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Publication . Article . 2019

Experiencing La Verna at Home: Italian Sixteenth-Century Maiolica Sanctuaries and Chapels

Zuzanna Sarnecka;
Open Access
Published: 20 Dec 2019 Journal: Religions, volume 11, page 6 (eissn: 2077-1444, Copyright policy )
Publisher: MDPI AG
The present study describes the function of small-scale maiolica sanctuaries and chapels created in Italy in the sixteenth century. The so-called eremi encouraged a multisensory engagement of the faithful with complex structures that included receptacles for holy water, openings for the burning of incense, and moveable parts. They depicted a saint contemplating a crucifix or a book in a landscape and, as such, they provided a model for everyday pious life. Although they were less lifelike than the full-size recreations of holy sites, such as the Sacro Monte in Varallo, they had the significant advantage of allowing more spontaneous handling. The reduced scale made the objects portable and stimulated a more immediate pious experience. It seems likely that they formed part of an intimate and private setting. The focused attention given here to works by mostly anonymous artists reveals new categories of analysis, such as their religious efficacy. This allows discussion of these neglected artworks from a more positive perspective, in which their spiritual significance, technical accomplishment and functionality come to the fore.
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Incense Perspective (graphical) Art history Holy water SAINT Italian Renaissance Sculpture History


Religious studies, Italian Renaissance, devotion, home, La Verna, sanctuaries, maiolica, sculptures, multisensory experience

Funded by
Domestic Devotions: The Place of Piety in the Renaissance Italian Home
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 319475
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP2 | ERC
Related to Research communities
Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage
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License: cc-by
Providers: UnpayWall