Christ and the black to death and the afterlife.

By reading the pattern's Hebrew style (from right to left) you will discover three set rotational patterns which revolve clockwise (signifying the passage of time) and giving the three ages of man

The border is almost identical in colour to the Lady Chapel floor, apart from the central leaf pattern which the artist has decided to paint pure white, to complement the west front'white ground walls.



Gregorio Allegri (1582 1652): Missa Vidi turbam magnam

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