In early modern Italian art, the blood shed by Christ was an important feature of paintings of the Passion. In contrast, in non-narrative portraits and even in narrative scenes, when artists depicted saints, they often omitted the blood that would have been spilt during their tortures and martyrdom. However, there are three saints whose iconography does not follow the general pattern: St Sebastian, St Francis, and St Peter of Verona. The conformity of each of these saints to the figure of an alter Christus may account for this very different iconography.
Christ is the figure most commonly associated with blood in early modern Italian art. (1) Painters drew on the five occasions that Christ shed blood: at his circumcision; in the Garden of Gethsemane; during the flagellation; at the crucifixion; and at the opening of his side by Longinus. Paintings of Christ on the Cross and as the Man of Sorrows are among the most consistently bloody images in Christian art. Blood piety was a means through which worshippers could contemplate the effect of their sins and articulate their devotion, and depictions of Christs bloody wounds provided viewers with a powerful visual focus for emotional and affective responses. The blood hyphen between Christs first and last wounds represents the beginning and end of his human existence. (2) In paintings of Christs Passion, his salvific blood was the most compelling symbol of his incarnation and sacrifice, and in popular textual sources his physical agonies and the shedding of his sacrificial blood are recurrent themes for contemplation. The account of the Passion in the Legenda Aurea, for example, enumerates Christ s multiple sufferings in explicit detail. (3) In the early fourteenth-century Meditations on the Life of Christ, (4) the devout reader is immersed in affective descriptions of Christ's afflicted, bruised, and pain-racked body. The reader is invited to participate in intense meditations on Christs agony: on his 'consecrated blood dripp[ing] copiously from all parts of His body'; on his head 'full of thorns' that is made to 'run with blood'; and on the 'rivers of His most sacred blood flow[ing] from His terrible wounds'. (5) In early modern Christianity, the sufferings of Christ the Redeemer needed to be manifest, and in their contemplation of them worshippers attained a spiritual and physical understanding of the implications of Christ's sacrifice.
Images of Christ and his sacred blood, however, were not the only means through which the faithful sought to reduce the distance between the human and the divine. Many saints, in addition to being venerated, were seen as familiar and accessible intercessors through which to solicit heavenly intervention. (6) And in their sufferings and tortures, many martyrs shed the blood that for Tertullian was the seed of the church (7) and the key to paradise. (8) However, in early modern textual and visual sources, references to the blood spilt by saints and martyrs are often merely token or even absent. By looking at some Italian examples, this article briefly examines the marked absence of blood in many depictions of saints before focusing on three saints who are exceptions, and who are regularly associated with blood in visual images.
Hagiographies are replete with descriptions of saintly trials and torments but, in many of the early sources cited in the Acta Sanctorum (a compilation of saints' lives and legends begun by a Jesuit scholar in the early seventeenth century) and in the Legenda Aurea, the responses of the saints to these sufferings--and the blood that would have been shed--are rarely described. (9) The legends of the virgin martyr, St Agatha, collated in the Acta Sanctorum, for instance, record that the saint welcomed the pains of the rack as a delight and, following the seemingly bloodless removal of her breasts, dismissed the violation by declaring that in her soul her breasts were unharmed. (10) The multiple torments of St Vincent who was racked, mutilated, had his entrails forced out and his ribs dislocated, and was finally roasted in a fire are described in considerable detail in the Legenda Aurea; however, not only did he reprove his tormentors for being too slow, but the reference to the loss of his blood is perfunctory. (11) Early accounts of the breaking of St Apollonia's jaw and teeth generally leave out any reference to blood. (12)
Even in legends of saints who were beheaded, descriptions of the gushing blood that would have accompanied decapitation are frequently omitted. Several versions of Bartholomew's death are related in the Legenda Aurea but blood is absent not only from each version of his flaying but also from his beheading. (13) Similarly, no blood is mentioned in the account of the beheading of St John the Baptist, (14) or the manifold tortures and ultimate beheading of Cosmas and Damian. (15) An interesting tradition surrounds the beheading of St Catherine of Alexandria from whose head milk, not blood, flowed, (16) and St Paul who, when decapitated, gave forth milk before blood. His severed head was so miraculously unharmed that it spoke Christ's name. (17)
An explanation for the lack of emphasis in hagiographie texts on a saint's suffering--and any loss of blood--lies in the particular nature of saintly torture. Christs suffering for humanity is fundamental to his sacrifice, as it is only through his suffering that mankind can be redeemed. In contrast, a defining component of saints' legends is the demonstration of a saints manifest indifference to pain and torment: saints and martyrs needed to be seen to embrace and even to welcome affliction as a testament to their faith and intercessory powers.
When we examine visual images in early modern Italian art, we find a similar pattern: artists also frequently omitted signs of blood in images of saints and martyrs. Paintings of the penitent St Jerome, for example, typically depict the saint in a rocky wilderness kneeling before a cross or a crucifix and beating his chest with a stone; however, blood is rarely seen on his chest. Images of tortured and martyred saints figure prominently in polyptych altarpieces and as adjunct figures in single panel sacre conversazioni ('holy conversations') where saints are grouped around the Virgin and child. When painters portrayed a saint whose primary attribute was associated with his or her suffering, blood was rarely a feature of the iconography. Characteristically, St Agatha is depicted holding her severed but bloodless breasts ceremonially on a plate; St Lucy presents her bloodless eyes in a dish; and St Bartholomew's knife is rarely bloodied. In these instances, the genre is the decorous formal 'portrait', in which the saintly figures are presented in an essentially heroic guise.
Even more rarely do these paintings depict the agonising deaths suffered by many saints. Instead, painters generally preferred to illustrate the martyr's heroic stoicism, or the moments of divine intervention and attainment of sainthood. Nonetheless, in many narrative scenes of the trials undergone by saints, the absence of blood is notable. (18) In the panel painting of the Martyrdom of St Matthew, Jacopo and Andrea di Cione depict a soldier stabbing the praying saint but do not include any blood. (19) Domenico Veneziano's predella of the stabbing to death of St Lucy captures the moment that the knife penetrates her neck but shows no blood. (20) Martyrdoms of St Ursula are not common in early modern Italian art, but an example is found in a fresco cycle in a small pieve in the Veneto: the saint has an arrow in her neck but no blood is seen. (21) Even images of the flaying of St Bartholomew do not always include the blood that would have poured from his body, as for example in Giovanni dal Ponte's 1434 fresco in the Scali chapel, Santa Trinita in Florence and an altarpiece by Niccolo di Liberatore. (22) Francesco Granacci's painting, the Martyrdom of Sant'Apollonia, (23) and Sebastiano del Piombo s 1519 painting of a near-nude St Agatha having her breasts torn off are quite bloodless. The focus of the latter work is the saint's beautiful and virginal body, not her cruel death. (24) Similarly, blood is generally absent in artistic representations of the stoning of St Stephen, as frescoes by Bernardo Daddi, (25) and Andrea di Giusto, (26) and a 1520 painting by Vittore Carpaccio demonstrate. (27)
When depicting the beheading of a saint, painters frequently chose to focus on the moment before execution, for example, the executioner with his sword raised and the saint innocently kneeling in prayer. Even when a saints body was depicted after a beheading, blood was not always a feature as, for example, in Andrea de' Bartoli's fresco of the Beheading of St Catherine of Alexandria (c. 1368) in the Basilica of St Francis, Assisi; Bicci di Lorenzo s Beheading of St Donatus; (28) and Francesco da Milano's early sixteenth-century fresco, Beheading of John the Baptist in the Presbytery of San Pietro e San Paolo, Castello di Roganzuolo, Treviso. (29) Notwithstanding these examples, the majority of images of saintly decapitations in early modern Italy are usually bloody affairs. It is possible that artists considered that a severed head without its issuing blood strained credulity too far. As necessary components of the narrative of a saint's life, such scenes commonly appear in small predellas and side panels and, as has been noted, in manuscript miniatures. (30) Less commonly are they the major focus of panel works or altarpieces.
Although blood featured more prominently in artworks following the Counter-Reformation, and despite the fact that its absence was not a consistent tradition in northern iconography, it seems that early modern Italian artists were often reluctant to include blood in works depicting the tortures of saints and martyrs. The lack of blood was part of the constructed narratives surrounding the saints, and served as an effective indicator of saintly indifference to suffering.
A subject that has rarely been the subject of art historical inquiry, however, is that a visual iconography regularly associated with blood did develop for three particular saints: St Sebastian (in certain roles), St Francis, and St Peter of Verona. This article offers the hypothesis that the different iconography of these three saints lies in their identification as alter Christus, which is given expression through an association with blood, the most sacred issue of Christ that denoted his sacrifice and the redemption of mankind. In the hierarchy of intermediary figures, a saint with the rare status of 'another Christ' was an empathetic and affective focus for devotion and intercession, and when these saintly figures were presented as alter Christus in early modern Italian painting, a prominent feature of their iconography was blood.
