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- 1 [‘…questa città fece miracolosamente sotto Cristo nascere; nel dí della sua salutifera incarnation (...)
- 2 […il non picciolo numero de’ santi huomini, da questa città santificata prodotti…]. Spathafora (155 (...)
1In 1554, a Venetian humanist, Bartolomeo Spathafora di Moncato, composed an oration for the funeral of the doge Marc’Antonio Trevisan. Bartolomeo celebrated Marc’Antonio’s life, the legacy of his family and the family’s contribution to the destiny of the Venetian Republic. Ever mindful of Venice’s highly-valued egalitarian ideals, Bartolomeo presented the doge not as a magnificent and virtuous individual, but rather as a pious product of the city’s own magnificence and sanctity. He highlighted the city’s preferential origin, its liberty, and the exemplary piety and virtue of its illustrious men, including Marc’Antonio. The core of his exposition was the idea of Venice as a uniquely-privileged sacred site, a locus sanctus ordained by God, ‘born by a miracle under Christ; founded on the day of his salutiferous incarnation;…[and] nourished with the milk of the apostles’.1 Bartolomeo described the ‘not insignificant number of holy men produced by this sanctified city’2:
- 3 [Et lasciando stare molti Dogi, che dalle sante radici della Repub. Santi nel suo principio germogl (...)
'' leaving aside many Doges, who sprang up from the holy roots of the Most Holy Republic at its very beginning, it is not long since that Venice saw the birth of that most holy bishop and martyr Gerardo Sagredo…also noble was the Blessed Leone Bembo…And then there entered this world and adorned it that most blessed bishop Francesco Quirini, that most holy patriarch of Venice Lorenzo Giustiniani…Pietro Barozzi…the blessed Giovanni, parish priest of St. John the Baptist, the blessed martyr Paul, and that most ardent vessel of charity, Girolamo Maini…[and] infinite others… Their holiness, which for the most part they received from their native land, can be seen in the way in which the Republic is governed by holy laws and Christian institutions; and by the way in which unified and flourishing tranquility is preserved…this city, then, can truly be called the nation of saints. ''3
- 4 The data for this number has been culled from a number of inventories and lists of Venetian saints (...)
- 5 The examples of such civic cults are innumerable. The cults dedicated to Margherita in Cortona, Ant (...)
2Here, Bartolomeo publicly reinforced a fully-cultivated civic consciousness about seven hundred years in the making. One might expect then to find a proliferation of officially-sanctioned devotions to local holy men and women in Venice which attest to this providential status. Indeed, by 1554, the date of Bartolomeo’s oration, the Venetians managed to extract from their so-called sacred waters at least one hundred and forty seven local beati and saints, with no fewer than fifty six declared active before 1400; the period in which the civic celebration of local sanctity was at its height on the Italian peninsula.4 However, of these fifty six only eleven had associated devotions, with three of those actually suppressed by the Venetian authorities. Of the remaining eight, visual documentation is forthcoming in only five cases with no popular or widespread devotion developing in any instance. Only three of these were recognised by the Venetian government as worthy of official patronage; an anomaly in respect of the more abundant evidence for civic devotions collated for local saints and beati elsewhere in the same period.5 These three are the focus of this study. Here, I will examine the state-sponsored imagery relating to the bishop and martyr Gerardo (d. 1046), the doge Pietro Orseolo (d. 976), and the Dominican friar Giacomo Salomani (d. 1314), to shed light on the reasons why these three Venetian holy men were uniquely singled out as worthy of attention by their government.
Figure1: Gerardo of Venice, San Marco, Venice, 13th century
© Courtesy of la Procuratoria di San Marco
- 6 See H. Maguire, The Icons of their Bodies. Saints and their Images in Byzantium, Princeton, 1996, o (...)
- 7 St. Gerard, martyr and bishop.
3The earliest commission dedicated to a holy Venetian is the mosaic of San Gerardo located in the basilica of San Marco [fig.1]. Gerardo was a Venetian nobleman who became bishop of the city of Csanád in Hungary during the eleventh century and was martyred there in the year 1046. The mosaic itself was commissioned around 1240 as part of a programme of saints’ images for the arches of the side aisles of the ducal chapel of San Marco. Gerardo is depicted as a bishop, although his attributes render him closer to Byzantine rather than Western prototypes. He wears Western episcopal regalia, including the chasuble and stole, but both mitre and crozier, typical attributes in Western iconography, are absent. Instead, in conformity with Byzantine custom, he is shown tonsured, with grey hair and a beard, symbolising the inherent wisdom of his office.6 Further abiding by the Byzantine canon, Gerardo is portrayed in a severe manner: rigid, fully frontal and two-dimensional. He holds a gospel book in his left hand and blesses with his right. His sunken eyes and emaciated cheeks, emphasised by the contour of his beard, announce Gerardo’s commitment to the ascetic vow; a canonical requirement of the Eastern bishop and a feature of the Vitae and canonisation processes of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century holy bishops in the West. In capital letters to the left of the saint are the words ‘S. GERARDVS MAR[TIR] ET PONTIFES’.7
- 8 O. Demus, The Mosaics of San Marco in Venice, 2, The Thirteenth Century, Chicago and London, 1984, (...)
4The mosaic forms a part of a larger programme of saints’ images which variously attest to Venice’s power, piety, imperial and mercantile interests and its political relationship to other contemporary states, all convincingly explained by scholars such as Otto Demus many years ago.8 The motivation behind
- 9 Anon., ‘Passio beatissimi Gerardi episcopi et martiris’, in Il Leggendario di San Marco, (c. 1240), (...)
5Gerardo’s inclusion amongst this grouping of saints, however, is somewhat different and deserves further consideration. Some insight into this motivation can be found in a near-contemporary text: the Passio beatissimi Gerardi episcopi et martiris9 – a text which, significantly, originates from San Marco.
- 10 On Gerardo, see: ‘Passio Gerardi’ (1240); Mancin, 1989-90; on Abraham see Gen. 26, 4-5.
6The Passio Gerardi is a short biography of the saint which was used as a liturgical text in the ducal chapel on the saint’s feast day, 24 September. It describes his early life in Venice and his intended pilgrimage to the holy land. His virtues, piety and humility are constantly emphasised. It relays how Gerardo’s journey was interrupted in Hungary by King Stephen (d. 1036) who essentially convinced Gerardo to stay and help him evangelise the Magyar people of the region. After a short stint as court tutor and then after spending some years in a secluded monastery, he is appointed to the bishopric of Csanád and is celebrated for his evangelising mission. In fact, in the text, and this is important for understanding the mosaic, he is presented as a successor of the Old Testament patriarch Abraham who was called upon by God to found a great nation in his name.10 In the biblical verse, God commands Abraham to:
- 11 Gen 12, 1-2. See also Mancin, 171, for Gerardo’s apparent obsession with the passage.
'' get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will show thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great ''11
7Already in the second paragraph of the Passio, the link is introduced:
- 12 [Egressus itaque de cognatione sua tendebat ad orientam, ubi Habraam dives ac pater multarum gentiu (...)
'' And so, having gone away from his relations, he [Gerardo] travelled to the East, where Abraham became a rich man and father of many nations; even as the same Abraham, himself of Canaan’s line, by the labour of his travels, the doubting Gerardo had Christ’s blessing. ''12
- 13 In the Old Testament, after Abraham’s death, the Christian God is commonly referred to as ‘the God (...)
8The parallels between the two figures are striking. Firstly, both leave the familiarity of family and country to embark on a long journey in foreign lands to carry out a divine mission. Secondly, both are given God’s blessings for their efforts. Thirdly, Gerardo’s successful evangelising campaign is witnessed by the foundation of a large number of churches throughout Hungary; an accomplishment foreshadowed by the innumerable altars Abraham built in the land of Canaan. Like Abraham, Gerardo introduces the Christian God (explicitly called the God of Abraham13) to all of Hungary, spelt out in the text as the completion of Abraham’s work. The implication for Gerardo’s mission is clear: Gerardo, the new Abraham, is the vehicle by which God disseminates his name across Hungary.
- 14 On the various interpretations on the legend of S. Magno, see E. Crouzet-Pavan, La mort lente de To (...)
