Sunday, 22 February 2009

Antiquarian Curiosities: an occasional divertissement

"Pope Innocent X, The Celtic Minded."
Oil on canvas, by Diego Velazquez, painted around 1650.

Not only was Pope Innocent The Tenth "Celtic-Minded" he was also singularly prescient, loyally following the fortunes of a football club some two centuries before it was formed.

In common with much portraiture of the period, the painting is replete with symbolism. In his left hand, the Pope holds a copy of The Celtic View, representing the profane. In his right hand, representing the sacred, he holds a fragment of parchment, an encyclical, urging on his team to greater achievements.

Later in his life, the Pope would issue an encyclical condemning "the practice of members of the black-clad masonic secret societies, umpiring matches between Celtic and lesser teams, conspiring, one with the other, to deny The Hoops stone-wall penalty decisions. So they uhr."

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