Artibus et Historiae no. 25 (XIII)

1992, ISSN 0391-9064

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MARK J. ZUCKER - Problems in Dominican Iconography: The Case of St. Vincent Ferrer

Dominican saints appear in countless Italian pictures of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, with St. Vincent Ferrer occupying fourth place in their normal order of importance. His comparative obscurity in modern times, however, has resulted in his frequent misidentification as St. Dominic and sometimes as St. Antoninus of Florence; occasionally, he is simply called "a Dominican saint." Yet his life (1350-1419) and legend are well known, and such erroneous identifications can be avoided once several conventional aspects of Vincent's iconography are recalled.

The article also discusses hitherto unnoticed features of the cult of St. Vincent, above all his association in various works with St. Peter Martyr. Like St. Roch and St. Sebastian, with whom they also appear, these two might have been seen as guarding against the plague. St. Vincent may even have served as a sort of all-purpose helper, healer, savior, protector, and miracle-worker.

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