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Seals

Saints

Saints have an intermediary function between God and men, and therefore, also between divine and human law. As patrons of cities, religious communities, as well as secular corporations, saints were thus, in many cases, represented as protagonists on seals. An example is the seal of Pistoia that represents St. James or the image of Santa Giustina on the seal of the doctors of law in Perugia, which also depicts her reliquary which used to contain the bust with the relic of the head of the saint. St. Martin is frequently represented dividing his cloak, an example of which can be seen in the seal matrix of the corporation of Lucchese merchants in Venice, which transfers the image of the patron of the Cathedral of Lucca to Venice by adopting the idiom of Venetian images. In another context, the oldest monastery of the order of Santa Brigitta in Italy represents the new saint as she blesses the abbess. The intermediary role of the saints is concentrated paradigmatically in the figure of Saint Francis, whose stigmatization was interpreted by Franciscan theology as the impression of the seal of Christ himself and, therefore, as a direct sign of divine authentication. Francis himself, at the same time, became a "seal matrix" for his followers in the theological exegesis. Both aspects become visible in the seal matrix of Fra Perevano of Perugia, while the seal of the vicar of the Franciscans of Chiusi masterly depicts the saint’s encounter with three identical women, who greet him as a personification of poverty.


Seal of the commune and Popolo of Pistoia (matrix, obverse), early 14th century, bronze, 55 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 1752)

Seal of the commune and Popolo of Pistoia (matrix, reverse), early 14th century, bronze, 55 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 1752)

Seal of the College of Doctors of Perugia (matrix, obverse), 2nd half of the 14th century, gilded bronze, 78x52 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 2674)

Seal of the College of Doctors of Perugia (matrix, reverse), 2nd half of the 14th century, gilded bronze, 78x52 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 2674)

Seal of the Lucchese merchants in Venice (matrix, obverse), late 14th century, gilded bronze, 53 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 1786)

Seal of the Lucchese merchants in Venice (matrix, reverse), late 14th century, gilded bronze, 53 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 1786)

Seal of the Abbess of des Convento del Paradiso in Florence (matrix, obverse), 1412 ?, gilded bronze, 63x27 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 250)

Seal of the Abbess of the Convento del Paradiso in Florence (matrix, reverse), 1412 ?, gilded bronze, 63x27 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 250)

Seal of the Vicar of the Franciscan Custody of Chiusi (matrix, obverse), late 13th/early 14th century, bronze with gold traces, 49x28 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 1661)

Seal of the Vicar of the Franciscan Custody of Chiusi (matrix, reverse), late 13th/early 14th century, gilded bronze, 49x28 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 1661)

Seal of Fra Perevano of Perugia (matrix), 1st half of the 14th century, gilded bronze, 39x25 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 303)




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Seal of the College of Doctors of Perugia (matrix, obverse), 2nd half of the 14th century, gilded bronze, 78x52 mm (Florence, Bargello, inv. no. 2674)

© KHI in Florence | 28.10.2020 00:11:20