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By Lisa Pon

In 1428, a devastating fireplace destroyed a schoolhouse within the northern Italian urban of Forlì, leaving just a woodcut of the Madonna and baby that were tacked to the study room wall. the folk of Forlì carried that print - referred to now because the Madonna of the hearth - into their cathedral, the place centuries later a brand new chapel used to be outfitted to enshrine it. during this ebook, Lisa Pon considers a cascade of moments within the Madonna of the Fire's cultural biography: whilst ink used to be inspired onto paper at a now-unknown date; whilst that sheet was once well-known by means of Forlì's humans as brilliant; while it used to be enshrined in a variety of tabernacles and chapels within the cathedral; whilst it or one in all its copies was once - and nonetheless is - carried in procession. In doing so, Pon bargains an test in paintings historic inquiry that spans greater than 3 centuries of constructing, remaking, and renewal.

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63 Bezzi correctly indicates the icon’s general pictorial organization, with the Madonna and Child at center, surrounded by other holy figures, and he explicitly links the prominently placed sun and the moon to its thaumaturgic power to provide sun or rain as needed by its devotees. “SURROUNDED BY SOME OTHER SAINTS’ FIGURES” Bezzi’s mention of King Solomon references the rarely depicted motif of Solomon at repose from the Song of Songs: Behold threescore valiant ones of the most valiant of Israel surrounded the bed of Solomon!

Photo: Alinari / Art involving the icon of Christ that was taken out of the Sancta Sanctorum in the Lateran Palace for these occasions. 122 Thus, the Salus Populi Romani had an established cult for centuries before Forlı`’s Madonna of the Fire did. The Roman icon is also centuries older: a date of the late sixth or early seventh century is accepted by many scholars, following Gerhard Wolf,123 and its legendary origin is even earlier still. 124 The legend of manufacture by a saintly artist, who in some versions is given angelic aid in coloring, lends to these Lucan Imprint: Paper, Print, and Matrix 17.

The “pronounced archaism” at the heart of the Madonna of the Fire noted by Lionello Venturi is one such visual means through which the quotation is marked. An incongruous gesture within the quoted image is another such means, one that may indicate not just the icon’s age but also its ability to intercede or answer prayers. A triptych painted by Bernardo Daddi now in the Getty Museum quotes the Marian icon known as the Madonna di Bagnolo in a central panel, flanked by wings showing Saint Thomas Aquinas at left and Saint Paul at right (Fig.

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