- 15 This story is first alluded to by Martino da Canale, ‘Chronique des Veniciens/Cronaca dei Veneziani (...)
9What is even more significant is how closely the divine guarantees of Abraham/ Gerardo’s success in creating ‘a great nation’ strongly echo the divine promise of Venice’s own foundational myths. For instance, a legend of uncertain date, but one which Flaminio Corner (1749 and 1758) dates to before 1206, involves the founding of the eight principle churches of Rivoalto (Venice) through divine revelation. The story recounts the appearance of eight saints in consecutive visions to the first bishop Magno, instructing him to build a city in the Venetian lagoon and to establish the onomastic churches.14 The eight churches of legend actually define the outer limits of the city and thus, in a symbolic way, suggest that God himself informed the city’s civic landscape. More importantly, Gerardo’s story reflects very strongly the praedestinatio myth, where God also foretells the birth of Venice, and its inimitable greatness, in a dream to the evangelist Mark during a stopover in the lagoon in the first century AD, a good four-hundred years before Venice’s actual foundation.15 Thus, Gerardo’s story is contextualised, even validated, by reference to familiar and illustrious precedents.
10Four themes are strongly emphasised in The Passio: Gerardo’s piety, his episcopal status, his martyrdom and his evangelical mission. Significantly, these are exactly the aspects of his life highlighted in the San Marco mosaic. The inscription which accompanies Gerardo’s image announces his status as bishop, which is reinforced by his episcopal garb. His piety is conveyed by allusion to his ascetic life, specifically evoked by his gaunt features. Although not explicitly depicted as a martyr according to the traditional artistic canon, the inscription itself declares his status as such: ‘S. GERARDVS MAR[TIR] ET PONTIFES’. Together with the themes of piety and martyrdom, his evangelical mission to Hungary is symbolised by the inclusion of the gospel book and his blessing gesture. Like traditional images of the Evangelists, who are often seen writing or carrying their gospel books, or the Apostles, who carry scrolls, Gerardo is shown holding a gospel book, the foundation of his message to the Magyar people. His blessing gesture evokes his episcopal role as baptiser of converts in Hungary. Moreover, the architectural field he inhabits, a decorated arch supported by slender columns, may allude to the foundation of the Christian church in Hungary. Gerardo’s actions would have provided an exemplar to his fellow Venetians of the kind of Christian virtue and sacrifice of which they themselves were potentially capable. They may well have given the Venetians further justification for their external policies, especially apposite for the political and religious climate of the time which was characterised by crusade and Venetian imperialism.
Figure 2 : plan of san Marco
11Of particular note is the mosaic’s physical location in the Basilica [fig. 2]. It is positioned in the first arch of the north aisle, making this image the first of the thirteenth-century series of saints to be met by the beholder upon entering the church from the north portal of the narthex. The figure of Gerardo follows on visually from the narthex cupola where a thirteenth-century mosaic depicting the life of Abraham is located, thereby setting Gerardo and Abraham in direct association again. By reiterating The Passio’s analogy between Gerardo and Abraham, this visual relationship clearly hails Gerardo as “a new Abraham”.
12To further underscore the evangelising message, the Gerardo image also abuts the dome of Pentecost, the first illustrated dome in the Basilica’s central nave. The mosaic shows a centralised image of the dove of the Holy Spirit who perches upon a gospel book placed on the Hetoimasia, the Byzantine throne of Judgement. The rays of the Holy Spirit descend upon the twelve apostles who stand above allegorical images of the sixteen nations they evangelised, according to the Acts of the Apostles. The apostles are portrayed enthroned, holding either scrolls or books like Gerardo. The gestures of the figures vary, with some pointing to their gospel books or hearts, indicating the way to salvation, and others in the act of preaching, their hands held out as if in dialogue. Four are shown in the act of benediction, reflecting their God-given mission to convert the nations to Christianity. Following Byzantine custom, the four Evangelists are included among the ranks of the twelve, emphasising their role, and particularly that of Venice’s primary patron Mark, in Christianising the world.
- 16 Mark 16, 15.
- 17 Debra Pincus highlights a later, but much more explicit, illustration of the decree in a mosaic dep (...)
13This depiction highlights the Venetian belief that their city, as an apostolic foundation through Mark and God’s special locus sanctus, was specially called upon to spread the word of God. Their perceived calling was articulated at the end of Mark’s gospel, where Christ commands the apostles to ‘Go to all the world and preach the gospel to every creature’.16 The Venetians interpreted this pronouncement quite literally, as though Christ, through Mark, addressed the city directly. The passage was often cited as justification for Venetian crusades and other exploits in the East.17
14Although a subtle pronouncement, The Passio declares the State’s evangelical mission through allusion to the activities of Gerardo, which were fully-condoned, in fact, directed by God and foreshadowed by no-less a figure than God’s chosen patriarch, Abraham. The San Marco mosaic reiterates this message by placing Gerardo in direct visual association with Abraham, in the narthex images, and the Apostles and Evangelists, in the adjacent Pentecost dome. Thus, Gerardo’s life’s work is commemorated within the larger theme of Venice’s perceived apostolic mission. Such a placement suggests Gerardo’s role in the divine plan – a plan in which Venetians saw their own apostolic calling, conferred on Venice through Mark’s divinely-predetermined association with the city, as an essential element. Nevertheless, Gerardo’s Venetian identity is not proclaimed; no appellations are included in the inscription and no civic symbols accompany the image. He is therefore celebrated not as an outstanding Venetian, but, like Doge Trevisan, as one in a long line of historical figures, originating in Mark, who all contributed to the realisation of Venice’s ultimate destiny.
Figure 3: Pietro Orseolo, Baptistery, San Marco, Venice, 14th century
© Courtesy of la Procuratoria di San Marco
- 18 The monastic habit worn here is unusual in depictions of Pietro who, in later images, is most often (...)
- 19 ‘Beato Pietro Orseolo, doge of Venice’.
15A century later, it is possible to detect similar motives in the inclusion of another Venetian beato, Pietro Orseolo, in San Marco’s mosaic programme [fig. 3]. Pietro, a tenth-century Venetian doge, was included as part of an extensive mosaic cycle in the Baptistery of San Marco in the mid-fourteenth century commissioned by the celebrated doge, Andrea Dandolo. The mosaic is centrally-located on the arch between the Baptistery’s two cupole, separating the altar sanctuary from the baptismal font. In a unique depiction, Pietro appears to be represented as a friar, tonsured and wearing a white tunic and a black mantle. Strangely, he does not appear to be clothed in the black monastic habit of the Cluniac Benedictines or the white tunic of the Camaldolites, the two religious orders to which he is traditionally associated.18 Pietro also holds the ducal corno in his lowered left hand, whilst the right hand is raised as though in dialogue. The focus of his attention, and perhaps the dialogue, is the dove of the Holy Spirit, located in the centre of the arch directly above him. The dove itself is framed by a sphere formed of concentric circles, symbolising its heavenly origin. From the dove’s circular abode a beam emanates connecting directly with Pietro’s eyes, suggesting that he is receiving divine inspiration. That he is not of this world is emphasised by the gold tesserae backdrop and his almost physical connection with the Holy Spirit. The inscription above Pietro’s head reads: “BEATUS PETRU URSIOLO DUXS VENEC”.19 This is the first instance in which Pietro, or indeed any doge, was publicly declared a beato.
- 20 See Andrea Dandolo, ‘Chronica per extensum descripta’, (1340-50), in E. Pastorello (ed.), Rerum Ita (...)
- 21 Giovanni Diacono, ‘Cronaca Veneta’ in M. de Biasi (ed.), La Cronaca Veneziana di Giovanni Diacono ( (...)
- 22 See J. Hussey (ed.), The Cambridge Medieval History, Vol IV, part I, Cambridge, 1966, 265-68, for a (...)
