Artibus et Historiae no. 78 (XXXIX)

2018, ISSN 0391-9064

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MAREK WALCZAK - Between the Eternal City and Cracow. On the Origins of the Iconography of Saint Hyacinth of Poland OP (d. 1257) (pp. 325–357)

The oldest representation of the Polish Dominican friar, Hyacinth Odrowąż, canonised in Rome in 1594, is a Late Gothic panel painting from around 1500, originally in the church of the Blackfriars in Cracow and since 1666 kept in the parish church at Odrowąż in Lesser Poland, from where the family of the saint is believed to have originated. The painting shows Saint Hyacinth kneeling before a vision of the Virgin, following a description of a miracle in the oldest Life of the saint written by his fellow Dominican from the Cracow convent, friar Stanislaus (1371 – c. 1385/1392). This composition was used in the propagation of the cult of the newly canonised saint and became a source of a generally accepted iconographic type of his representations. A key role in this process was played by the canonisation ceremony in which a banner with a Vision of Saint Hyacinth held a prominent place. The theatrum canonizationis was depicted by Federico Zuccaro in wall paintings (1600) decorating a chapel founded by Cardinal Girolamo Bernerio da Correggio at the church of S. Sabina on the Aventine. The banner represented there was later transported to Cracow where it has survived to this day in the Dominican church. Works of art that originated immediately after the canonisation, especially prints which faithfully reproduce the Vision of Saint Hyacinth, allow to closely follow the development of the iconography of the new saint and the process of the Odrowąż painting acquiring the status of the vera effigies, or true likeness, of Saint Hyacinth.

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