Few Examples of Marian Devotion in the East Adriatic Urban Settlements in the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period

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In this article the authors examine creation and development of the cults of saints in the medieval and early modern communes situated on the East Adriatic shore particularly focusing on influence of Marian cult on pious life of inhabitants of East
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  M isericordia Le Vie della Arte, cultura e percorsi mariani tra Oriente e Occidente THE WAYS OF MERCY  Arts, Culture and Marian routes between East and West  a cura di Maria Stella Calò Mariani e Anna Trono Mario Congedo Editore  Università del SalentoPubblicazioni del Dipartimento di Beni Culturali già Pubblicazioni del Dipartimento dei Benidelle Arti e della StoriaDirettore della Collana: Raffaele Casciaro Comitato Scientifico: Daniela Castaldo, Vincenzo Cazzato, Manuela De Giorgi, Marina Falla,Letizia Gaeta, Massimo Guastella, Massimiliano Rossi, Lucinia Speciale, Anna Trono Tutti i diritti riservati CONGEDO EDITORE - 2017    I   S   B   N    9   7   8   8   8   6   7   6   6   1   6   6   4 Le fonti della iconografia di ciascun saggio, quando nonsiano espressamente citate, appartengono all’archivio personale dell’Autore.Nel coordinamento dei vari saggi del volume hannoofferto un’assidua collaborazione la dott.ssa FrancescaRuppi e il dott. Francesco Cavaliere.Prestampa del volume: Congedo Editore, Redazione.In copertinaRecto : Siviglia, Alcázar. Alejo Fernández, Retablo dela Virgen de los Mareantes o de los Navegantes, XVIsecolo (particolare). Verso : Czestochowa. Virgin Mary Shrine (JasnaGóra).  4  Few Examples of Marian Devotion in the East Adriatic Urban Settlementsin the Late Medieval and Early Modern Period * Zoran Ladić Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Zagreb Meri Kunčić Lexicographic Institute Miroslav Krleža, Zagreb Abstract In this article the authors examine creation and development of the cults of saints inthe medieval and early modern communes situated on the East Adriatic shore particu-larly focusing on influence of Marian cult on pious life of inhabitants of East Adriaticurban settlements. Based on the data from written and visual sources the authors alsoanalysis the creation and increase of popularity of Marian cult from the Early MiddleAges to Renaissance paying particular attention to historical reasons which influencedthe flourishing of Marian cult in Istrian and Dalmatian communes in the late medievaland Renaissance period. For this purpose the authors examined notary records, chroni-cles, pilgrim diaries as well as votive images from various Istrian and Dalmatian com-munes. Introduction Although the iconographic contexts seen for example in sacral paintingsand sculptures represent valuable sources for researching medieval history,particularly aspects of daily life and religion, such visual sources are still rarelyused in Croatian historiography for that purpose. This is understandable to acertain extent, since visual sources are primarily in the domain of art historiansand are mostly studied by Croatian art historians 1 . Thus, for a long period, theabundant Eastern Adriatic medieval art heritage of sacral paintings, sculptures, 379 * This work has been supported in part by Croatian Science Foundation under the project6547. 1 Of course, this is the case with Croatian and perhaps some other Central European nationalhistoriographies, but not with Western European historiographies, where visual sources havelong been considered just as valuable for research purposes as, for instance, written sources.  altars, reliefs and so on remained primarily the source material of art histori-ans. These scholars focused on the aesthetic and stylistic characteristics of artis-tic pieces, comparing them with European and Italian (especially Venetian) art,while examination of these items in their historical context was only occasion-ally of interest to them 2 . Thus, from as early as the second half of the twentiethcentury, several Croatian art historians made significant contributions to thecomparative analysis of medieval visual and written sources, especially notaryrecords, applying an interdisciplinary approach. In that sense, art historianssuch as Cvito Fisković (1987), Kruno Prijatelj (Fisković, Prijatelj, 1948; Prijatelj,1965) and Ivo Petricioli (1965-1966) played an important role. However, themethodology they used in their interdisciplinary research was restricted totheir own intellectual grasp of certain problems, because of the rather weak scholarly connections between Croatian and European art historians. Never-theless, by reading studies by their Western European colleagues, especiallyItalian and German, and by establishing personal contacts with some of them,Croatian art historians from that period managed to implement some newlydiscovered methodological approaches in their research.However, in the last few decades, as a consequence of recent political, social,and cultural changes in Croatia, a new generation of art historians such as Zo-raida Demori Stanić (1994; 1992)and Ivana Prijatelj Pavičić (1998) have movedaway from the old Croatian school of art historians, mainly characterized by astrictly stylistic and artistic evaluation of medieval artistic production. Theirscholarly interest has shifted towards certain new aspects of Croatian medievaland Renaissance art history, which correspond to those already tackled byWestern European art historians. By placing Istrian and Dalmatian visualsources in their concrete