The concept of alter Christus is seldom defined. In a recent publication looking at some early figures seen as 'the other Christs', Candida Moss fails to distinguish effectively between the terms 'imitatio Christi' and 'alter Christus'. (31) In considering its application in art, Henk van Os has argued that the nature of the alter Christus needs a 'more precise definition' and relates it to the idea of a mystic finding an identity in another, or being acclaimed as such by others. (32) While Os was primarily concerned with paintings of St Francis as an orant, he argued that narrative scenes of the saint were also illustrative of the theme of Francis as a second Christ. (33) Donal Cooper observes that although the term has a 'shared understanding' among Franciscan scholars it is 'rarely defined'; (34) nevertheless, he acknowledges its common use in medieval textual sources. (35) One dimension of the concept of the alter Christus lies in the identification as prefiguring 'types' of Christ of such Old Testament figures as Abel, Jonah, and David. This identification, made in both art and texts, significantly influenced the iconography of these figures. The later application of the term 'another Christ' to a select group of Christian saints is largely in line with this tradition. It would seem that for a saint to be accorded the status of alter Christus, a perception or attribution by others that goes beyond conscious--or even unconscious--imitation was required. Further to this observation, is the rarely explored question of the association between a saint depicted as another Christ and a visual iconography involving blood.
I. St Sebastian
St Sebastian is a complex figure in art, functioning in a number of propitiatory and exemplary roles, not all of which are mutually exclusive. To varying degrees, the presence or absence of blood in paintings of the saint is an artefact of these roles.
According to the Legenda Aurea, Sebastian was a Roman soldier who converted to Christianity and persuaded others to seek a martyr's death. (36) Diocletian had him bound and shot at by Roman archers--until 'he was so filled with arrows he seemed like a hedgehog' (37)--and then left for dead. In Ambrose's earlier account, we learn that Sebastian was found by the widow Irene and nursed back to life. (38) Following this 'resurrection', the Emperor had him clubbed to death and thrown in the Cloaca Maxima, the great sewer of ancient Rome.
Artists portrayed the saint in a number of roles, many of which are conspicuous for the lack of blood. Although the present article is concerned with paintings that show St Sebastian as a bloodied figure, to contextualise these works, paintings of the saint from other visual traditions need to be briefly noted. In paintings such as Antonello da Messina's St Sebastian (c. 1478), for example, Sebastian embodies the triumph of Christianity over paganism. The saint stands near a broken classical column that clearly references the defeat of the classical world; three arrows pierce his body but the wounds show little blood. (39) In Andrea Mantegna's St Sebastian (c. 1480), now in the Louvre, the small trickles of blood are incidental: Mantegna's intention here was to reference the paragone, the saint s stoicism and faith, and the Christian victory over the pagan world. (40)
Other images involve Sebastian in a celebration of the beauty of the male nude. The increasing interest in the Renaissance in the heroic proportions and comeliness of the male body frequently resulted in a tension between the ostensibly devotional or pious characteristics of the work and the erotic or homoerotic effect. Giorgio Vasari famously recounted the story of a painting of St Sebastian by Fra Bartolommeo eliciting such a sensuous response from women that it had to be removed from its position in church. (41) The Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1473-75) painted for the Pucci Chapel by Piero and Antonio Pollaiuolo is a fine example of the type of painting that celebrates the male figure and demonstrates painterly virtuosity (see Figure 1). (42) Of the two closest figures to the viewer, one is gratuitously naked, the other--seemingly in flesh-toned hose--presents enticingly curvaceous buttocks. Notwithstanding the penetrating arrows, Sebastians body is essentially bloodless. (43)
Sebastian also had an important role as a plague saint, (44) and in paintings often accompanies saints Roch and Job as plague intercessors. In such works, his wounds frequently show little blood. Some illustrative examples are Andrea da Muranos polyptych in the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice, (45) Giovanni Bellini's San Giobbe Altarpiece (1478-80), (46) Vincenzo Civerchio's St Roch and St Sebastian, (47) and Girolamo dai Libri's Saint Sebastian, St Roch and St Job (c. 1505). (48) In Gozzoli s great fresco in Sant Agostino, San Gimignano, St Sebastian Intercessor (1464), the saint's blood is of so little consequence to his role as a protector from the ravages of the plague that he is depicted fully clothed.
As an intercessory plague saint, Sebastian has also been seen by some as a type of Christ. (49) An aspect that seems not to have been considered, however, is the connection between the saints blood and his status as an alternative Christ.
The recognition of Sebastian as a saint with a special connection with Christ preceded perceptions of him as a plague intercessor. Ambrose, for example, makes no mention of the plague in his account of the saint; however, he draws parallels between St Sebastian and Christ in a number of ways. He records the saint's miraculous resurrection from the dead, and ascribes to Sebastian the words: 'My Lord Jesus Christ has deigned to raise me to this.' (50) The verb resuscitare ('to raise up) was specifically used by Christian writers in connection with the resurrection of the dead and, in particular, with Christ's resurrection. In Acts 2. 32 of the Vulgate, for example, Peter uses the verb to describe the resurrection of Christ: 'This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.' (51) A further association with Christ occurs in the final section of Ambrose's account where Sebastian is referred to as Christ's heir ('haeredem in Christo'). (52)
Images that reference Sebastian as a Christ figure do not necessarily do so to the exclusion of his other roles. Nonetheless, there is a considerable corpus of images that emphasise his Christological parallels, and it is in these works that painters typically depict Sebastian with bloody wounds. Paintings that portray the saint bound to a column, his body pierced with arrows, or that present his near-naked figure elevated above his tormentors are alluding to visual traditions associated with Christ's Passion. (53)
The painter known as the Master of Staffolo, who was probably a follower of Gentile da Fabriano, painted a double-sided processional panel the front of which is titled the Madonna della Misericordia (1449). (54) The Madonna is shown protecting a group of kneeling disciplinati whose bare, lacerated backs are turned towards the viewer. On the rear of the panel, the patron saints of Fabriano, John the Baptist, and Sebastian stand defensively over the walled city depicted in the background (see Figure 2). Sebastian is tied to a column with his hands bound behind him as though ready for the lash. His body is marked with multiple arrow wounds from which the blood flows freely. Like the penitents on the other side of the panel, he is a bloodied figure and there is an intricate relationship between penitence, flagellation, and blood. The penitents shed blood for their individual sins and seek the protection of the Madonna. Sebastian sheds the blood of martyrdom but, like Christ, he does so vicariously. Here, as a patronal figure, he bleeds for the population of Fabriano.
At Sant'Ambrogio in Florence, a fresco depicting the Martyrdom of St Sebastian, probably by Agnolo Gaddi, is sited above a side pulpit on the right-hand wall of the church. The saints hands are extended above him and tied to a column in a pose which, as Sheila Barker observes, is similar to that used by painters when portraying the flagellated Christ. (55) At the same time, the saints bloody and violated body is positioned on a small platform on a tall column that towers above the soldiers and onlookers grouped below in a manner typical of images of Christ at the Crucifixion. (56) The constructed visual parallels highlight similarities between the saint's passion and that of Christ.
Giovanni del Biondo's St Sebastian triptych was painted during the 1370s in response to the 1374 outbreak of plague in Florence. The central panel depicts Sebastian's martyrdom and the form and context are revealing (see Figure 3). (57) The panel is heavily indebted to the type of early Crucifixion scene that shows the single elevated cross above a crowd of soldiers and mourners. Sebastian, studded with arrows, is bound to a square wooden beam raised above a crowd of archers and onlookers. Giovanni has painted Sebastian as a Christ-on-the-Cross figure. The two side panels show four scenes from Sebastian's life and are sited below the angel of the Annunciation on the left and the Annunciate Virgin on the right. In depictions of Christ's Crucifixion, Christ's head is conventionally oriented toward the figure of the Virgin at the foot of the cross. Giovanni does not include the Virgin in the scene of Sebastian's martyrdom; however, he paints the saint gazing fixedly on the Virgin on the panel to his left. In this interpretation of Sebastian's passion, the saints tortured body, naked but for a loin-cloth, bleeds copiously.
