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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 were tacked to the school room wall. the folks 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 outfitted to enshrine it. during this ebook, Lisa Pon considers a cascade of moments within the Madonna of the Fire's cultural biography: while ink was once inspired onto paper at a now-unknown date; whilst that sheet was once well-known by means of Forlì's humans as marvelous; whilst it was once enshrined in a number 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 deals an scan in artwork historic inquiry that spans greater than 3 centuries of constructing, remaking, and renewal.

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As in Pentcheva’s description of the Ohrid icon, Christ holds a tightly furled scroll against his leg with his left hand immediately above the Madonna’s left hand with which she supports her son. The major difference in the Jena ivory lies in the right forearms of Christ and Mary: both are lowered to a horizontal position. Though Jesus’s first two fingers are raised in blessing, the 29 30 Printed Icon: Forlı`’s Madonna of the Fire in Early Modern Italy 10. Paolo Veneziano, Madonna and Child, ca.

Edward Graeffe, 1970. Photo: The Pierpont Morgan Library, NY images an authenticity that was recognized and propagated by fifteenth-, sixteenth-, and seventeenth-century narrative pictures showing Luke at work on his portrait of the Virgin Mary. An illumination by Michelino Molinari da Besozzo in a Latin prayer book now in the Morgan Library, for instance, shows the standing figure of the saint, who applies paint to the golden, gable-topped painting of the Madonna and Child with a delicately rendered brush (Fig.

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. Charged with the minor task of diverting the Austrian army from the Rhine front, Napoleon instead made his name as a formidable military leader by defeating both the Piedmontese and the Austrians in northwestern Italy before invading the Papal States in June 1796.

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