16The image is both anomalous and puzzling. Given the mosaic’s patron, a useful key to any exploration of its significance is Andrea Dandolo’s own description of Pietro Orseolo’s reign from his Chronica per extensum descripta (hereafter Chronica Extensa), written almost contemporaneously with the Baptistery commission, in the early 1340s.20 The Chronica Extensa is Andrea’s personal recounting of Venetian history explained through the venerable acts of the city’s ducal leaders. Based on earlier versions of Pietro’s life, especially that of John the Deacon (d. c.1008)21, the main thrust of Andrea’s narrative is Pietro Orseolo’s election to the ducal office in the year 976 following a bitter and bloody civil uprising over control of the State, and his abdication two years later in favour of the Cluniac monastic habit22.
- 23 [...die XII augusti, in ducatus honorem sublimare decreverunt, qui, a puerile etate, nil aliud quam (...)
- 24 [...non humano favour, sed tocius rei publice comoda huiusmodi principatus apicem accipere non recu (...)
17Andrea’s account begins by emphasising the nature of Pietro’s rise to the ducal throne as a call to civic duty. Pietro’s initial unwillingness to assume the leadership role is thus repeatedly stressed. Andrea reiterates John the Deacon’s description of Pietro’s inner struggle, torn between civic duty and his own spiritual inclinations. He writes, in exactly the same words as John the Deacon, ‘...not wishing since childhood to do anything that was not pleasing to God, [Pietro] hesitated to assume the highest dignity of the State, for fear of losing his moral and virtuous path, for earthly honour.’23 After a certain amount of indecision, and following the insistent prayers of the Venetian people, ‘not for human profit but in the interest of the whole State, [Pietro] accepted the highest office of the principate’.24 The account embellishes his persona with a heightened piety and foreshadows his subsequent abdication. The clearly-stated message is that Pietro took the office for the sake of God and for the greater good of the State.
- 25 The comment is made in the context the biography of Romuald, founder of the Camaldolite Order. Pete (...)
- 26 Two tribunes and a doge originally ruled the Venetian state from 811, in order to safeguard the cit (...)
18However, Andrea’s account diverges slightly yet significantly from John the Deacon’s version. Following, instead, a short excerpt by a Camaldolite reformer and theologian, Peter Damian (d. 1072), Andrea suggests Pietro’s alleged involvement in the deposition and murder of the ambitious doge, Pietro IV Candiano, who, wishing to establish a dynasty, was the focus of the aforementioned civil uprising.25 Such displays of individual ambition and self-interest directly contravened Venice’s Republican ideal, even as early as the eleventh century. According to Damian, once the Candiano clan was suppressed by the Venetian mob, which explicitly included Pietro Orseolo, Pietro reluctantly took the ducal throne himself, re-establishing order and authority. Through Andrea Dandolo’s nuanced interpretation three hundred years later, Damian’s unruly mob is transformed into a principled collective which, through Orseolo’s election, restores the egalitarian ideals of ‘balance and partnership’ which had characterised the Venetian constitution since the early-ninth century. Historically, this cooperative action was considered the key ingredient in assuring the city’s continuing autonomy and success.26 Andrea contrasts good and bad governance by juxtaposing the failed tyrant, Pietro IV, against the triumph of Republicanism, symbolised by the popularly elected and virtuous Pietro Orseolo. Perhaps in a deliberate strategy to counter any suspicions of Pietro’s personal ambitions, Andrea enhanced his personality with numerous demonstrations of piety. He is credited with opening hospices for pilgrims and the city’s needy and with increasing expenditure on the poor. He also endowed a number of monasteries in his short reign.
- 27 The pala gems are generally dated to the twelfth century and thus could not have been part of an ea (...)
19Pietro’s concern for his city, already intimated by the sacrifice he made by taking the ducal post and through the acts of benevolence outlined above, takes on a more deliberate Marcian focus in Andrea’s text. Like John the Deacon, Andrea recounts that immediately upon Pietro’s ascent to the ducal throne, he began the restoration of the Basilica of San Marco and the Palazzo Ducale, the most authoritative emblems of Venetian power and stability. Andrea suggests that Pietro even paid for the restoration from personal funds, further heightening the perception of his piety and charity. Around the same time, he embellished the Basilica’s high altar with a new altarpiece.27 Andrea also credits Pietro with concealing the prized relics of St. Mark in the Basilica in order to protect them from harm in any future uprisings, forging a profound link between this doge (or the dogal office) and Mark’s apparitio of 1094. The apparitio, or the miraculous reappearance of Mark’s relics in the Basilica, was an unquestionable sign of Mark’s enduring patronage of the city. It was an event of central importance to the success of the State and a significant feature of Venice’s self-identity.
20Thus, Pietro’s deeds, as recounted by Andrea, re-established a sense of order and authority in the city and served to glorify Venice and its main civic patron. His decisive actions demonstrated the ideal of ducal behaviour by showcasing a leader whose primary focus was not himself but the preservation of the State. His maintenance of Mark’s cult, by beautifying his sepulchre and protecting his relics, assured Mark’s continuing benevolence, which, in such turbulent times was of vital importance.
- 28 Dandolo (c. 1340-50), 184.
- 29 Ibid.
21Andrea’s account ends with Pietro taking a monastic habit at a Cluniac monastery in the Pyrenees mountains two years later, where he died in 988 in a state of sanctity, with all the requisite miracles, odours and mysteriously-clanging bells.28 This declaration of sanctity marks a significant departure from all earlier versions of Pietro’s story and concludes what Andrea’s text has been forecasting all along: that Pietro Orseolo, a Venetian doge and beatus, acted under divine inspiration to preserve the greater good of Venice and should be held up as a model of ducal, as well as civic, behaviour.29
- 30 The emergence of the doge as a civic hero grounded in historical fact is another example of the Ven (...)
22Andrea’s choice of Pietro Orseolo for the Baptistery programme was thus hardly random. Pietro was selected because through his story Andrea Dandolo could construct a vision of the ideal of dogal piety, which could be verifiable in historical ‘fact’.30 Like the text, the San Marco image serves to amplify the ducal persona as a super-human figure (indeed a beatus): an agenda used consistently and forcefully by Andrea Dandolo in the Basilica’s fourteenth-century decoration as amply demonstrated by Debra Pincus. Not surprisingly, the image is directly dependent on the text as its source. Three themes developed in the Chronica Extensa are re-presented in the mosaic: Pietro’s renunciation of the dogal seat and subsequent pursuit of a monastic life, his divine inspiration and his status as a beato.
23The theme of Pietro’s renunciation for the monastic life is the predominant feature of the Baptistery mosaic. As mentioned earlier, the image depicts Pietro as a monk, tonsured and wearing monastic robes. At the very moment in which he renounces his ducal appointment, symbolised by his lowering of the ducal corno, a ray of light descends upon him from the dove of the Holy Spirit above. On a superficial level, the image simply reads as a visual replica of Andrea’s portrayal in his Chronica, reiterating that Pietro’s decision to abdicate from his ducal position was a pious act directly inspired by God. In the context of the Baptistery programme as a whole though, the image takes on greater weight.
- 31 Timothy Verdon analyses the Venetian Baptistery’s iconographic meaning in relation to the rest of t (...)
- 32 I am indebted to the ideas developed by Debra Pincus (1990; Tombs, 2000; and ‘Hard Times’, 2000) fo (...)
24On one level, the Baptistery’s mosaic cycle is typical of baptisteries elsewhere in that it portrays the lives of Christ and John the Baptist, conveying through the imagery of baptism, pentecost and the triumphant Christ, the traditional theme of human salvation.31 On another level, however, the prominence of civic allusions in the cycle adds a specifically Venetian dimension to the salvation narrative. For instance, in addition to Pietro Orseolo, two other Venetian doges occupy places of prominence in the Baptistery programme. The tomb of doge Giovanni Soranzo (d. 1328) confronts the visitor upon entry to the Baptistery from the piazzetta. A depiction of Andrea Dandolo himself is prominently portrayed in a mosaic of the Crucifixion, located above the altar at the eastern end of the Baptistery. Significantly, in all three images the theme of divine illumination is highlighted, a link which can help to explain the Pietro Orseolo image.32
- 33 D. Pincus links the praedestinatio message and the allusions to the dogal role to the two other ins (...)