A Cosme Tura oil painting titled St Sebastian and executed around 1484 is an extraordinary evocation of Christ on the cross (see Figure 4). (58) Here, the body of Sebastian is tied to a flat upright wooden structure reflecting Christ's cross rather than the more usual column. Although his arms are not lashed to a cross beam they are depicted in an exaggerated and unnaturally horizontal pose, precisely in the manner of a crucifixion. Literally redundant but visually redolent, the bindings are clearly evident, and the blood flows freely down the saints body suspended in its Christ-like pose.
Painters of St Sebastian also employed a variety of visual tropes to emphasise parallels between the saint and Christ and, characteristically, in these examples, Sebastian is a bloody figure. Niccolo di Liberatores Madonna with Saints John the Baptist and Sebastian (1482) for the Church of San Francesco, Cannara shows the Baptist--in a rare departure from his traditional role--pointing not to the Christ-child but to the bleeding figure of Sebastian. In Luca Signorelli's oil painting, the Martyrdom of St Sebastian (c. 1498), blood streams from Sebastian's chest, down his thighs, and over the edge of the stand of his quasi cross (see Figure 5). (59) Moreover, as Louise Marshall has observed, on the road on the right of the picture, we see a bound Sebastian being harried by soldiers in a scene paralleling Christ's journey to Golgotha. (60) When painters portrayed St Sebastian as the Miles Christi triumphing over the pagan world, as the embodiment of classical ideas of the body beautiful, or as a plague saint, they frequently omitted his bloodied wounds. However, when blood was a prominent feature of the iconography, it was characteristically in paintings that referenced his role as an alternative Christ.
II. St Francis
St Francis (c. 1181/82-1226) did not die a bloody death, but in art he is regularly associated with blood in two fundamental scenes: receiving the stigmata, and when painted as present at the Crucifixion. (61) Francis was canonised in 1228 by Gregory IX. The papal bull noted many miracles but made no mention of the stigmata on the saints body. (62) Indeed, many doubted the veracity of the saint's imprints, as evident by the nine papal bulls between 1237 and 1291 denouncing the sceptics. (63)
Despite the early scepticism, the miraculous imprinting is among the most frequently painted scenes of the saint, and is a crucial element in the connection between Francis and his very particular conformity to Christ through blood. Francis's forty days of meditation on Mount la Verna, his vision of a seraph with six wings, (64) and the subsequent imprinting with a sign which--as Brother Elias noted in his letter to the order--had since the world began only been borne by Christ, (65) marked the founder of the Franciscans as a man with a special connection with Christ.
Accounts of the imprinting differed among early Franciscan writers and these, together with changing aspects of religious devotion, affected the early iconography, including that involving the saint's blood. (66) For both Brother Leo and Thomas of Celano, the wounds followed Francis's encounter with the seraph but were not caused by it. (67) The source of the imprinting has implications for Francis's role as alter Christus. Many of the early paintings depict the seraph qua seraph. Typically, in these works no visible interaction is shown between the saint and his vision, and no emitting beams unite the man and the angelic presence. Guido da Siena's small side scene of the stigmata in his altarpiece St Francis and Eight Scenes from his Life is a good example of this early type. (68) In these early works, Francis's status is of one favoured with a mystical vision from God. Heavenly agency is implicit but not visually explicit, and the notion of Francis as an alternative Christ is not yet manifest.
While painters gradually included rays linking the saint and the seraph, though not always specific to the stigmata, and the seraph began to appropriate some of the attributes of the crucified Christ, the angelic form continued to dominate throughout much of the thirteenth century. For example, three broad rays descend from the seraph to the head of St Francis in a Stigmata of St Francis (c. 1228) attributed to Bonaventura Berlinghieri and today in the Galleria degli Uffizi. In a form of spiritual 'mouth-to-mouth', a Guido da Siena workshop piece, St Francis Receiving the Stigmata, shows the rays descending from the mouth of the seraph to the mouth of St Francis. (69)
This early iconography was relatively short-lived, however, with the growing perception of Francis as a Christ figure. Arguably, the most significant textual formulation of this representation of Francis lies in the writings of Bonaventure, Francis's hagiographer. Francis's conformity to Christ is the transforming topos in the narrative of the Legenda Maior. In the Prologue, Bonaventure likens the saint to the angel of the sixth seal because both have the sign of the living God. (70) His later account of the piercing of Francis with the sacred stigmata emphasises Christ's presence and agency while the seraph is their visible form. (71) Bonaventure changes Thomas of Celano's description of a 'Seraph on a cross' to 'Christ in the form of the Seraph'. (72) Christ gazes on Francis and reveals to the saint that he is to be 'wholly transformed into the likeness of the crucified Christ'. (73) For Bonaventure, saint and Saviour become so closely identified that 'Francis was fixed with Christ to the cross in body and spirit'. (74)
In fresco cycles, panel paintings, altarpieces, and small devotional images, events in the life of St Francis were presented as paralleling incidents in the life of Christ. Two well-known examples include the frescoes of the Franciscan Master in the nave of the lower church of San Francesco in Assisi that thematically and structurally compared St Francis with Christ, and Taddeo Gaddi's twenty-six quatrefoil panels for a sacristy cupboard at Santa Croce with its matching scenes from the life of St Francis and the life of Christ. (75) In Benozzo Gozzoli's fresco cycle, painted between 1450 and 1452 at San Francesco, Montefalco, the iconography of St Francis's birth is nuanced with the presence of an ox and an ass. The accompanying inscription notes that 'like Christ himself [St Francis] had to be born in a stable'. (76) Domenico Ghirlandaio's The Obsequies of St Francis fresco in the Sassetti chapel at Santa Trinita depicts a lay figure reaching out to touch St Francis's chest wound, in a gesture that recalls Thomas putting his hand into the opening in Christ's side. In hagiographic materials, sermons, devotional texts, (77) and pictorial works, the perception of St Francis an alternative Christ grew in Franciscan circles and the popular consciousness; and this perception was accompanied by changes in stigmatisation iconography. As depictions of the seraph came to be subordinated to the image of the crucified Christ, artists often painted five golden rays emanating from Christ's wounds to pierce the hands, feet, and side of St Francis.
At the same time, there was another visual and iconographic tradition of the depiction of Francis's stigmatisation. The changing preoccupations and emphases in religious life and popular piety between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries engendered a spiritual environment that emphasised the personal and emotional. The growth of the mendicant orders, the rise of female religious movements and religious confraternities, the growing feminisation of religion, and the pious goal of a life in the spirit of the imitatio Christi led to increasingly affective devotional practices. In paintings of St Francis receiving the stigmata, these developments encouraged an iconography that fostered and appealed to a new emotional relationship with images. The colour of the rays linking Christ's wounds and the imprinted marks on the saints flesh changed to a colour that promoted a more empathic and sympathetically human response: blood red. The iconography had moved from golden rays of glory to red rays of suffering.
