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Journal > Volumes > 38 (2007) / 3 (Autumn)
Tales of Two Bishop Saints: Zenobius and Antoninus in Florentine Renaissance Art and History
Sally J. Cornelison
University of Kansas

From the late quattrocento through the cinquecento Florence’s first sainted bishop, Zenobius (d. ca. 424), and the sainted Florentine archbishop Antoninus Pierozzi (d. 1459) were hailed as two of Florence’s most effective intercessors. Their images were included in an impressive series of temporary and permanent decorations made for Florence Cathedral, and the historical and visual relationship between the two saints reached its symbolic peak in Giambologna’s St. Antoninus Chapel (1578–88) at the Dominican church of San Marco. The present study will show that by pairing images of the saints and drawing on the style and iconography of the reliefs that Lorenzo Ghiberti created for the bronze St. Zenobius shrine at Santa Maria del Fiore (1432–42), the St. Antoninus Chapel’s decorative program stresses Antoninus’s importance as Zenobius’s saintly successor and promotes the efficacy of his holy remains which lie at the center of that spiritually charged space. 

Pages: 627 - 656