Christianity and the Renaissance: Image and Religious Imagination in the Quattrocento

By Timothy Verdon; John Henderson | Go to book overview

eremitica in favor of the vita activa, they were dismissed on the basis of the teachings of St. Paul the leader and father, the Dux and Pater: teachings at best fragmentarily contained in St. Jerome Vita pauli.64

One could take this argument further, beyond religious orders and their founders. Cities and nations, bishops, patriarchs, and popes had recourse to eminent ancestral and founding figures to legitimate their authority. 65 This apparent need to define one's own status by reference to an eminent predecessor, be it a historical or a mythical figure, is ever present. Yet, as I hope I have demonstrated, the reference to ancestors did not have to result in conservatism, unthinking preservation of the past, or stagnation. Provided that the founder-figure symbolized a sufficient variety of characteristics, he or she could promote versatility, innovation, and a high degree of adaptability. This was not always so; in the case of the Hermits of St. Paul, recourse to a traditional image of holiness resulted in stagnation. But for the Austin Friars the same process was highly dynamic force, which enabled them not only to develop a great variety of iconographical motifs, but also to adapt to the changing demands of Church and society.


NOTES
1.
Ambrogio da Cora. Defensorium ordinis fratrum heremitarum S. Augustini responsivum ad maledicta canonicorum assertorum regularium congregationis Frisonariae ( Rome, Georg Herolt, 1481), 521; C. Cantú, ed., Annali della Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano ( Milan: G. Brigola, 1877- 85), 8:480. Storia di Milano, VII: L'età sforzesca dal 1400 al 1500 ( Milan: Treccani degli Alfieri, 1956); M. L. Gatti Perer, ed., Il duomo di Milano. Atti del congreso internazionale. Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnica, 8-12 settembre 1968 (Arte Lombarda, Monografie: Monumenti 3) ( Milan, 1969) mention neither the statue nor the circumstances of its erection. Fur further information: E. Verga, L'Archivio della Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano ( Milan: U. Allegretti, 1908); A. Ciceri, "L'Archivio della Veneranda Fabbrica del Duomo di Milano," in Studi storici in memoria di Mons. Angelo Mercati Prefetto dell'Archivio Vaticano ( Fontes Ambrosiani XXX) ( Milan: Giuffré-Editori, 1956), 164-83.
2.
D. da Treviso, Defensio canonicorum regularium contra heremitas ( 1475), mentioned in P. Ulmeus, Apologia religionis fratrum heremitarum ordinis S. Augustini contra falso impugnantes ( Rome: Fr. de Cinquinis, 1479); Venice, Biblioteca Marciana, MS lat. cl. 4, n. 72, segn. 2216: A. da Pavia, Libellus contra fratres heremitas pro canonicis regularibus (n.p., n.d.); C. Maffeus, Defensiones Canonicorum regularium contra Monachos. Responsiones ad rationes monasticas ( Venice: Pietro Quarengi, 1487); idem, Defensiones in Monachos pro vero Canonicorum regularium gradu ac dignitate ( Venice, 1491); idem, Defensiones Canonicorum regularium contra Monachos ( Venice: An

-99-

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