historical context, the above-mentioned art historianshave succeeded in providing better explanations of certain iconographic pro-grams of sacral paintings. This includes understanding the reasons for select-ing certain saints but also the historical meanings of entire iconographic pro-grams. Thus, by examining presentations of palaces and houses represented insacral paintings and the inventories of goods written by communal notaries,they attempted to reconstruct the external forms as well as the interiors of me-dieval urban houses. Analyzing the presentations of secular figures, comparing Zoran Ladić - Meri Kunčić 380 2 This development of Croatian art history during the last century should be seen as the con-sequence of specific contemporary political, social, and cultural circumstances, which differedgreatly from those of Western European countries. It is also important to stress that Croatian arthistorians’ dealings with the medieval and Renaissance period, as in other countries, dependedheavily on the development of Croatian medieval historiography. Bearing in mind the limited in-fluence during the last century of historiography in general on art history and vice versa  , it may besaid that there was a weak interdisciplinary connection between these two complementary schol-arly disciplines. However, new social and scholarly circumstances in the last three decades have brought about the inclusion of Croatian historiography and art history in the European scholarlyflow. This is especially visible in the various student exchange programs, which have increasedthe participation of younger Croatian scholars in the most prominent European universities. An-other important factor which has boosted Croatian art history and history is the creation of theglobal digital society which enables continuous monitoring of new trends in European art historyand history via the Web.  them with the data from wills and inventories of goods, yields valuable infor-mation regarding the clothing of inhabitants from all social strata, sheddinglight on the material living standards of different classes and various other as-pects of urban daily life. Some of the best examples of this approach to me-dieval art history are presented in studies written by Emil Hilje, who examineddata on artistic pieces, painters, sculptors and their clientele in the notaryrecords of Eastern Adriatic communes, particularly those of Zadar (Hilje, 1999).Furthermore, in the last 25 years art historians and medievalists have conduct-ed research into the rich heritage of narrative sources such as the “vitae” and“legendae” of saints written in Istria and Dalmatia in Latin or vernacular Croa-tian (Gligo, Matković,1977), chronicles (Glavičić et al.  , 2007; Perić et al ., 2003),poetry (Milčetić, Milošević, 1911)and private diaries (Šišić, 1904). This has en-abled the examination and explanation of the historical circumstances that in-fluenced the creation of saintly cults and the selection of the described saints.Thus, in the last two decades, applying an interdisciplinary methodology, con-temporary Croatian art historians and medievalists have examined the above-mentioned medieval sources as well as legal documents such as communalstatute laws 3  , not only in connection to certain painters or sculptors but alsotheir clients (ecclesiastical institutions, fraternities, wealthy patricians and oth-er citizens of Istrian and Dalmatian communes and cities) 4 . Finally, they havealso examined the impact of cults of saints, especially communal patron saints,on the development of piety in entire communities 5 . Of the countless saintlycults that arose in Eastern Adriatic towns, that of the Virgin Mary is certainlyone of the most challenging for medievalists dealing with art history and reli-gious history. This is because its impact on late medieval piety in Europe, in-cluding Istrian and Dalmatian urban societies, exceeded all other cults of saints, even the extremely popular figures, such as the mendicant saints (StFrancis, St Dominic St Clare) 6 . As far as the Eastern Adriatic is concerned, itwas, in the first place, the consequence of particular historical circumstances inthe kingdoms of Croatia and Dalmatia, and to some extent in the province of Istria, associated with the irresistible Ottoman military pressure on the WesternBalkans as well as their raids on communes, cities and towns situated on theEastern Adriatic coast during the second half of the fifteenth century and theentire sixteenth century. II.4. Few Examples of Marian Devotion in the East Adriatic Urban Settlements 381 3 For instance, the Statute law of Split from 1312 begins with words “… ad laudem et reueren-tiam omnipotentis Dei et beatę Marię semper uirginis …” placing all other saintly protectors afterVirgin Mary (Cvitanić, 1998, p. 334). The Statute law of Rijeka from 1530 begins with similarwords “… ad laudem et reverentiam omnipotentis Dei et ejus gloriosissime Matris Virgins Marie…” followed by all other protector saints of Rijeka (Herkov, 1948, p. 326). On several other placesin both statute laws Virgin Mary is mentioned in connection to communal feasts, trading days orsome other occasions. 4 See, for example: Kunčić, 2011, pp. 16-19, 219-275; Čoralić, Prijatelj Pavičić, 2001. 5 See, for instance: Dugac, 2003; Vedriš, 2002. 6 Analyzing medieval and early modern religiosity in Europe, Robert N. Swanson assessedthe position of Virgin Mary within “communio sanctorum” and among believers by followingwords: “Among saints Virgin Mary was untouchable” (Swanson, 1995, p. 144).
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