25In our mosaic, Pietro receives a ray from the Holy Spirit directly to his eyes. He is no longer only generally inspired by God, as he is in the Chronica Extensa, here he is the recipient of a specific divine vision. Importantly, within the same space, Andrea Dandolo himself, in the Crucifixion mosaic on the wall above the Baptismal altar, also receives a divine vision. Here, Andrea Dandolo kneels in prayer at the right-hand side of Christ, in a position of honour at the foot of the cross. Andrea’s eyes are directed upwards into the dome; the focus of the gaze reinforced by John’s upward pointing finger. The dome illustrates the angelic hierarchy with a centralised and enthroned Christ featured at its centre, suggesting the Last Judgment. As Debra Pincus aptly proposes, the visual link between the mosaics suggests that Andrea is the recipient of a vision of the divine order. Significantly, directly above the crucified Christ and Andrea is depicted the highest choir of angels, the ten-winged cherubim, who holds a medallion bearing the inscription sciencie plenitudo (fullness of knowledge). In this way, Andrea Dandolo, or more properly, the office of the doge, is imbued with an exclusive wisdom with which he can lead Venice to its final destiny, promised by God in the city’s foundational legend, the praedestinatio.33
26Debra Pincus also argues that the complex iconography of the tomb of Giovanni Soranzo, at the entrance to the Baptistery, associates the deceased doge with divine vision through its specific association with John the Baptist’s own prophetic vision of Christ’s triumph over death, depicted on the front of his tomb chest. Here, Pincus argues, the presence of John, who foretold of a new Christian era, endows the Venetian doge with the special wisdom to lead his people to a new age; that same age of greatness promised by God at Venice’s foundation. The message is reinforced by the placing of the Soranzo coat of arms between the tomb chest and a cosmological interlace pattern. The whole ensemble is capped by a mosaic depicting the baptism of Christ, the moment he himself was infused with the divine spirit.
- 34 On the messages inherent in the Mission of the Apostles mosaic in the Venetian Baptistery see Pincu (...)
27The direct association of, not one but, three dogal images with divine vision is significant, as is the physical positioning of Pietro Orseolo image in the Baptistery. As mentioned earlier, Pietro is prominently placed on the arch in the very centre of the Baptistery, bridging the two bays which comprise the altar and font sanctuaries. In the western dome, above the font, is the depiction of the Mission of the Apostles. The mosaic underlines Venice’s apostolic mission, inherited through Mark, while simultaneously justifying Venetian exploits in the East.34 The eastern dome, as mentioned above, is decorated by a mosaic depicting the angelic hierarchy and Last Judgment. As one walks through the rectangular space of the Baptistery, Pietro’s figure acts as the bridge between the Mission of the Apostles, in the western bay, and the Angelic Hierarchy, in the eastern bay. If the Mission is understood to reflect the earthly concerns of the dogal office and the Angelic Hierarchy places the dogal office in direct communion with the holy, then Pietro’s position in the middle of the programme reiterates the dogal role. Like Andrea Dandolo, he is a visionary ruler, quite literally in communion with God, and a personification of the ideal doge. Pietro’s image may have been included here to justify, through historical precedent, the visionary status Andrea assigns to himself below, making his claims more palatable to its Venetian audience. The beatified image of Pietro may likewise serve to sanctify dogal rule in Venice. From his central position in the Baptistery, Pietro, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, leads Venetians in their earthly mission, spelled out in the western dome, and directs them to their ultimate destiny, revealed in the eastern dome.
28The role of the illuminated doge in guiding Venetians to their ultimate destiny, so emphatically laid out in the Baptistery programme, reappears in Enrico Dandolo’s historical chronicle of Venice, written only twenty-three years after the Baptistery decoration was completed. Enrico’s words paraphrase the Baptistery programme’s underlying message.
- 35 [Et Dio per la sua misericordia e divina gratia inlumina si la mente de zaschun doxe, cavo, e Retto (...)
'' And God through his mercy and divine grace illuminates the mind of each doge, chief and rector of [Venice] so that the state may always grow and expand, and so that each rules and governs and preserves [Venice] according to his ability. ''35
- 36 On Andrea’s tendency to amplify the role of the doge in his record of Venetian history, see Pincus (...)
The whole programme supports the larger aims of Andrea’s writing and visual commissions, persuasively explicated by Debra Pincus, to promote the dogal office and advance an image of it which, like Bartolomeo’s laud to doge Trevisan later, serves to highlight its primary role in the realisation of Venetian destiny.36
- 37 Niero in Musolino, (1963), 111.
29Together, the images of Pietro and Gerardo in San Marco deliver a complementary Venetian message yet both lack the promotional campaign evident in the cults of most other thirteenth- and fourteenth-century civic saints. Significantly, by the fourteenth century, Gerardo and Pietro had both been dead over 400 years, substantially longer than most other Venetian beati, suggesting that temporal distance may have been a qualifying factor for official liturgical celebration in Venice. Moreover, neither Pietro nor Gerardo had relics present in Venice when his image was commissioned. Gerardo’s relics were still in Csanád and Pietro’s were in the mountain monastery. Geographic distance thus also appears to be an important factor in their selection for the San Marco programme. What is particularly striking, given that Gerardo had both an image and an annual liturgical mass recited at San Marco, is that when his relics were brought to Venice in the mid- to late-fourteenth century, they were placed at Santa Maria e Donato at Murano, an outlying island of the lagoon and a church in no way associated with the saint. His body was placed in an antique sepulchre with no identifiable inscriptions attached. A similar situation occurred with Pietro’s relics. They were never specifically sought by the government, legitimately or otherwise. Much later, in 1731, when a small quantity were sent to Venice to commemorate Pietro’s canonisation in the same year by Clement XII, a commemorative monument was promised by the doge, but never carried out37. There is no evident attempt to promote a cult in either case, despite the fact that these two holy men caught the eye of the Venetian government. Such evidence supports the argument of this paper: despite Venetians nurturing some cults to their local citizens, the government, while not opposed to controlled venerations, was not amenable to the idea on an official level. When local citizens were officially promoted in images, like Gerardo and Pietro, they were citizens who belonged to the distant past and whose relics were not present in the city, making it easy to avoid the development of personality cults within Venice – a situation that could undermine the primacy of St. Mark, and thus the ducal office with which it was indelibly linked, as well as Venice’s strenuously defended Republican ideals of “balance and partnership”. When promoted, they were figures who served to substantiate and validate Venice’s self-identity.
Figure 4: Arca of Giacomo Salomani, Museo Civico, Forlì, early 14th century
© Courtesy of the Museo Civico, Forlì
- 38 A. Fiderer-Moskowitz, Nicola Pisano’s Arca di San Domenico and its Legacy, University Park, Pennsyl (...)
30The elaborate marble arca [fig. 4] funded by Venice’s Great Council for the Dominican friar, Giacomo Salomani (d. 1314), marks a significant departure from this trend, as the commission was clearly promotional in nature, very elaborate and carried out soon after his death. Significantly, however, the arca was not commissioned for Venice, but for the Dominican church in the city of Forlì (now Museo Civico, Forlì). The tomb’s sheer size and opulence commands attention. It consists of three sections: a base of five Corinthian columns, which holds up a large sarcophagus of white marble, capped by an ornate peaked lid. The long, slender columns stand about a metre high, raising the sarcophagus to approximately eye level. The structural type is consistent with a series of monumental, free-standing, historiated tombs which followed Nicola Pisano’s dugento prototype, the Arca of St. Dominic in San Domenico, Bologna. As argued by Anita Moskowitz, this tomb-type, modelled on thirteenth-century pulpit designs, was specifically devised to evoke the Dominican Order’s primary mission of preaching.38 Given the tomb’s style, the overall design was most likely established in discussions between representatives of both the Dominican order and the Venetian government, both of whom are celebrated in its iconography.
Figure 5: Lion of St. Mark, Arca of Giacomo Salomani
© Courtesy of the Museo Civico, Forlì
- 39 With this marble the tomb preserves Friar Jacobus/Giacomo He was the sum of all virtues, whom Livia (...)
- 40 W. Wolters, La scultura veneziana gotica (1300-1460), II, Venice, 1976, 164.
