font-awesome-load
material-design-icons-load

Seals

The Virgin and Christ

In the interpretation of seals as a metaphor in Medieval theology of both the East and the West, the Virgin plays a central role. In Italian seals of the Middle Ages and early modern period she frequently appears, such as she does in the oldest communal seal of Pisa, a double-sided stamped lead bull, which is first attested in 1160. As in numerous Byzantine seals, the Virgin is enthroned in a frontal position on the obverse with a standing figure of Christ. On the seal matrix of the prior of a Camaldolese monastery, Mary is depicted in three-quarter profile, turning her gaze toward Christ, as if placed on a stage. The seal impression of the Prior general of the order portrays the half-length figure of Christ above in the oval seal. The seal impression of cardinal Giovanni Battista Zeno sets the Virgin within the formal language of a modern and elegant Renaissance architecture. The seal of Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini, the future Pope Pius III, on the other hand, adheres to more gothic forms. As a protagonist on seals, Christ is represented most often on the cross, such as the figure seen here in the seal matrix of the Judges College in Lucca, which depicts the widely venerated wooden sculpture of the Volto Santo, while the seal impression of the Franciscan cardinal bishop Matthew of Aquasparta places the crucified Christ between Mary and John the Evangelist in a style reminiscent of contemporary sculpture. The seal matrix of the Abbess of the conventual Poor Clares of Santa Maria a Monticelli near Florence displays, by contrast, Christ in the act of blessing in simple but imposing pictorial language.


Bull of the commune of Pisa (obverse), 1179, lead (ASFi, Diplomatico, Riformagioni, Atti Pubblici, 26/11/1179)

Bull of the commune of Pisa (reverse), 1179, lead (ASFi, Diplomatico, Riformagioni, Atti Pubblici, 26/11/1179)

Seal of the Prior General of the Camaldolese Order, 1401, 61x35 mm, brown wax (ASFi, Sigilli staccati, inv. no. 151)

Seal of the Prior General of the Camaldolese Order, 1401, 61x35 mm, brown wax (ASFi, Sigilli staccati, inv. no. 151)

Seal of cardinal Giovanni Battista Zeno (impression), 1472, red wax, 100x60 mm (ASFi, Sigilli staccati, inv. no. 229)

Seal of cardinal Francesco Todeschini Piccolomini (impression), red wax, 92x57 mm (ASFi, Sigilli staccati, inv. no. 252)

Seal of the College of Judges of Lucca (matrix), first third of the 14th century, bronze, 60 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 521)

Seal of the Franciscan Matthew of Aquasparta, cardinal bishop (impression), 1300, red wax, 55x37 mm (ASFi, Sigilli staccati, inv. no. 44)

Seal of the Abbess of Santa Maria a Monticelli (matrix), 13th century, bronze, 46x34 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 248)




© KHI in Florence | 20.09.2020 19:06:02