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Giambologna's Salviati reliefs of St Antoninus of Florence: saintly images and political manipulation

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This paper focuses on the figure of St Antoninus and his representation in visual imagery. At its centre are Giambologna's bronze reliefs in the Salviati Chapel in Florence's church of San Marco, dating from 1581 to 1587, illustrating the life of Archbishop Antoninus (Antonino Pierozzi), who was active in Florence in the mid-fifteenth century. Giambologna was also responsible for the design of the chapel itself. By and large, these reliefs have attracted little attention on the part of art historians and sermons specialists – perhaps because at the height at which they are set into the walls, they are largely inaccessible. Although executed a century after the demise of St Antoninus, these reliefs provide us with a valuable impression of the activities of the archbishop and their impact on Florence. Moreover, they shed important light on the cult of St Antoninus and its connection with the politics of Medicean Florence.
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Keywords: Antoninus Pierozzi (archbishop); Giambologna (artist); Girolamo Savonarola (preacher); Medici (family); San Marco (church)

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ben-Gurion University

Publication date: 01 April 2008

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