By Lisa Pon
In 1428, a devastating hearth destroyed a schoolhouse within the northern Italian urban of Forlì, leaving just a woodcut of the Madonna and baby that have been tacked to the study room wall. the folk of Forlì carried that print - referred to now because the Madonna of the fireplace - into their cathedral, the place centuries later a brand new chapel used to be equipped to enshrine it. during this booklet, Lisa Pon considers a cascade of moments within the Madonna of the Fire's cultural biography: whilst ink was once inspired onto paper at a now-unknown date; while that sheet was once famous through Forlì's humans as magnificent; while it was once enshrined in quite a few tabernacles and chapels within the cathedral; while it or certainly one of its copies was once - and nonetheless is - carried in procession. In doing so, Pon bargains an scan in artwork ancient inquiry that spans greater than 3 centuries of constructing, remaking, and renewal.
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Extra resources for A Printed Icon in Early Modern Italy
8 cm. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore recall the similarly cheek-to-cheek pose in the Eleousa or Glykophilousa Madonnas in Byzantine art. “A PRONOUNCED ARCHAICISM” Bissera Pentcheva has described the thirteenth-century panel from the Peribleptos church in Ohrid as a prime example of another important Byzantine iconographical type, the Hodegetria: Both figures have one hand that speaks and another that carries an object. The speaking hand of Mary is visually juxtaposed with the speaking hand Iconography: Madonna and Child 9.
This book thus forms my response that an undated, anonymous, single-sheet woodcut/cult icon is a legitimate target for serious art historical inquiry, as are the places, practices, and community it calls forth. 37 Before turning to the print itself, I would like to close my introduction with an anecdote about Napoleon’s response to the Madonna of the Fire of Forlı`, which mirrors that of A. Hyatt Mayor with which I began. In March 1796, a young and relatively untested Napoleon was appointed commander of the French army in Italy.
Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC the Child, is shown as discrete rectanguloid shapes appearing under his hip. The Madonna’s left hand and the Child’s right one are depicted in blunt contours, with fingers pressed tightly together and articulated only by simple hatches within a generalized outline for each entire hand. This pronounced simplification of forms is absent in other parts of the picture. For example, the small saints depicted on either side of the central Madonna and Child are quite exquisitely detailed, with, for instance, pointed peaks of fur depicted on John the Baptist’s shirt, and curving waves of water, partially obscured by the thick strokes of blue hand coloring, that swirl around St Christopher’s legs.