31The central feature of the sarcophagus is the figural sculpture of the main body which alternates on both sides with large panels of richly-veined cippolino marble. On the front of the sarcophagus a central recess holds an enthroned Virgin and Child. Flanking them, at either end, are sculpted images of Dominic, holding a book and a model of a church, and Peter Martyr, with a sword piercing his back and holding a book and the palm of martyrdom. The other side of the casket presents Christ enthroned, flanked by Thomas Aquinas, with palm and book, and on Christ’s right, beato Giacomo, also holding a book [fig. 5]. Like the others, Giacomo wears the traditional Dominican tunic and mantle. He is distinguished from the other three saints however by the rays around his head, signifying his uncanonised status. An inscription identifying Giacomo, his Venetian origin, his association with the Dominican Order and the thaumaturgic properties of his relics runs around the sarcophagus’ base.39 The lid itself is divided into four grey-blue marble slabs (two on each side), each framed by spiralling bands of carved white marble. Both short sides display the lion of St. Mark [fig. 6]. At the present time, the entire ensemble is surmounted by a centrally-placed statue of the Annunciate Virgin flankedyby two praying angels. Wolfgang Wolters observes that one of the angels is a modern copy of the other and plausibly suggests that the pendant to the original angel was probably the Annunciate Virgin.40
Figure 6: Beato Giacomo, detail of Arca
© Coutesy fo the Museo Civico, Forlì
- 41 On the death and cult of Giacomo in Forlì see anon., “Vita Beati Iacobi de Venetiis”, 31 Maii, Acta (...)
- 42 Niero in Musolino (1963), 162-3.
32The tomb’s occupant, Giacomo, does not present an unusual story in terms of late-mediaeval hagiography and Dominican devotion, so his life will not be described at any length. He was a wealthy Venetian nobleman who renounced his inheritance and joined the Dominican Order, eventually moving to the Dominican house at Forlì. His life is peppered by acts of piety and humility with his death characterised by numerous examples of zealous devotion and saintly miracles. Giacomo was buried in front of an altar dedicated to the Virgin Mary in the church at Forlì, in a humble wooden casket.41 At the request of the Master General of the Order, the Dominicans and the city of Forlì were given permission by Pope John XXIII (1316-29) to observe Giacomo’s feast day.42 What is unusual, however, are the events which followed his burial.
- 43 M. Foschi and G.Viroli, Il San Domenico di Forlì. La Chiesa, il luogo, la citta. Forlì, 1991, 123; (...)
- 44 See Foschi and Viroli, 123-4.
33Giacomo’s original tomb was opened twice after his death in 1314, both times at the request of the Venetian government. The first instance occurred nine months after his burial, when a precious length of silk was sent to Forlì from Venice. Evidently considering Giacomo a glorious tribute to their own city, the Venetians instructed the Dominicans to wrap the cloth around “our dignified and illustrious son”.43 The cloth, still preserved at San Domenico, bears a stamp depicting the lion of St. Mark, which Marina Foschi and Giordano Viroli have identified as identical to others found in the Venetian silk guild’s statutes of 1285, thus confirming the silk’s Venetian provenance.44
- 45 P. Bonoli, Istorie della citta di Forlì intrecciate di varii accidenti della Romagna e dell’Italia, (...)
34The second opening of Giacomo’s sepulchre took place sometime later, although the exact date is difficult to determine. Most commentators suggest a date around 1340, when a chapel to hold Giacomo’s remains was completed in San Domenico. They further suggest that at this time the arca was sculpted in Venice and sent to Forlì.45 However, a little-noted report in a fifteenth-century history of Forlì by the chronicler Leone Cobelli, suggests that the arca had already been sent to Forlì earlier; in fact, as early as 1315, the year after Giacomo’s death. Cobelli writes that the Forlivesi government built a chapel to house Giacomo’s relics in S. Domenico, in order to accommodate the large crowds visiting his grave. He states that the marble tomb from Venice was sent soon afterwards:
- 46 [Li veniciani e lor signorie, subito fecero fare una bella sepoltura de marmo fino con molti belli (...)
'' The Venetians and their lords had a beautiful sepulchre of fine marble made straightaway, with many precious stones and sent it to Forlì, where the aforementioned beato was placed with letter carved all around; and then the aforementioned people of Forlì buried the said beato with processions. ''46
- 47 F. Sorelli, ‘L’atteggiamento del governo veneziano verso gli ordini mendicanti dalle deliberazioni (...)
- 48 Fiderer-Moskovitz, 20-24; Wolters, 164.
35Fernanda Sorelli has recently discovered two documents relating to the commission in Venice’s state archives, which substantiate Cobelli’s version of events. A deliberation of 25 February 1315 reveals that a sum of money was reserved for the arca’s construction. A second deliberation, dated 12 February 1316, explicitly states that the arca has been brought to completion and that the council gives permission to export it ‘ob reverenciam beati fratris Iacobi.’47 The tomb’s stylistic affinity to that of Enrico of Treviso’s (executed in 1315) and other contemporaneous monuments highlighted by Moskowitz and Wolters, further corroborates a 1315 dating for the tomb.48 Irrespective of the exact date of the sepulchre’s execution and the date of its instalment in San Domenico, the fact remains that the lavish monument was commissioned and paid for in its entirety by the Republic of Venice and sent to Forlì to honour Giacomo Salomani.
36Although predominantly Dominican in origin, design and iconography, there is a strong Venetian presence in its details. As mentioned above, the tomb was a standard Dominican monument aimed at celebrating the Order itself and Giacomo, in particular, as its newest holy representative. However, if one looks more closely at the tomb’s details, the Venetian government has given itself an equally high profile. For instance, the inscription makes clear in no uncertain terms that Giacomo was of Venetian origin and announces his native city’s pride in its saint:
- 49 [HOC JACOBUM TUMULUS CONSERVAT MARMORE FRATREM VIRTUTUM CUMULUS QUEM DAT TIBI LIVIA PATREM GLORIAQU (...)
'' This marble tomb preserves Friar Giacomo. He was the sum of all virtues … and glory to the Venetians from whom he descended. ''49
- 50 The chronicles of John the Deacon (1008) and Martino da Canale (1267) amply show the endurance of t (...)
- 51 E. Muir, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice, Princeton, 1981, 70-71, elaborates on the ritual signi (...)
37The connection between Giacomo and Venice extends to the overall decoration, where Marcian symbolism merges with Dominican iconography. For instance, the Annunciation motif with which the whole ensemble is capped, brings Giacomo’s cult in line with one of Venice’s foremost religious traditions. As early as the thirteenth century, the Annunciation began to emerge as one of the principal symbols of Venice’s self-styled image; an image which saw itself as God’s favoured city.50 By the Venetians’ own definition, Venice was a city born in Christian liberty and thus the date of March 25, the feast of the Annunciation, was annexed to commemorate its own foundation.51 On the tomb, the Annunciation declared the Venetians’ indelible bond with and devotion to Giacomo, their native saint. To anchor the Annunciation theme, which was only beginning to enter into Venice’s civic iconography at this time, the most potent Marcian symbol, the lion of St. Mark, was added to the triangular terminations of the monument’s lid. With the Venetian rhetoric in place, Giacomo’s monument projects Venice’s civic ideals (its virtues, piety and grace), with Giacomo himself providing additional proof of the city’s privileged status in the hierarchy of celestial favourites.
- 52 [ampli<fi>cet statum Venetiarum] from Sorelli (1985), 40-41.
38What is surprising about this commission is that for all practical purposes Giacomo’s cult was not Venetian at all but Forlivesi. By the time of his death, Giacomo had spent most of his life in Forlì, and it was the Forlivesi who flocked to his grave and received his thaumaturgic grace upon his death. Typically, regardless of the figure’s birthplace, it is the locality in which he or she lives and works and especially the place where he or she dies that becomes associated with, and indeed reaps the benefits of, a cult. Nevertheless, evidently the Venetian government considered this cult a significant feature of Venice’s identity and by its patronage obviously meant to claim some degree of ownership, despite its base in Forlì. As stated in a 1314 deliberation from the Great Council at Venice, the monument was not only meant to honour God, the Virgin and all the saints but to “exalt the state of Venice”; an objective evident in its iconography.52
39Giacomo’s tomb is striking precisely because of this explicit government funding and civic imagery, which is not matched in any other monument to a contemporary beato in Venice itself, and it throws into sharp relief the government’s neglect of local cults in its own city. But why would the Venetian government go to so much trouble financing and transporting a huge monument to a former citizen whose relics and cult belonged to another city? More to the point, given that they had the means financially and artistically, why did they not lavish the same attention on local Venetian cults in Venice? By looking at the three figures who were celebrated in official commissions, a number of conclusions can be drawn.