A notable early example of this type is the Stigmatization of St Francis altar panel (c. 1325-30) by Taddeo Gaddi in which scarlet rays imprint the bloody stigmata. (78) In two paintings of the stigmatisation by Gentile da Fabriano, one executed in 1415 (79) and one in an upper panel in the Valle Romita Polyptych painted around 1405 and now in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, the distinctively red rays proceed from a Christ figure that, in the latter example, visibly drips blood (see Figure 6). Around 1469, the Ferrarese Taddeo Crivelli painted a manuscript illustration of the stigmatisation that included solid red lines descending from the seraphic Christ. (80)
In the majority of early paintings of the stigmatisation, Francis's wounds are discreet and understated. However, along with the increasingly affective images of the suffering Christ and a new emphasis on the redness of the rays that linked Christ and Francis, depictions of the saints wounds become more prominent and the issuing blood is shown as dripping or even spurting. A vivid example is a 1505 fresco by Paolo da Serrungarina in the left transept of the church of the Monastery of San Francesco in Rovereto, in the Marche. The crucified Christ is depicted on the upper branches of a Tree of Life, the seraph is no longer present, and red rays from Christ's wounds flow directly to those of St Francis whose hands and feet drip with blood. The flow of streaming blood is also the focus of a British Library manuscript illustration painted around 1480. Here the saints wounds drip freely onto his clothes and the ground; the striking red diagonal bands and red floral elements on the heavily decorated page contextualise the sanguinary nature of the saint's conformation. (81)
The association between blood and St Francis was not confined to scenes of the stigmatisation. In images of the Crucifixion, Francis is commonly depicted as physically in contact with Christ s flowing blood. Lorenzo Monaco s Christ on the Cross (1405-07) is a good example. Saints Benedict and Romuald sit reverently on the side and at a discrete distance from the cross. In contrast, Francis embraces the bloodied cross and kneels in Christ's blood. Such is the visual and spiritual identification between the two figures that fresh blood spurts from Francis's left hand and feet as he clasps the cross. (82) In a 1487 altarpiece by Niccolo di Liberatore, Francis embraces the cross and Christ's coursing blood. The viewer's attentive gaze is drawn into the painting through the saint's blood: here in the form of his conspicuously bleeding feet sited close to the picture plane. (83) The flowing blood captures the intimate, physical, and spiritual correspondence between the saint and Christ. Francis clasping Christ's bloodied feet in painted crosses is a familiar device. A particularly powerful example, and one that would have prompted a visceral response from contemporary viewers, is a late thirteenth-century Crucifix with St Francis in Arezzo (see Figure 7). Red rivulets of blood stream down Christs body while St Francis lovingly cradles his Saviour's bloody right foot, which also serves as a pointer to Francis's own open chest wound. (84)
Crucifixion scenes frequently included a number of saints around the cross. It was the figure of St Francis, however, that painters chose to depict as the male saint (85) who embraced the cross, down which Christs blood flowed. (86) A notable exception may seem to be Fra Angelicos magnificent fresco, St Dominic Adoring Christ on the Cross (1441-42), in the cloister of Sant'Antonino in the Museo di San Marco, Florence (see Figure 8). Blood streams down the base of the cross to the kneeling St Dominic, but with extraordinarily delicate precision, the red flow ceases immediately above the saint's two hands positioned on the cross. (87)
Artists also gave expression to Francis's conformity with the Saviour through blood in images of the saint that referenced Christ pointing to his chest wound in paintings of the Man of Sorrows. (88) On a wing of a portable altarpiece used for private devotion, Fra Angelico painted St Francis pointing to a conspicuously bloody wound in his side. (89) Further examples include a Bartolo di Fredi work from his Coronation of the Virgin Altarpiece (1388); (90) a St Francis panel (c. 1400-10) by the Master of the Straus Madonna held in the Galleria dell'Accademia in Florence; a Sano di Pietro St Francis from the 1450s; (91) and an historiated initial from the Albani Book of Hours from Bologna (c. 1500). (92) Typically, these are small intimate works that serve to facilitate the devotee's relationship with the Saviour through an accessible alter Christus.
Francis's reception of Christ through blood is explicit in an audacious work by Carlo Crivelli: St Francis Collecting the Blood of Christ (see Figure 9). (93) The little work (only 20 X 16 cm) is steeped in blood and Eucharistic imagery. A column references the flagellation, and instruments of the Passion rest on the column and hang from the cross. Of most significance, is the standing figure of the bleeding Christ holding back the lips of his open wound so that his blood pours into the chalice held by the kneeling friar. In contrast to the prevailing perception of St Francis, the founder of the Dominicans was typically characterised as 'Dominic imitator of the Lord' ('domini imitator Dominicus); a fundamentally active validation. (94) In this work, Crivelli nuances St Francis's identification with Christ such that it implies essence. The little devotional panel is an articulation of martyrdom, suffering, and resurrection through the blood that unites St Francis with the Lord.
III. St Peter Martyr
In St Francis, the Friars Minor had a natural candidate for an alter Christus; for the Dominicans their founder was a much less likely figure. St Dominic, along with the majority of the early Dominicans, was venerated more for his religious zeal than his charisma. (95) As Andre Vauchez notes, 'Dominican sainthood, in the last centuries of the Middle Ages, resulted less from imitation of a person than from fidelity to a rule'. (96) Nonetheless, in matters of prestige, power, and influence, there was considerable rivalry between the two main mendicant orders and a Dominican saint comparable to the stature and popular appeal of St Francis was desirable. In the figure of St Peter of Verona, the Dominicans had a suitable candidate for an alternative Christ.
The Vitae Fratrum of Gerard de Frachet, written between 1256 and 1259, gives an account of Peter's childhood, his entrance into the order, and the many miracles attributed to him following his martyrdom. (97) In this and in a number of early texts, including those in the Acta Sanctorum compilation and the Legenda Aurea, the fashioning of Peter as an alternative Christ was carefully crafted. (98)
Peter ofVerona (1205-1252), who came to be known more generally as Peter Martyr, was a preacher and inquisitor actively engaged in denouncing the Cathar heresy that flourished in Northern Italy in the thirteenth century. He and his friar companion, Domenico, were attacked by an assassin hired by a group of Cathars. (99) Peter was struck on the head with what is usually characterised as a woodsman'sjalcastrum (100) or billhook, which, in the Legenda Aurea, is described as 'sated' with blood. A second weapon, a sword or a knife, was then plunged into his chest. In his dying fall, Peter uttered the same words as Christ on the cross--'Into thy hands O lord, I commend my spirit' --and recited the Apostles' Creed. (101)
Peter died in April 1252 and was expeditiously canonised by Innocent IV in March 1253, just 337 days after his death. Innocent's canonisation bull (Magnis et crebris) characterised Peter as a man without sin, and such texts as the Legenda Aurea energetically nurtured the growing perception of him as alter Christus. Jacopo da Varazze explicitly compares Peter s passion to that of Christ. Both figures suffered for defending the truth; both suffered at the hands of heretics; both died at Easter; (102) Christ was betrayed for thirty 'denari', Peter for forty Pavian lire; and by their deaths, both converted many heretics. (103) In his sermons, Jacopo continued the construction of Peter as a Christlike figure by emphasising similarities between the wounds to the chest and head suffered by both Christ and Peter. (104) Donald Prudlo goes so far as to declare that '[t]hough St Francis merely followed Christ, for the Dominicans St Peter Martyr was literally "another Christ"'. (105)
In contrast to the minimal references to blood in the textual sources for St Sebastian and St Francis, many of the miracles that followed Peters death, and that were recounted in the Legenda Aurea, were associated with his blood. These miraculous cures involved the application of either his fresh blood or the earth upon which his blood had been spilt. Furthermore, his very status as a martyr is defined by his blood: 'He was a martyr in that he shed his blood for the defence of the faith.' (106)
In both non-narrative and narrative paintings, Peter Martyr is consistently associated with blood. Typically, there are two types of non-narrative images. The first presents the saint with a billhook or large knife buried in his bloodied head as seen, for example, in Bartolomeo Vivarini's Madonna and Child Enthroned with Four Saints where Peter is one of the four saints, (107) and Vecchietta s St Peter Martyr panel dating from the 1470s and today in the Galleria di Palazzo Cini in Venice. A further version of this type provides evidence of the popular perception of Peter as an intercessor, seen for example in a particularly bloody illustration in a Book of Hours probably painted by Zanino di Pietro before 1463, in which a supplicant kneels at Peter's feet. (108) Another example occurs in a fresco in the Portinari chapel, in Sant'Eustorgio, Milan, the site of Peters Ark. The work was probably painted by Benedetto Bembo around 1460 and shows a kneeling Pigello Portinari requesting Peters blessing.
In the second type of non-narrative image, the billhook is absent, but the saints bloodied head is a prominent and consistent feature. For Fra Angelico, this is the default image of Peter. It is to be found, for example, in his Coronation of the Virgin (1440-42) in Cell 9 in the Convent of San Marco, Florence; the St Peter Martyr Altarpiece (1427-28), painted for the nuns of San Pier Martire, in which Peter's head is drenched in blood; the San Marco Altarpiece (1438-40); the Bosco ai Frati Altarpiece (1450); (109) and the well-known lunette fresco of the saint putting his finger to his mouth (almost certainly by Fra Angelico and painted between 1441 and 1442 above the entrance to the sacristy at the Convent of San Marco, Florence). Also at San Marco is the evocative painting of Savonarola in the guise of Peter Martyr. Fra Bartolommeo had already painted a portrait of the charismatic preacher, but in this work (c. 1510) he raises Savonarola to the status of a saint: specifically, the Dominican saint promoted as an alternative Christ. (110)
Narrative paintings of Peter's death are even more conspicuous for the depiction of blood and the subsequent promulgation of his status as another Christ. Andrea da Firenze's fresco, painted around 1335 in the Spanish Chapel at Santa Maria Novella, depicts the savage attack on Peter and the ensuing streams of blood. At the beginning of the fifteenth century, Taddeo di Bartolo painted the saint's assassination as a continuous narrative in his predella Death of St Peter Martyr: first, the impending attack on the friar; then the knife slicing his bloodied, and now haloed, head and Peter writing 'Credo' in his own blood as it pours on the ground; and finally his slain figure with bloody head and chest wounds (see Figure 10). The literary sources recount that Peter recited the Creed before his death. The visual tradition is different. In narrative works, the dying Peter graphically affirms the life of his faith by writing 'Credo' in his living blood. This iconography is particularly significant for Peter s status as alter Christus. (111) Peter s blood on the ground is an allusion to Abel's spilt blood crying out to God from the earth, (112) and to the perception of Abel as a Christ figure, whose murder foreshadows the sacrifice of Christ. (113) Peter's 'Credo', written in his spilt blood, was a powerful visual sign--literally and figuratively--relating him to Christ.
