Monday, May 11, 2009

Saints in Fifteenth Century Italy

Pietro di Cristoforo Vannucci (Il Perugino) (b. 1450, Citta della Pieve, d. 1523, Perugia)
The Miracles of San Bernardino: The Healing of a Young Girl
Tempera on wood, 75 x 57 cm
Galleria Nazionale dell'Umbria, Perugia

Osservanza Master for the Church of Sant'Agostino in Siena (Italian, active second quarter of 15th century)
All Saints in an Initial E: Cutting from an Antiphonary, ca. 1430–40
(The Virgin in prayer, surrounded by Saints. Standing next to her in the foreground are Saint Augustine on the left, and Saint Paul on the right. Partly visible behind them are the heads and gold haloes of numerous other saints)
Tempera and gold leaf on parchment
6 3/4 x 5 1/2 in. (17 x 14 cm)
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975 (1975.1.2484)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Initial A with Saint Dominic Saving the Church of Saint John Lateran, mid-15th century
From a Dominican gradual
Italian (Lombardy, possibly Cremona)
Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment
4 1/4 x 3 5/8 in. (10.9 x 9.3 cm)
Bequest of Gwynne M. Andrews, 1930 (31.134.5)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

“Whereas saints in the eleventh and twelfth centuries hailed from many countries of Latin Christendom, by the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries they came predominantly from France and Italy.... Between 1198 and 1431, the period studied by Vauchez, 25 per cent of all saints recognised by the Papacy were Italians; and more than 50 percent of all saints who had a local cult - whether canonically recognised or not- were of Italian origin. No other country came close. The preponderance of Italians was especially striking because in the same period no saints from the Iberian peninsula, northern Germany and the Low Countries received papal approbation.” 
From Religious Cultures by R. Po-chia Hsia in A companion to the worlds of the Renaissance By Guido Ruggiero, page 334

"If the historian of the Church of the fifteenth century meets with many unworthy prelates and bishops, he also meets, in every part of Christendom, with an immense number of men distinguished for “their virtue, piety, and learning," not a few of whom have been by the solemn voice of the Church raised to her altars. 
Limiting ourselves to the most remarkable individuals, and to the period of which we are about to treat, we will mention only the saints and holy men and women given by Italy to the Church. 
The first of this glorious company is St. Bernardine of Siena, of the Order of Minorites, whose eloquence won for him the titles of trumpet of Heaven and fountain of knowledge, and whom Nicholas V. canonized about the middle of the century. 
Around him are grouped his holy brothers in religion: Saints John Capistran, Jacopo della Marca, and Catherine of Bologna, a Sister of the same Order (d 1463). 
Among the Blessed of the Franciscan Order are Tommaso Bellaci (d 1447), Gabriele Ferretti (d 1456), Arcangelo di Calatafimi (d 1460), Antonio di Stronconio (d 1471), Pacifico di Ceredano (d 1482), Pietro di Moliano (d 1490), Angelo di Chivasso in Piedmont (d 1496), Angelina di Marsciano (d 1435), Angela Caterina (d 1448), Angela Felice (d 1457), Serafina di Pesaro (d 1478), Eustochia Calafata (d 1491), etc. 
The Dominican Order was yet richer in saints and holy persons.
Blessed Lorenzo da Ripafratta (d 1457) laboured in Tuscany, and under his direction the apostolic St. Antoninus (d 1459) grew up to be a pattern of self-sacrificing charity, and the glorious talent of Fra Angelico da Fiesole (d 1455) soared heavenward, leading men's hearts to the Eternal by the language of art, as the mystics had done by their writings." 
St. Antoninus, whose unexampled zeal was displayed in Florence, the very centre of the Renaissance, had for his disciples Blessed Antonio Neyrot of Ripoli (d 1460) and Costanzio di Fabriano (d 1481). Blessed Giovanni Dominici (d 1420) and Pietro Geremia da Palermo (d 1452) were celebrated preachers and retormers.
Then follow Blessed Antonio ab Ecclesia (d 1458), Bartolomeo de Cerveriis (d 1466), Matteo Carrier (d 1471), Andrea da Peschiera (d 1480), the Apostle of the Valteline, the recently beatified Cristoforo da Milano (f 1484), Bernardo Scammaca (d 1486), Sebastiano Maggi da Brescia (d 1494), and Giovanni Licci, who died in 1511, at the extraordinary age of one hundred and fifteen.
The Dominicaness, Chiara Gambacorti (d 1420), had held communication with the greatest saint of the later mediaeval period, St. Catherine of Siena; and, together with Princess Margaret of Savoy (d 1407), also a Dominicaness, was subsequently beatified. 
In the Order of St. Augustine we have to mention the following who have been beatified :—Andrea, who died at Montereale in 1479, Antonio Turriani (d 1494), Rita of Cascia (d 1456), Cristina Visconti (d 1458), Elena Valentino d` Udine ( d 1458), and Caterina da Pallanza (d 1478). 
Blessed Angelo Mazzinghi de Agustino (d 1438) belonged to the Carmelite Order ; that of the Gesuati had Giovanni Travelli da Tossignano (d 1446), the Celestines, Giovanni Bassand (d 1455); and the Regular Canons the Holy Patriarch of Venice, St. Lorenzo Giustiniani (d 1456). 
Blessed Angelo Masaccio (d 1458) was of the Camaldolese Order, and finally the great Cardinal Bishop of Bologna, Albergati (d 1443), was a Carthusian. St. Frances (d 1440), the foundress of the Oblates, was working in Rome. The labours of another founder, St. Francis of Paula (born 1416, d 1507), belong in part to the period before us. 
These names, to which many more might easily be added, furnish the most striking proof of the vitality of religion in Italy at the time of the Renaissance.
Such fruits do not ripen on “trees which are decayed and rotten to the core."
From Pages 36-38 Pastor. Lives of the Popes Volume I