Bert Hermans
'Divinity Cloisters, inside (Gloucester)'
Oil on canvas
60 x 40 cm

This painting shows the inside of a triptych showing two buildings. In these three paintings from the inside of the triptych we see the corridor of the 'Cloisters' belonging to Gloucester Cathedral in England.
The cloister of Gloucester Cathedral belongs to the most important medieval architecture. It is famous for its remarkable fan vaults. This imaginative new style was developed here in the 13th century and the current monastery was completed in 1412 by Abbot Froucester.
The 'Cloisters' are the great architectural treasure of Gloucester Cathedral. It was at the heart of the life of the monks in Gloucester from the 1090s to the 1540s. The monks lived, ate, prayed and worked around the four sides of the monastery garden.
The highlight of the 'Cloisters' is the fan vault, which dates from the 1350s to 1390s. It was a new development of English Perpendicular Gothic architecture, in which the panels that already covered the walls and windows extended up to the ceiling. It is called 'fan vault' because it is formed of hollow cones or 'fans', with decorative tracery. The fans are said to have been made in a workshop and then assembled piece by piece on site. This form of ceiling on this scale was first invented and used in Gloucester.
Among the beauty of the architecture are some hidden treasures: medieval games. These games can still be found in shelves on the walls and chairs in and near the cloisters, such as 'Nine Men's Morris'. That game can be found on the wall in one of the niches in the center panel of the painting.
Furthermore, two side panels of the painting depict the portraits of King Richard III. Richard III (also called Richard of Gloucester), who lived from 1452 to 1485, was king of England from 1483 to 1485. Richard will go down in history as the cruel man who seized the English throne by murdering the two young sons of his deceased elder brother Edward IV. Richard III visited the Cloisters in 1483, and during this visit the city of Gloucester offered him money. He refused, stating that he would rather have their love than their money. There is no record of where he stayed in Gloucester, but it is possible that he stayed in the monastery and walked through these cloisters on his way to the abbey church.
In terms of architecture, the Cloisters are very similar to the 'Divinity School' in Oxford, which is depicted on the outside of the triptych. Bert visited both buildings in May 2023.