Artists variously expressed the connection between Peter and blood through the quantity spilt or through metaphor, and occasionally both. A notably bloody narrative scene appears in the upper right section of Fra Angelico's St Peter Martyr Altarpiece, and in Gentile da Fabriano's Valle Romita Polyptych, blood drips copiously from Peter s head at the moment of the attack. (114) Giovanni Bellini painted two versions of Peter's martyrdom. In the version painted around 1507 (now in the National Gallery, London and probably painted with assistants), no blood is seen on Peters body (see Figure 11). Instead, Bellini paints a scene of savage destruction in the background: the violent hacking of trees, the 'blood' dripping from them, and the sliced tree limbs felled by wood choppers presage the attack on Peter. (115) Bellini's 1509 Assassination of St Peter Martyr in the Courtauld Institute of Art is quite different (see Figure 12). The wood choppers are still evident, but the bloodiness of Peter's martyrdom is the focus: blood spurts from his head, the blood from his chest stains his white scapular and pools on the ground, blood drips from his staff and the assassin's discarded spear and, in the lower right corner, in a visual pathetic fallacy, blood streams from a severed tree stump.
A very particular sign of Peter as alter Christus, and one that draws on the bloody nature of his death, lies in his association with the Triple Crown. Scriptural sources refer to a number of heavenly crowns, including the crown of justice or righteousness and the crown of glory. (116) Gradually, over the course of the medieval period, these crowns became reified and codified into the triple crowns of preaching, virginity, and martyrdom. The crown of preaching has its origins in Peters first Epistle concerning the shepherds of the flock of God. (117) In liturgical, textual, and visual sources, Peter of Verona was frequently associated with the Triple Crown. (118) That the connection was immediate is evident from a reference to it in the 1252 inscription on his tomb in Milan. (119) Visual allusions to Peter and the Triple Crown appear, for example, in an historiated initial (c. 1430) painted by Fra Angelico in an antiphonary at San Marco. (120) Peter kneels before the assassin's second blow and writes 'Credo in Deum' in his own blood. Above his bloodied head, the Triple Crown descends from Gods hands: the white crown for preaching (white being the colour of the Dominican scapular); the gold crown for purity, and the red crown for his martyrs blood in the pre-eminent position. Jacobello del Fiore included three tiny crowns descending onto Peter's head in his Death of St Peter Martyr (c. 1428), (121) and at Santa Maria Novella, Domenico Ghirlandaio included the crowns in his Martyrdom of St Peter Martyr fresco (1486-90) in the Tornabuoni Chapel. Peter was one of the very few saints who could fulfil the near-impossible triple-crown criteria of virgin, preacher, and martyr. In Peter, the Dominicans had a claim that not even the Franciscans could match: St Francis had not died for his faith. In contrast, Peter ofVerona could be promoted and conspicuously endorsed as 'Peter Martyr'. And in the red blood of his martyrdom, Dominicans had an eminently worthy alternative Christ.
In vitae and hagiographical sources, references to the blood shed by saints being tortured or put to death are frequently omitted, and in early modern Italian art, the precious blood of Tertullians martyrs is often more conspicuous for its absence than its presence. In this article, I have suggested that the visual tradition for three saints, however, does not conform to this general pattern and that for St Sebastian, St Francis, and St Peter Martyr a distinct and nuanced blood-associated iconography emerged. Blood is prominently associated with St Sebastian in a discrete group of images; for St Francis the visual connection with blood becomes more prevalent with the increasingly affective character of Franciscan spirituality; and the consistent blood iconography associated with St Peter Martyr is a characteristic feature of both the textual sources and the painted tradition. The hypothesis offered here is that this distinctive blood iconography may be accounted for by the very particular perceptions of these three saints as alternative Christ figures.
Independent Scholar, Victoria, Australia
(1) An early, shorter form of this paper was presented at a research seminar at The University of Melbourne in September 2014. I am most grateful to the anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticisms and helpful suggestions.
(2) For an analysis of the relationship between Christs first and last wounds as symbols of his incarnation and passion in art, see Leo Steinberg, The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and Modern Oblivion (NewYork: Pantheon, 1983), pp. 50-65.
(3) See Jacopo da Varazze, Legenda Aurea con le miniature del codice Ambrosiano C 240 inf-, ed. Giovanni Paolo Maggioni, 2 vols (Tavarnuzze: SISMEL-Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2007), (hereafter Legenda Aurea) I, 384-402. To avoid ambiguity, pages cited will refer to both Latin and Italian texts. A particularly compelling description of Christ's agony occurs when, to separate his body and soul, Christ's tormentors seek the source of his blood by thrusting the thorns of his crown into his brain, exposing his veins, and opening his side to drain his hearts blood. See Legenda Aurea, I, 390-91.
(4) John of Caulibus (also known as Giovanni di Caulibus or Johannes de Caulibus) was the probable author. For issues of dating and authorship, see Holly Flora, The Devout Belief of the Imagination: The Paris 'Meditationes Vitae Christi' and Female Franciscan Spirituality in Trecento Italy (Turnhout: Brepols, 2009), pp. 27-31.
(5) Isa Ragusa and Rosalie B. Green, eds, Meditations on the Life of Christ: An Illustrated Manuscript of the Fourteenth Century, Paris, Biblioteque Nationale, Ms. Ital., 115 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1961), pp. 323-34.
(6) The efficacy of saintly intercession has a long tradition in scripture (for example, Genesis 20. 7, 17, Job 5. 1, and Apocalypse 8. 3-4) and patristic sources. Biblical references are from the Douay-Confraternity Bible. For example, St Ambrose invokes St Peter's tears for mankind in Hexaemeron, PL, 14. 256; St Jerome praises the martyrs in glory for their intercessory powers in Contra Vigilantium, PL, 23. 359; and St Augustine affirms the tender compassion of the blessed saints for all on earth in De Civitate Dei, eds Bernhard Dombart and Alfons Kalb, 2 vols (Turnhout: Brepols, 1955), I, 279-80, Book 10.7.
(7) Tertullian, Apologeticum, 50.13, in Tertulliani Opera I, eds E. Dekkers, and others (Turnhout: Brepols, 1954), p. 171: 'semen est sanguis Christianorum!' (translation: 'the blood of Christians is seed). Unless otherwise noted translations are the authors own.
(8) Tertullian, De Anima, 55.5, in Tertulliani Opera II, eds Alois Gerlo, and others (Turnhout: Brepols, 1954), p. 863: 'Tota paradisi clavis tuus sanguis est' (translation: 'Your blood is the complete key to Paradise).
(9) Martha Easton, 'Pain, Torture and Death in the Huntington Library Legenda Aurea , in Gender and Holiness: Men, Women and Saints in Late Medieval Europe, eds Samantha J. E. Riches and Sarah Salih (London: Routledge, 2002), pp. 49-64. Although Easton is drawing on a French context, the relatively sober descriptions of tortures in the Legenda Aurea has led her to an interesting proposal in relation to the Huntington Library Parisian text of the Legenda Aurea (dated 1270-80) that is unusual for its many graphic illustrations of martyrs' violent deaths. She suggests that the contrast may be accounted for by some considerations of gender, including the notion that the images of female martyrs being tortured, while still embodying saintly heroism, may also appeal to the prurience of the male gaze.
(10) Acta Sanctorum, 60 vols (Antwerp; Brussels: Societe des Bollandistes, 1643-1925), accessed online via the Documenta Catholica Omnia collection, at http://www.documentacatholicaomnia.eu/ (hereafter AASS), February I (1658), pp. 597, 622. Neither Isidore of Seville nor Symeon Metaphrastes mentions spilt blood in their accounts of the abscission of her breasts.
(11) Legenda Aurea, I, 208-11.
(12) AASS, February II (1658), pp. 278-83. Although the breaking of Apollonia's teeth is recorded many times in her passio, there is only one reference to blood. To demonstrate her invincibility to pain, she willingly embraces the fire torture that follows.
(13) Legenda Aurea, II, 926-33.
(14) See Legenda Aurea, II, 972-73. Despite the extensive entry and the chapter title, 'The Beheading of St John the Baptist', the saints beheading is given little prominence. See also Mark 6. 27-28.
(15) Legenda Aurea, II, 1096-97.