40The cases of Gerardo, Pietro and Giacomo are unique in the history of late-mediaeval devotion in Venice. As demonstrated, these are the only local saints and beati recognised by the Venetian government with public commissions. Moreover, it is significant that in all three cases, the relics of the holy men so honoured, were not located in Venice at the time of their commissions. Without their relics a personality cult could not develop which could detract from the State cult of St. Mark and potentially weaken the power of the government, which is indelibly linked to it. Furthermore, the insistence on an ideal of balance and partnership in politics and society, in which no one figure was raised above another, was not undermined. The Venetians seem to have taken the opportunity of distance to capitalise on the glory that could be gained from celebrating their own holy citizens. Both Gerardo and Pietro were included in the larger San Marco programme as symbols of Venice’s unique relationship with God and its preferential place and role in the divine plan. By fashioning their stories into Venetian history, the two figures, just like doge Trevisan and innumerable other exemplary Venetians, became tools for the glorification of the Republic rather than objects of glorification themselves. Despite the celebratory nature of the monument, Giacomo’s sepulchre likewise became a platform from which to announce Venice’s greatness to a broader audience and a way to reinforce the city’s perceived preferential status in the hierarchy of heaven’s favourites. With great care and competency, in all three cases, the Venetian government managed to proclaim its civic myth to a receptive audience without upsetting a finely-balanced status quo.
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Anon., ‘Passio beatissimi Gerardi episcopi et martiris’, in Il Leggendario di San Marco, (c. 1240), vol. III, 15 September to 21 December, Bib. Naz. Marc., Cod. Marc. Lat., Cl. IX - XXVIII (2798).
Anon., “Vita Beati Iacobi de Venetiis”, 31 Maii, Acta Sanctorum, VI, Cambridge, 1999, COL. 460-474.
Bonoli, Istorie della citta di Forlì intrecciate di varii accidenti della Romagna e dell’Italia, Forlì, 1661.
Cobelli, L., ‘Cronaca Forlivesi’, (1498), in G. Carcucci and E. Frati (eds.), Croniche forlivesi dalla fondazione della citta sino all’anno 1498, Bologna, 1874.
Da Canale, M., ‘Chronique des Veniciens/Cronaca dei Veneziani’ (1267) in G. Galvini (ed.), Archivio Storico Italiano, vol. VIII, Florence, 1845.
Damian, P., ‘Vita Beati Romualdi’, (11th century), G. Tabacco (ed.), Vita Beati Romualdi, Rome, 1957.
Dandolo, A., ‘Chronica per extensum descripta’, (1340-50), in E. Pastorello (ed.), Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. 12, part I, Bologna, 1937.
Diacono, G., ‘Cronaca Veneta’ in M. de Biasi (ed.), La Cronaca Veneziana di Giovanni Diacono (c. 1008), Venice, ND.
Mazzatinti, G., (ed.), “Annales Forolivienses ab origine urbis usque ad annum MCCCCLXXIII”, in L. A. Muratori (ed.), Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. 22, parte 2, Città di Castello, 1903.
Spathafora Di Moncato, M. Bartolomeo, Quattro Orationi, Venice, 1554.
Arnaldi, G., ‘Andrea Dandolo Doge-Cronista’, in A. Pertusi (ed.), La storiografia veneziana fino al secolo XVI. Aspetti e problemi, Florence, 1970, 127-268.
Caby, C., Faire du monde un ermitage: Pietro Orseolo, doge et ermite, in M. Lauwers (ed.) Guerriers et moines. Conversion et sainteté aristocratiques dans l'Occident médiéval (IXe-XIIe siècle), Nice, 2002, p. 349-368 available on http://fermi.univr.it/rm/biblioteca/scaffale/Download/Autori_C/RM-Caby-Pietro%20Orseolo.zip
Crouzet-Pavan, E., La mort lente de Torcello. Histoire d’une cité disparue, Paris, 1995.
Demus, O., The Mosaics of San Marco in Venice, 2, The Thirteenth Century, Chicago and London, 1984.
Demus, O., The Mosaic Decoration of San Marco Venice, H. Kessler (ed.), Chicago and London, 1988.
Fasoli, G., ‘I fondamenti della storiografia veneziana’, in A. Pertusi (ed.), La storiografia veneziana fino al secolo XVI. Aspetti e problemi. Florence, 1970, 31-44.
Fiderer-Moscowitz, A., Nicola Pisano’s Arca di San Domenico and its Legacy, University Park, Pennsylvania, 1994.
Fortini Brown, P., Venice and Antiquity. The Venetian Sense of the Past, New Haven, 1996.
Foschi, M. and G. Viroli, Il San Domenico di Forlì. La Chiesa, il luogo, la citta. Forlì, 1991.
Grubb, J., ‘Elite Citizens’ in J. Martin and D. Romano (eds.) Venice Reconsidered: the History and Civilization of an Italian City-State 1297-1997, Baltimore and London, 2000, 339-64.
Hussey, J. (ed.), The Cambridge Medieval History, Vol IV, part I, Cambridge, 1966.
Maguire, H., The Icons of their Bodies. Saints and their Images in Byzantium, Princeton, 1996.
Mancin, P., ‘Gerardo Vescovo di Csanád tra Venezia e Ungheria’, Università degli studi di Venezia, 1989-90.
Maranini, G., La costituzione di Venezia. Dalle origini alla serrata del Maggior Consiglio, 2 vols. Florence, 1974.
Mazzucco, G., Ritratto dell’uomo di Dio. San Gerardo Sagredo vescovo di Csanád e martire, Padua, 2000.
Muir, E., Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice, Princeton, 1981.
Niero, A., ‘Santi di Torcello e di Eraclea tra storia e leggenda’, in G. Musolino (ed.), Santi e beati veneziani: quaranta profili, Venice, 1963.
Pincus, D., ‘Andrea Dandolo (1343-1354) and Visible History: the San Marco Projects’, in C. Rosenberg, Art and Politics in late Medieval and Early Renaissance Italy: 1250-1500, Notre Dame, 1990, 191-206.
Pincus, D., ‘Geografia e Politica nel battistero di San Marco: la cupola degli apostoli’, in C. Striker et al (eds.), Architectural Studies in Memory of Richard Krautheimer, , Mainz, 1996, 459-73.
Pincus, D., ‘Hard Times and Ducal Radiance: Andrea Dandolo and the Construction of the Ruler in Fourteenth-Century Venice’, in J. Martin and D. Romano (eds.) Venice Reconsidered: the History and Civilization of an Italian City-State 1297-1997, Baltimore and London, 2000, 89-129.
Pincus, D., The Tombs of the Doges of Venice, Cambridge, 2000.
Sorelli, F., ‘L’atteggiamento del governo veneziano verso gli ordini mendicanti dalle deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio (secolo XIII-XIV), Le venezie francescane, 2 (1985), 37-47.
Tramontin, S., ‘Breve storia dell’agiografia veneziana’, in S. Tramontin et al (eds.), Culto dei Santi a Venezia, Venice, 1965, 17-40.
Tramontin, S., ‘Cataloghi dei santi veneziani’, in G. Musolini et al (eds.), Santi e beati veneziani: quaranta profili, Venice, 1963, 19-61.
Tramontin, S., ‘Problemi agiografici e profile di Santi’, in F. Tonon (ed.), La Chiesa di Venezia nei secoli XI-XIII, Venice, 1988, 153-160.
Verdon, T., ‘Il Battistero: Arte e Teologia’, in B. Bertoli (ed.), La Basilica di San Marco: Arte e Simbologia, Venice, 1993, 73-88.
Wolters, W., La scultura veneziana gotica (1300-1460), II, Venice, 1976.
