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Journal > Volumes > 43 (2012) / 2 (Summer)
Suor Domenica da Paradiso as alter Christus: Portraits of a Renaissance Mystic
Meghan Callahan
London, United Kingdom

This article examines the highly unusual iconography in a drawing of the mystic and stigmatic Suor Domenica da Paradiso (1473– 1553) as alter Christus. A Dominican tertiary from a lower- class background and influenced by Savonarola, Suor Domenica founded and built the convent of La Crocetta in Florence in 1511. Probably drawn by her confessor, Francesco da Castiglione (1466–1542), Suor Domenica is depicted displaying her stigmata while in the midst of a vision of the crucified Christ, shown opposite her on the page, affxed with four nails to a Y- shaped cross. The drawing departs from traditional imagery of stigmatics, and the iconography was abandoned in favor of more conservative portraits of Suor Domenica during the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century canonization attempts made by her followers.

Pages: 323 - 350