(16) Legenda Aurea, II, 1358-59. Earlier sources of her legend, including the variants of her passio, are analysed in some detail in Christine Walsh, The Cult of St Katherine of Alexandria in Early Medieval Europe (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007), pp. 9-21, 153-68.
(17) Legenda Aurea, I, 648-51.
(18) Although detailed discussion is beyond the scope of the present article, it is worth noting the gory nature of many manuscript illustrations of the deaths and tortures of saints. Some few examples must suffice: Pacino di Bonaguidas The Martyrdom of St Bartholomew (c. 1340) in the Cloisters Collection in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; a miniature of St Catherine of Alexandria being scourged in the late fourteenth-century Taymouth Hours, BL, MS Yates Thompson 13, fol. 16v; and the Martyrdom of St Agatha in an initial 'D' (c. 1470-73) from a choir book illustrated by Sano di Pietro for the hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena (now in the Robert Lehman Collection, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art). A tentative explanation for the depiction of blood in these illustrations may lie in the differences between the intimate and personal relationship of reader and text, and a viewer's responses to an image in a public setting.
(19) The panel is part of the Altarpiece of St Matthew and Scenes from his Life (c. 1367-76) and is in the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.
(20) The predella, from the Santa Lucia de'Magnoli Altarpiece, was painted around 1445 and is now in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin. A further torment for St Lucy was to be dragged by bulls; among the several bloodless versions of this event is a panel by Jacobello del Fiore (c. 1370-1419) in the Pinacoteca Civica, Fermo.
(21) The fourteenth-century fresco cycle, The Legend of St Ursula, is in the church of San Martino, Vigo di Cadore, in the Veneto. The artist is not known.
(22) The altarpiece by Niccolo di Liberatore (also known as Niccolo da Foligno or Niccolo Alunno) was commissioned for a side chapel at San Bartolomeo di Marano, Foligno. Two relatively rare, non-manuscript images of the flaying of St Bartholomew that include blood are a predella in Giovanni da Milano's Polyptych with Madonna and Saints (c. 1355) in the Museo Civico, Prato, and a small side scene in a Diptych of St Clare (c. 1280) by a follower of Guido da Siena in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena.
(23) The painting (c. 1530) is in the Galleria dell'Accademia, Florence.
(24) The work is today in the Palazzo Pitti, Florence. Some few paintings of St Agatha include small amounts of blood, for example, a fresco (c. 1492) by Giovanni Pietro da Cemmo and assistants in the Chiesa di Santa Maria at Esine, Lombardy.
(25) The Martyrdom of St Stephen (c. 1330), Pulci-Berardi Chapel, Santa Croce, Florence.
(26) The Stoning of St Stephen, on the lower register of the cycle Scenes from the Life of the Virgin and St Stephen in the Assunta Chapel, Duomo, Prato, probably follows Paolo Uccello's overall design for the cycle, but was executed by Andrea di Giusto a few years after Uccello's work on the cycle during the years 1433-35. For a recent discussion of issues surrounding dating and authorship, see Matteo Mazzalupi, 'Un Caso di Metodo: Gli Affreschi di Prato e la Giovinezza di Paolo Uccello', in Da Donatello a Lippi: Officina Pratese, eds Andrea de Marchi and Cristina Gnoni Mavarelli (Milan: Skira, 2013), pp. 65-75.
(27) Today the work is in the Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart. A predella Martyrdom of St Stephen (early fifteenth-century?) by Pietro di Miniato in the Galleria Comunale, Prato, is unusual for its inclusion of the saint's blood.
(28) The predella scene is from a Triptych of the Virgin and Child with Saints by Bicci di Lorenzo (1371-1452) in the church of Sant'Ippolito, Bibiena.
(29) Further examples, where blood is either absent or merely token in a beheading scene, include: a late fourteenth-century Decapitation of St James the Greater fresco by the School of Agnolo Gaddi in the Duomo, Prato; a small panel painting of The Martyrdom of St James the Elder (1387-88) by Lorenzo Monaco in the Musee du Louvre, Paris; and a lunette fresco of the Beheading of St John the Baptist (c. 1513) by Giannicola di Paolo in the Collegio del Cambio, Perugia.
(30) See n. 18.
(31) Candida R. Moss, The Other Christs: Imitating Jesus in Ancient Christian Ideologies of Martyrdom (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). In Moss's chapter on 'The Martyr as Alter Christus' (pp. 45-73), the focus is on the 'putting on' of Christ-like attributes--that is, the 'imitatio Christi'--and the term 'alter Christus' occurs only once.
(32) H. W van Os, 'St Francis of Assisi as a Second Christ in Early Italian Painting', Simiolus, 7 (1974), 115-32 (p. 115).
(33) Os, p. 130.
(34) Donal Cooper, '"Love Not the World": Saint Francis as an Alter Christus in Late Medieval Italian Painting', Ikon, 3 (2010), 199-209. Cooper (p. 199) ascribes the term s first art historical use to Os.
(35) Cooper, p. 199, n. 1.
(36) Legenda Aurea, I, 194-201.
(37) Legenda Aurea, I, 198: 'Qui ita eum sagittis impleverunt ut quasi hericus.'
(38) AASS, January II (1643), p. 278.
(39) The work, painted in Venice, is now in the Gemaldegalerie, Dresden. Liberale da Verona's St Sebastian painted in the 1490s and today in the Pinacoteca di Brera is virtually a copy of Antonello's work.
(40) Further examples include: Pinturicchios Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1492-94) in the Borgia apartments in the Vatican; Vincenzo Foppas Martyrdom of St Sebastian (1490-1500), Castello Sforzesco, Milan; and Foppa s St Sebastian (c. 1489) fresco held in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan. Nigel Spivey (Enduring Creation: Art, Pain, and Fortitude (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), pp. 98-99) notes that artists drew on the Legenda Aurea for Sebastian as an image of the stoical miles christi.
(41) Giorgio Vasari, Le opere di Giorgio Vasari, annotated by Gaetano Milanesi, 9 vols (Florence: Casa Editrice Le Lettere, 1998), iv, 175-202 (p. 188).
(42) Painted for the SS Annunziata, Florence, the work was finished in 1475 and is now in the National Gallery, London.
(43) Works that depict Sebastian in a similar way include: Giovanni Bellini's St Vincent Ferrer Polyptych, painted in the 1460s for SS Giovanni e Paolo, Venice; Marco Zoppos St Sebastian in a Rocky Landscape with Saints (c. 1475-78) in the Courtauld Institute of Art, London that portrays a muscular saint with six deeply embedded arrows in his body but no blood being shed; Dosso Dossis St Sebastian Altarpiece in the Duomo, Modena (1518-21); and Dossis St Sebastian, painted for SS Annunziata, Cremona and now in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan. Peter Humfrey dates the latter work to around 1524 and notes the influence of Michelangelo on the heavily modelled male figures. See Peter Humfrey and Mauro Lucco, Dosso Dossi: Court Painter in Renaissance Ferrara (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1998), p. 11. The majority of Peruginos eleven known paintings of Sebastian (see Spivey, p. 91) are also of this type, including his St Sebastian (c. 1475) in the National Museum, Stockholm and his highly lit and limpid St Sebastian (c. 1490) in the Louvre, Paris. A manuscript illumination by Perugino (BL, MS Yates Thompson 29, fol. 132v), painted around 1500, presents Sebastians flawless body elevated above two archers who themselves represent the front and back views of the ideal male anatomy.
(44) See Legenda Aurea, I, 200-01. Jacopo da Varazze relates that it was divinely revealed that the plague in Pavia and Rome would not cease until an altar to the saint was erected. Some modern studies of his role as a plague saint include Irving L. Zupnick, 'Saint Sebastian in Art' (unpublished doctoral dissertation, Colombia University, 1958); Louise Marshall, 'Manipulating the Sacred', Renaissance Quarterly, 47 (1994), 485-532; and Sheila Barker, 'The Making of a Plague Saint: Saint Sebastian's Imagery and Cult before the Counter-Reformation', in Piety and Plague: From Byzantium to the Baroque, eds Franco Mormando and Thomas Worcester (Kirksville: Truman State University Press, 2007), pp. 90-127.
(45) The work was painted in 1478 after a plague outbreak in Venice.
(46) Now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice, the altarpiece was commissioned for the Franciscan church of San Giobbe, in Venice.
(47) The panel painting, attributed to Vincenzo Civerchio (1468/70-1544), is in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge.
(48) The work is in the church of San Tomaso Cantuariense, Verona.