[‘…questa città fece miracolosamente sotto Cristo nascere; nel dí della sua salutifera incarnation fondare;…[e] del latte Apostolico nodrire;…’]. M. Bartolomeo Spathafora di Moncato, Quattro Orationi, Venice, 1554, 17-18.
[…il non picciolo numero de’ santi huomini, da questa città santificata prodotti…]. Spathafora (1554), 17.
[Et lasciando stare molti Dogi, che dalle sante radici della Repub. Santi nel suo principio germogliarono; non è anco gran te[m]po che di Venetia nacque quel Santo Vescovo, anzi santiss[imo] martire Gierardo Sagredo …Fu nobile Venetiano ancora il beato Lion Be[m]bo…Quindi uscì al mondo, et quello ornò quel beatiss[imo] Vescovo Francesco Quirini, quel’ santiss[imo] patriarca pur di Venetia Laure[n]zo Giustiniano,…Pietro Barozzi…il beato Gio[vanni] Piovan di Santo Gio[vanni] Decollato, il beato Paolo Martire, e quel’ardentiss[imo] vaso di Carità Girolamo Maini…[e] oltre infiniti altri…la cui santità, la quale buona parte hebbero dalla patria ricevuta, si vede come di sante leggi, e Cristiani instituti sia la Repub[b]lica ordinata; e come di Dio libera dal suo principio quieta unita, e fiore[n]tissima sia conservata…questa città, adunque, la quale veramente patria di santi dir si può…]. Spathafora (1554), 18.
The data for this number has been culled from a number of inventories and lists of Venetian saints and beati made after Spathafora’s 1554 oration, including G. Fiamma (1583 and 1645), G. Tiepolo (1623), F. Porta (1633), A. de’Vescovi (1698), and F. Corner (1749 and 1758). For the most part, the rare lists which do exist from the fourteenth and fifteenth century do not include local Venetians, save San Gerardo. See, for example, compilations of saints’ lives by P. Calò (c. 1330) and P. di Natali (1369). On these catalogues see S. Tramontin, ‘Breve storia dell’agiografia veneziana’, in S. Tramontin et al (eds.), Culto dei Santi a Venezia, Venice, 1965, 17-40; and idem, ‘Cataloghi dei santi veneziani’, in G. Musolini et al (eds.), Santi e beati veneziani: quaranta profili, Venice, 1963, 19-61.
The examples of such civic cults are innumerable. The cults dedicated to Margherita in Cortona, Anthony in Padua and Catherine in Siena are apt examples of the type.
See H. Maguire, The Icons of their Bodies. Saints and their Images in Byzantium, Princeton, 1996, on the standard attributes and symbolism in the portrait-types of Byzantine saints.
St. Gerard, martyr and bishop.
O. Demus, The Mosaics of San Marco in Venice, 2, The Thirteenth Century, Chicago and London, 1984, 56; and idem, The Mosaic Decoration of San Marco Venice, H. Kessler (ed.), Chicago and London, 1988, 120-21.
Anon., ‘Passio beatissimi Gerardi episcopi et martiris’, in Il Leggendario di San Marco, (c. 1240), vol. III, 15 September to 21 December, Bib. Naz. Marc., Cod. Marc. Lat., Cl. IX - XXVIII (2798) [hereafter ‘Passio Gerardi’ (1240)]. For a comprehensive study on the many biographies dedicated to Gerardo, including comparative analyses on different versions of the Vitae, see P. Mancin who transcribes the San Marco Passio Gerardi in a critical edition of his unpublished thesis ‘Gerardo Vescovo di Csanád tra Venezia e Ungheria’, Università degli studi di Venezia, 1989-90; also see G. Mazzucco, Ritratto dell’uomo di Dio. San Gerardo Sagredo vescovo di Csanád e martire, Padua, 2000.
On Gerardo, see: ‘Passio Gerardi’ (1240); Mancin, 1989-90; on Abraham see Gen. 26, 4-5.
Gen 12, 1-2. See also Mancin, 171, for Gerardo’s apparent obsession with the passage.
[Egressus itaque de cognatione sua tendebat ad orientam, ubi Habraam dives ac pater multarum gentium factus est; quatinus et ipse in Habrahe semine idem in Christo datam beneditionem peregrinationis sue labore incredulis Habraam possideret.] ‘Passio Gerardi’ (c. 1240), f. I; Mancin, 171-72.
In the Old Testament, after Abraham’s death, the Christian God is commonly referred to as ‘the God of Abraham’. See, for instance, Gen. 24, 12; Gen. 26, 24; Ex.3, 6; Psalms 46, 10.
On the various interpretations on the legend of S. Magno, see E. Crouzet-Pavan, La mort lente de Torcello. Histoire d’une cité disparue, Paris, 1995, 61-65; and A. Niero, ‘Santi di Torcello e di Eraclea tra storia e leggenda’, in Le Origini della Chiesa di Venezia, F. Tonon (ed.), Venice, 1987, 61-66. On the cult of S. Magno at Venice, see G. Musolino et al, Santi e beati veneziani: quaranta profili, Venice, 1963, 87-93.
This story is first alluded to by Martino da Canale, ‘Chronique des Veniciens/Cronaca dei Veneziani’ (1267) in G. Galvini (ed.), Archivio Storico Italiano, vol. VIII, Florence, 1845, in the thirteenth century and fully-articulated in the first half of the fourteenth century by Andrea Dandolo, ‘Chronica per extensum descripta’, (1340-50), in E. Pastorello (ed.), Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. 12, part I, Bologna, 1937.
Mark 16, 15.
Debra Pincus highlights a later, but much more explicit, illustration of the decree in a mosaic depicting the Mission of the Apostles, commissioned for the Venetian baptistery at San Marco in the mid-trecento. See D. Pincus, ‘Geografia e Politica nel battistero di San Marco: la cupola degli apostoli’, Architectural Studies in Memory of Richard Krautheimer, C. Striker et al (ed.), Mainz, 1996, 459-73.
The monastic habit worn here is unusual in depictions of Pietro who, in later images, is most often represented either in the black Cluniac or white Camaldolite monastic habit or in his ducal robes. Although the depiction compares closely to Dominican attire, with the black mantle and white tunic, there is no visible hood and, furthermore, the Dominican habit is anachronistic and incongruous with Pietro’s known life and later associations.
‘Beato Pietro Orseolo, doge of Venice’.
See Andrea Dandolo, ‘Chronica per extensum descripta’, (1340-50), in E. Pastorello (ed.), Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. 12, part I, Bologna, 1937, 179-184. For excellent analyses of Andrea’s overall political strategy as revealed in the Chronica and reflected in his artistic commissions see D. Pincus, ‘Andrea Dandolo (1343-1354) and Visible History: the San Marco Projects’, in C. Rosenberg, Art and Politics in late Medieval and Early Renaissance Italy: 1250-1500, Notre Dame, 1990, 191-206; and more recently eadem, The Tombs of the Doges of Venice, Cambridge, 2000, especially chapter 8; and eadem, ‘Hard Times and Ducal Radiance: Andrea Dandolo and the Construction of the Ruler in Fourteenth-Century Venice’, in J. Martin and D. Romano (eds.) Venice Reconsidered: the History and Civilization of an Italian City-State 1297-1997, Baltimore and London, 2000, 89-129.
Giovanni Diacono, ‘Cronaca Veneta’ in M. de Biasi (ed.), La Cronaca Veneziana di Giovanni Diacono (c. 1008), Venice, ND [hereafter John the Deacon (1008)]. On the authorship of the text see G. Fasoli, ‘I fondamenti della storiografia veneziana’, in La storiografia veneziana fino al secolo XVI. Aspetti e problemi. A. Pertusi (ed.), Florence, 1970, 31-44. For an indispensable analysis of the extant sources relating to Pietro, see C. Caby, Faire du monde un ermitage: Pietro Orseolo, doge et ermite, in M. Lauwers (ed.) Guerriers et moines. Conversion et sainteté aristocratiques dans l'Occident médiéval (IXe-XIIe siècle), Nice, 2002, p. 349-368 also available on http://fermi.univr.it/rm/biblioteca/scaffale/Download/Autori_C/RM-Caby-Pietro%20Orseolo.zip; also view S. Tramontin, ‘Problemi agiografici e profile di Santi’, in F. Tonon (ed.), La Chiesa di Venezia nei secoli XI-XIII, Venice, 1988, 153-160.
