Preaching, Law and Image in Quattrocento Florence

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Giambologna’s bronze reliefs in the Salviati Chapel in Florence’s church of San Marco, dating from 1581 to 1587, illustrate the life of Archbishop Antoninus (Antonino Pierozzi), who was active in Florence in the mid-fifteenth century. The first scene in the series of six bronze reliefs depicts St. Antoninus Receiving the Dominican Habit from the Blessed Giovanni Dominici. Antoninus appears as a young boy kneeling before his spiritual mentor, Giovanni Dominici (1356-1419), another famous Dominican preacher; two groups of spectators, lay and ecclesiastical, are observing the event. According to Antoninus’ biographers, as a young boy he was much fascinated by Dominici’s sermons, which led him to appeal to Dominici to let him join the Dominican order. Concerned about Antoninus’ tender age, Dominici decided to test him; he gave him the task of learning Gratian’s Decretum by heart. After a year, Antoninus was examined by Dominici and was able to convince him of his true faith. Dominici then gave the habit to Antoninus – the scene depicted on the relief. This paper shall address the interrelationships between canon law and public preaching as expressed in the activities of two celebrated Dominican preachers Giovanni Dominici and Antoninus Pierozzi in fifteenth century Florence. It will examine a variety of sources including sermons and visual images to address the close connections between canon law and preaching as expressed in literary exempla used in sermons and in images showing the spectacle of popular preaching.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReti Medievali Rivista
Subtitle of host publicationVerbum e ius- Preaching and Legal Frameworks in the Middle Ages
EditorsLaura Gaffuri, Rosa Maria Parrinello
Place of PublicationFirenze
PublisherFirenze University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)978-88-6453-809-9
ISBN (Print)978-88-6453-808-2
StatePublished - 2018


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