(49) See Louise Marshall, 'Reading the Body of a Plague Saint: Narrative Altarpieces and Devotional Images of St Sebastian in Renaissance Art', in Reading Texts and Images: Essays on Medieval and Renaissance Art and Patronage in Honour of Margaret M. Manion, ed. Bernard J. Muir (Exeter: University of Exeter Press, 2002), pp. 237-72. While Marshall (pp. 246-57) does not mention the Christological implications of Sebastian's blood, she does examine a number of Christ/Sebastian associations. Although her focus is Sebastian's intercessory role, Barker ('The Making of a Plague Saint', p. 106) also notes Sebastian's Christ-like suffering.
(50) AASS, January II, p. 278: 'Ad hoc me Dominus meus Jesus Christus resuscitare dignatus est.'
(51) Acts 2. 32: 'Hunc Jesum resuscitavit Deus, cuius omnes nos testes sumus.'
(52) AASS, January II, p. 278.
(53) For her noting of this point in some works by Gozzoli, see Diane Cole Ahl, 'Due San Sebastiano di Benozzo Gozzoli a San Gimignano: Un Contributo al Problema della Pittura per la Peste nel Quattrocento', Rivista d'Arte, 40 (1988), 31-61 (pp. 47-48).
(54) The Misericordia Standard is held in the Museo Nazionale del Palazzo Venezia, Rome.
(55) Barker, 'The Making of a Plague Saint', p. 106; Nicoletto Semitecolo s Saint Sebastian Shot by Arrows (1367) for an altar reliquary cupboard for the Duomo, Padua portrays a very bloody Sebastian with a similar iconography, although here his arms are tied behind him. The work is in the Museo Diocesano, Padua.
(56) Examples of this type are numerous and include: Lippi Memmi's Louvre Crucifixion (c. 1350); a panel of the Crucifixion painted around 1330 and attributed to Giotto, today in the Staatliche Museen, Berlin; a further work by Giotto (c. 1315-20) in the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Strasbourg; Simone Martini's Crucifixion (1333) from the Orsini Polyptych now in the Koninklijk Museum, Antwerp; Bernardo Daddi s 1338 Crucifixion from his triptych in the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh; and Pietro Lorenzetti s Crucifixion panel from the 1340s in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NewYork.
(57) Today, The Martyrdom of St Sebastian and Scenes from his Life is in the Museo dellOpera del Duomo, Florence.
(58) The painting is in the Gemaldegalerie, Staatliche Museen, Berlin.
(59) Painted for the church of San Domenico, Citta di Castello, today the work is in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Citta di Castello.
(60) Marshall, 'Reading the Body', p. 248.
(61) For an overview of some early images of St Francis, in particular those in composite altarpieces, see Rosalind B. Brooke, The Image of St Francis: Responses to Sainthood in the Thirteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
(62) See Mira Circa Nos, 16 July 1228, in Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, eds Regis J. Armstrong, J. A. Wayne Hellmann, and William J.
Short, 3 vols (New York: New York City Press, 1999), i, 565-69.
(63) Andre Vauchez, ' Les Stigmates de Saint Francois et leurs Detracteurs dans les derniers siecles du Moyen Age', Melanges d'Archeologie et d'Histoire, 80 (1968), 595-625. Vauchez (pp. 601-14) argues that the scepticism was politically motivated and arose from the secular clergy's suspicion of the new Franciscan order, the Dominicans' lack of a saint of similar stature, and the upper clergy's resentment of the 'plebeian saint'.
(64) Isaiah 6. 1-13 provides the only Biblical reference to seraphim with six wings. The significance of this reference for Franciscan iconography is that the seraphim were markers of the prophet Isaiah's chosen status.
(65) Elias of Cortona, 'Epistola Encyclica de Transitu Sancti Francisci', in Fontes Franciscani, eds Enrico Menesto and Stefano Brufani (Assisi: Edizioni Porziuncola, 1995), pp. 253-55 (p. 254): 'A saeculo non est auditum tale signum, praeterquam in Filio Dei, qui est Christus Dominus.'
(66) For a careful analysis of aspects of the iconography, see Chiara Frugoni, 'Saint Francis, a Saint in Progress', in Saints: Studies in Hagiography, ed. Sandro Sticca (Binghamton: State University of NewYork, 1996), pp. 161-190.
(67) See, for example, Thomas of Celano, Tractatus de Miraculis Beati Francisci II.4, in Fontes Franciscani, eds Menesto and Brufani, pp. 641-753 (pp. 647-48). Thomas first describes the appearance of the seraph, then Francis's search for the meaning of the vision, and finally the appearance of the marks.
(68) The altarpiece (c. 1275-85) is today in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena. There are many further examples. A scene of The Saint Receiving the Stigmata (1235) from an altarpiece, St Francis and Scenes from his Legend, in the Church of San Francesco in Pescia by Bonaventura Berlinghieri shows the angelic seraph but no rays are present. An altarpiece attributed to Coppo di Marcovaldo and the Master of Santa Maria Primerana, St Francis, Stories of his Life and Miracles after his Death (c. 1270) in the Museo Civico, Pistoia, includes a panel St Francis Receiving the Stigmata in which the saint raises his marked hands to the heavenly angel but the immediate cause of the imprint is not discernible. Other images of this type include a Paolo Veneziano panel in his Triptych of St Clare (1328-30), today in the Museo Civico, Sartorio, Trieste, and a small fresco detail (c. 1260) in the nave of the lower church in the Basilica of San Francesco, Assisi, by the Master of St Francis.
(69) The image is a detail in a Diptych of Stories of Saints (1250-1300) in the Pinacoteca, Nazionale, Siena.
(70) Bonaventure de Balneoregio, Legenda Maior Prologus I, in Fontes Franciscani, eds Menesto and Brufani, pp. 777-911 (p. 778).
(71) Bonaventure, Legenda Maior XIII.3, pp. 891-92.
(72) Thomas of Celano, Tractatus II.4, p. 647: 'Seraph in cruce positum'; Bonaventure, Legenda Maior XIII.3, p. 891: 'Christo sub specie Seraph.'
(73) Bonaventure, Legenda Maior XIII.3, p. 892: 'totum in Christi crucifixi similitudinem transformandum.'
(74) Bonaventure, Legenda Maior XIV.1, p. 898: 'Christo igitur iam cruci confixus Franciscus tam carne quam spiritu.'
(75) The majority of Gaddis panels (c. 1335-40) are in the Galleria dell' Accademia, Florence.
(76) For the cycle s theme of St Francis as an alter Christus, see Diane Cole Ahl, 'Benozzo Gozzoli's Cycle of the Life of Saint Francis in Montefalco: Hagiography and Homily', in Saints: Studies in Hagiography, ed. Sticca, pp. 191-213.
(77) For example, Ubertino of Casale's 1305 Arbor vitae crucifixae Jesu Christi (first printed in 1485) compares the life of St Francis with that of Christ; in Bartholomew of Pisas De conformitate (c. 1385), the chapters are constructed as parallels between the life and works of Christ and St Francis; in the 1396 compilation I Fioretti, the account of St Francis's forty days and nights of fasting specifically accords the saint the title of another Christ: 'however St Francis was in some things almost another Christ, given to the world for the salvation of the people' ('San Francesco, pero che in certe cose fu quasi un altro Cristo, date al mondo per salute delle gente'). See Actus Beati Francisci et Sociorum eius, eds Marino Bigaroni, Giovanni Boccali, and Jacques Cambell (Assisi: Edizioni Porziuncola, 1988), p. 155; in his Latin sermon on the saint's stigmata, for example, Bernardino da Siena describes the wounds as an indication of Francis's perfect unity and conformity with Christ. See Bernardino da Siena, 'De stigmatibus sacris gloriosi Francisci', Opera Omnia, 9 vols (Rome: Quarracchi, 1950-65), v, 214; and in one of his vernacular Easter sermons preached in 1425, San Bernardino declared that 'St Francis came so close [to God] that he became another Christ crucified' ('Santo Francesco saccosto tanto a lui che divento un altro Cristo crucifisso). See Predica 44, in Le Prediche Volgari, ed. Ciro Cannarozzi, 5 vols (Florence: Libreria Editrice Fiorentina, 1940), iv, 428. The most comprehensive study of the early writings on St Francis as alter Christus is Stanislao da Campagnola, LAngelo del Sesto Sigillo e 'Falter Christus': Genesi e Sviluppo di Due Temi Francescani nei Secoli XIH-XIV (Rome: Ed. Laurentianum, Ed. Antonianum, 1971). Campagnola (pp. 202-03) cites the Actus beati Francisci et sociorum eius (c. 1331-37) as the first source to apply the 'felice formulazione' 'alter Christus' to St Francis.
(78) The work, probably painted for Santa Croce, Florence, is held in the Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
(79) The panel is in the Fondazione Magnani Rocca, Corte di Mamiano, Parma.
