Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Two Roman "ladies"...

These are among my favorite Madonnas in Rome. Both Renaissance "ladies" have interesting stories, deeply linked to the history of the Eternal City. I have chosen these two: because the first, a Madonna with Child by Antoniazzo Romano was recovered in the 1950s when the Cappella Bessarione in the Basilica de' Santissimi Apostoli was discovered - this work is now placed in the first chapel of the right-hand aisle, while the chapel with the artist's frescoes only hosts a copy of it (The Roman Anglican visits the Cappella Bessarione). I think it is rather important because Antoniazzo Romano was the only Renaissance artist to be a real Roman and to operate only in Rome throughout his entire life. His nickname "Romano" was also a fruit of his deep Roman roots, his real surname was "Aquili".

The second has even a deeper affection among Romans, it is the venerated image of the Madonna Salus Infirmorum, of the XVIth century. It is located in the Chiesa della Maddalena near the Pantheon, it had been donated to the church by Settimia de' Nobili, a Roman noblewoman in 1614 and it is now located in a side chapel. This is a Renaissance re-visitation by an unknown XVIth century artist of an earlier and similar work. But the affection to this work is given to the fact that this was a Madonna for the infirm people, a healing Madonna! The devotion to this Madonna was particularly relevant during the late Middle Ages and until the 1700s, its main sanctuary was in Scaldaferro, in the north-east of Italy.

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