See J. Hussey (ed.), The Cambridge Medieval History, Vol IV, part I, Cambridge, 1966, 265-68, for an historical account of the uprising.
[...die XII augusti, in ducatus honorem sublimare decreverunt, qui, a puerile etate, nil aliud quam Deo placer studens, ad tante dignitaits provectum scandere contepnebat, timens re, secularis honoris ambicione, propositum amitteret sanctitatis...] Dandolo (c. 1340-50), 180.
[...non humano favour, sed tocius rei publice comoda huiusmodi principatus apicem accipere non recusavit,...] Dandolo (c. 1340-50), 184.
The comment is made in the context the biography of Romuald, founder of the Camaldolite Order. Peter Damian, ‘Vita Beati Romualdi’, (11th century), G. Tabacco (ed.), Vita Beati Romualdi, Rome, 1957.
Two tribunes and a doge originally ruled the Venetian state from 811, in order to safeguard the city’s Republican prerogative. The enduring concerns of the Republic for social and political stability, especially through its exemplary and egalitarian society, are discussed in G. Maranini, La costituzione di Venezia. Dalle origini alla serrata del Maggior Consiglio, 2 vols. Florence, 1974, 21-68 and more recently in J. Grubb, ‘Elite Citizens’ in J. Martin and D. Romano (eds.) Venice Reconsidered: the History and Civilization of an Italian City-State 1297-1997, Baltimore and London, 2000, 339-64.
The pala gems are generally dated to the twelfth century and thus could not have been part of an earlier commission by Pietro Orseolo. Both Andrea Dandolo and John the Deacon however list the commission among the good deeds of Pietro Orseolo. See Dandolo (1340-50), 180; and John the Deacon (1008), 87.
Dandolo (c. 1340-50), 184.
The emergence of the doge as a civic hero grounded in historical fact is another example of the Venetian penchant for documenting history, real or fabled. See P. Fortini Brown, Venice and Antiquity. The Venetian Sense of the Past, New Haven, 1996, esp. prologue and chapter one.
Timothy Verdon analyses the Venetian Baptistery’s iconographic meaning in relation to the rest of the Basilica in ‘Il Battistero: Arte e Teologia’, in B. Bertoli (ed.), La Basilica di San Marco: Arte e Simbologia, Venice, 1993, 73-88.
I am indebted to the ideas developed by Debra Pincus (1990; Tombs, 2000; and ‘Hard Times’, 2000) for this analysis of Pietro Orseolo’s image, which, not surprisingly given its proximity to the other two within the Baptistery space is very closely aligned.
D. Pincus links the praedestinatio message and the allusions to the dogal role to the two other instances where the dogal presence is felt in the Baptistery, the Soranzo tomb and the Crucifixion mosaic, although she does not discuss the Pietro Orseolo image. See ‘Hard Times’, 2000, and Tombs, 2000.
On the messages inherent in the Mission of the Apostles mosaic in the Venetian Baptistery see Pincus, (1996), 459-73.
[Et Dio per la sua misericordia e divina gratia inlumina si la mente de zaschun doxe, cavo, e Rettor de quella che el stado sempre accressa, et amplificha e che cadaun reze, e governa, e mantegna segondo el stado suo]. See E. Dandolo, Cronaca Veneta dall’origine sino all’1373, BMC, Cod. Cic., 2831, c. 6r. as quoted in Pincus, ‘Hard Times’, (2000), 103.
On Andrea’s tendency to amplify the role of the doge in his record of Venetian history, see Pincus (1990) and idem (‘Hard Times’, 2000) and G. Arnaldi, ‘Andrea Dandolo Doge-Cronista’, La storiografia veneziana fino al secolo XVI. Aspetti e problemi, A. Pertusi (ed.), Florence, 1970, 132-39, 189-90.
Niero in Musolino, (1963), 111.
A. Fiderer-Moskowitz, Nicola Pisano’s Arca di San Domenico and its Legacy, University Park, Pennsylvania, 1994, 20-24. Through visual analogy to the Domincan’s main platform for preaching (the pulpit), the design was meant to call to mind the primary mission of the Order of preachers to counter heresy through the teaching of the true word of God.
With this marble the tomb preserves Friar Jacobus/Giacomo He was the sum of all virtues, whom Livia gave to you as a father, and glory to the Venetians from whom he descended, With his virginal virtues he earned heavenly kingdom. Domenico, Pietro, Tomaso of his blessed order rejoice because psalms are sung in heaven for their companion He banished tumours, arthritises, fevers and headaches and other morbid furies of the mind Forli, Rejoice! now pray on your own behalf to him who asks from the Father and the Son together with the Holy Spirit. [Hoc Jacobum tumulus conservat marmore fratrem virtutum cumulus quem dat tibi Livia patrem gloriaque Venetis cuiatibus est oriundus virgineis meritis meruit cele / stia mundus huius dominicus petrus thomas ordinis almi gaudent quod / socio cantantur in ethere psalmi cancros arteticas febres captisque dolores propulit atque alios morbos mentis furores forlivium baude pro te nunc preside tanto qui / patrem natumque rogat cum pneumate sancto.]
W. Wolters, La scultura veneziana gotica (1300-1460), II, Venice, 1976, 164.
On the death and cult of Giacomo in Forlì see anon., “Vita Beati Iacobi de Venetiis”, 31 Maii, Acta Sanctorum, VI, Cambridge, 1999, col. 470; Niero in Musolino (1963), 162-63.
Niero in Musolino (1963), 162-3.
M. Foschi and G.Viroli, Il San Domenico di Forlì. La Chiesa, il luogo, la citta. Forlì, 1991, 123; Niero in Musolino (1963), 163. The length of silk measures 304 x 122 cms and is held at the Cathedral in Forlì.
See Foschi and Viroli, 123-4.
P. Bonoli, Istorie della citta di Forlì intrecciate di varii accidenti della Romagna e dell’Italia, Forlì, 1661, 87 and 443, mentions the erection of the chapel in Giacomo’s honour in 1340 and suggests that the arca was sent to Forlì at this time.
[Li veniciani e lor signorie, subito fecero fare una bella sepoltura de marmo fino con molti belli petri, marmi loppi de diasperi, e mandolla ai Forlivio: ove fo messo el dicto beato con lictere intagliate intorno; e poi e cito popolo forlovesco con processioni sepellì el dicto beato.] L. Cobelli, ‘Cronaca Forlivesi’, (1498), Croniche forlivesi dalla fondazione della citta sino all’anno 1498, G. Carcucci and E. Frati (eds.), Bologna, 1874, 87 and 443. Another anonymous fifteenth-century chronicler writes that by 1317 Beato Giacomo of Venice was buried in a marble sepulchre in the church of the Preaching friars of Forlì. G. Mazzatinti (ed.), “Annales Forolivienses ab origine urbis usque ad annum MCCCCLXXIII”, in L. A. Muratori (ed.), Rerum Italicarum Scriptores, vol. 22, parte 2, Città di Castello, 1903, 63.
F. Sorelli, ‘L’atteggiamento del governo veneziano verso gli ordini mendicanti dalle deliberazioni del Maggior Consiglio (secolo XIII-XIV), Le venezie francescane, 2 (1985), 40-41.
Fiderer-Moskovitz, 20-24; Wolters, 164.
[HOC JACOBUM TUMULUS CONSERVAT MARMORE FRATREM VIRTUTUM CUMULUS QUEM DAT TIBI LIVIA PATREM GLORIAQUE VENETIS CUIATIBUS EST ORIUNDUS].
The chronicles of John the Deacon (1008) and Martino da Canale (1267) amply show the endurance of the idea.
E. Muir, Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice, Princeton, 1981, 70-71, elaborates on the ritual significance and political implications of the chosen date 25 March.
[ampli<fi>cet statum Venetiarum] from Sorelli (1985), 40-41.Haut de page