(80) Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, MS Ludwig, IX, 13, fol. 201v. Further examples of the type include: Niccolo di Liberatore's St Francis Receiving the Stigmata painted in the second half of the fifteenth century and held in the Pinacoteca Civica di Foligno; and a Venetian panel painting of the same title painted between 1475 and 1480 in the Johnson G. Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia.
(81) From a Book of Hours from Bourges, now BL, MS Harley 5328, fol. 123v.
(82) The work is in the Staatsliches Lindenau-Museum, Altenburg.
(83) The altarpiece, probably painted for the convent of Santa Chiara, Aquila, is in the National Gallery, London.
(84) Donal Cooper ('Experiencing Dominican and Franciscan Churches in Renaissance Italy', in Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy, ed. Trinita Kennedy (Nashville: Frist Centre for the Visual Arts, 2014), pp. 47-61 (p. 51)) gives the crucifix in the Chiesa di San Francesco, Arezzo (formerly ascribed to Margaritone of Arezzo) the more general attribution of an Aretine workshop piece.
(85) Mary Magdalene is often portrayed clasping the base of the cross, but it is rare for a male saint other than St Francis to appear in this position.
(86) There are numerous examples, but some few include: Ugolino di Nerio's Crucifixion with the Virgin, St John and St Francis (c. 1310-30) in the Pinacoteca Nazionale, Siena; Taddeo di Bartolo's c. 1400 predella Crucifixion, today in the Louvre, Paris; Neri di Bicci s The Crucifixion of Christ with Saints, Church of San Francesco, Fiesole; and Niccolo di Liberatore s 1497 gonfalon, Crucifixion with Saints Francis and Bernardino of Siena, in the Pinacoteca Comunale, Terni.
(87) Painters invariably placed Dominic at some distance from the cross. A rare exception is Andrea da Firenze's Crucifixion (c. 1370-77) in the Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome. Even here, however, the saint is not physically engaged with the cross. Fra Angelico, in his many works at the Convent of San Marco, Florence, did not present Dominic in contact with Christ's blood, even in his St Dominic Embracing the Cross in Cell 16.
(88) See E. James Mundy, 'Franciscus Alter Christus: The Intercessory Function of a Late Quattrocento Panel', Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, 36 (1977), 4-15. In his study of the iconography of a three-quarter length, late fourteenth-century panel of St Francis in the orant position (in the Princeton University Art Museum) as a type of Man of Sorrows, Mundy identifies the saint's intercessory role as a surrogate Redeemer, but he overlooks a further indication of the saint's identification with Christ: the blood that flows freely from Francis's wounds.
(89) The panel painting, dated 1430-33, is in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.
(90) The work is today in the Museo Civico e Diocesano d'Arte Sacra, Montalcino.
(91) The small panel is in the Robert Lehman Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
(92) The illustration is from BL, MS Yates Thompson 29, fol. 52r.
(93) The painting (c. 1490-1500) is in the Museo Poldi Pezzoli, Milan.
(94) See Gerard de Frachet, Vitae Fratrum Ordinis Praedicatorum: necnon Cronica Ordinis ab anno MCIH usque ad MCCL1V, ed. Benedikt Maria Reichert (Louvain: E. Charpentier and J. Schoonjans, 1896), 2.20, p. 80. Hereafter Vitae Fratrum, with references provided to part and chapter.
(95) For the view that early Dominican sources such as the Libellus of Jordan of Saxony did not aim to develop a personality cult around their founder, see David Haseldine, 'Early Dominican Hagiography', New Blackfriars, 75 (1994), 400-14; Joanna Cannon ('Dominic alter Christus? Representations of the Founder in and after the Arca di San Domenico', in Christ among the Medieval Dominicans: Representations of Christ in the Texts and Images of the Order of Preachers, eds Kent Emery and Joseph Wawrykow (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998), pp. 26-48) argues that as Dominic was not only Christs imitator but also his agent and intercessor he is not an alter Christus.
(96) Andre Vauchez, Sainthood in the Later Middle Ages, trans. Jean Birrell (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 338.
(97) Vitae Fratrum 5.1, pp. 236-48; Peter s legends are summarised and compared in Antoine Dondaine, 'Saint Pierre Martyr: Etudes', Archivum Fratrum Praedicatorum, 23 (1953), 66-162.
(98) See AASS, April III (1675), pp. 678-719. The entry for Peter in the Acta Sanctorum, compiled by the Dominican Ambrogio Taegio around 1500, includes biographical material from the 1253 canonisation bull of Innocent IV and the detailed Vita by the Dominican Tomasso Agni da Lentino (d. 1277). For its lengthy entry, see also Legenda Aurea, I, 474-97. For his extensive explication of the sources, see Donald Prudlo, The Martyred Inquisitor: The Life and Cult of Peter ofVerona (f1252) (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2008), pp. 173-82.
(99) The basic account of Peter's assassination comes from Innocent's 1253 bull and is referred to in both the AASS and the Legenda Aurea.
(100) The word 'ense' ('sword') is used in both the Legenda Aurea (i, 478) and the AASS (April III, p. 706). The source for a billhook as the weapon is unknown.
(101) Legenda Aurea, I, 480-81.
(102) See Vitae Fratrum 5.1, p. 236. Peter gave his final sermon on Palm Sunday, 24 March 1252.
(103) Legenda Aurea, I, 480-81. For his examination of the presentation of Peter as an alternative Christ, see Prudlo, pp. 102-07.
(104) See Carlo Delcorno, 'La Predicazione Duecentesca su San Pietro Martire', in Chiesa, Vita Religiosa, Societa nel Medioevo Italiano, eds Mariaclara Rossi and Gian Maria Varanini (Rome: Herder Editrice e Libreria, 2005), pp. 305-18 (pp. 309-10).
(105) Prudlo, p. 177.
(106) Legenda Aurea, I, 480: 'Martyr in eo quod pro defensione fidei sanguinem suum fudit.'
(107) Probably painted in the mid-fifteenth century; the work is now in the Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice.
(108) The illustration is from fol. 217r from a Book of Hours from Taranto now held in the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore (accession number W322).
(109) All three altarpieces are in the Museo di San Marco, Florence.
(110) Painted after Savonarola's death in 1498, the work is now in the Museo di San Marco, Florence.
(111) In painted works, it is variously written as ' Credo', 'Credo in Deum', or 'Credo in Unum Deum'.
(112) Genesis 4. 10.
(113) For Abels identification as a Christ figure see, for example, Isidore of Seville, Allegorioe Quoedum Sacre Scripture, PL, 83. 99-100: 'Abel a shepherd contained the type of Christ, who is the true and good shepherd' ('Abel pastor ovium, Christi tenuit typum, qui est verus, et bonus pastor).
(114) The polyptych, painted around 1405, is in the Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan.
(115) For a similar example, a low stone relief on the portal facade of the Dominican church of Sant'Anastasia, Verona, in which woodchoppers are depicted in the background, see Roberto Rusconi, 'Le Parole e le Nuvole. San Pietro (Martire) da Verona e l'Iconografia di un Prodigio', in Chiesa,Vita Religiosa, Societa, eds Rossi and Varanini, pp. 595-612 (p. 595 and fig. 2).
(116) See ii Timothy 4. 8; and I Peter 5. 4.
(117) I Peter 5. 1-4.
(118) The Legenda Aurea (i, 474-75) commences Peter s life by acknowledging his triple attributes of preaching, virginity, and martyrdom. The entire prologue of Tomasso da Lentino s Vita, including the opening words, revolves around parallels between heavenly and earthly trinities. See AASS, April III, p. 682: 'There are three that bear testament in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and there are three that bear testament on earth, the spirit, the water, and the blood' ('Tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus sanctus; et tres sunt, qui testimonium dant in terra, spiritus, aqua et sanguis). Gerard de Frachet (Vitae Fratrum 4.24, p. 214) relates that while preaching on Peter s 'triplici aureola', a preacher had a vision of a triumvirate of martyrs, confessors, and virgins. For his extended discussion of Peter and the Triple Crown, see Prudlo, The Martyred Inquisitor, pp. 109-19.
(119) See AASS, April III, p. 684. The inscription reads: 'Almighty God, to Blessed Peter of the Order of Preachers, the three crowns of doctrine, virginity and martyrdom, in the year 1252' ('D.O.M. Divo Petro Ordinis Proedicatorum, tribus coronis doctrinoe, virginitatis et Martyrii, anno MCCLII').
(120) The initial 'P' is from Florence, Museo di San Marco, Antiphonary 558, fol. 41v.
(121) Now held at the Museum, Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, the painting was once attributed to Gentile da Fabriano.