Analysis Of Megan Holmes '' Miraculous Images In Renaissance Florence'

1423 Words 6 Pages
Materiality and Identity
Megan Holmes’s “Miraculous Images in Renaissance Florence” examines many of the ramifications of materiality. The materiality, an image’s physical properties, has direct impacts on the expression and popularity of immagini miracolose. These sacred images are subjects of miracles throughout the late 13th to 16th centuries. Two of the most important ramifications of materiality include the accessibility of the religious images and manifestation of the miracles. In this essay, I will explain how the physical properties of immagini miracolose create an approachable atmosphere to religious figures for the common people and how the physical properties directly influence the ways in which miracles manifest. By framing these
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As the cult matures, the legends surrounding the miraculous image are revised to insure the prosperity of the cult. A notable example in Holmes’s text is the development of the legends behind the Annunciation at the SS Annunziata. The image cult surrounding the Annunciation begins with the claim that the artwork is painted by divine intervention. As the cult’s popularity grows, this claim matures to be that an angel painted the artwork. This image becomes particularly prevalent in Florentine society, and the cult’s claimed origin of the miraculous properties incites this popularity. A popular legend and its revisions allows an image cult to grow in raw numbers and to maintain those …show more content…
The enshrinement is a physical manifestation of the significance of the image to the cult. The value of the image is directly proportional to the extent of enshrinement and to the amount of offerings. The layering of the enshrinement and offerings creates a history of the image and its cult. As an image’s popularity grows, the expense of its enshrinement grows. This layering melds the process of growing popularity with the already produced form of the miraculous image. David Harvey’s “palimpsest, a series of layers… at different historical moments all superimposed upon each other,” is then created through the immagini miracolose. The palimpsest of the image cult is a physical collection of artifacts attached to and surrounding the miraculous image. The first frame for the image eventually becomes an elaborate tabernacle, and all the steps in between are recorded.
Materiality and the Application
The impacts of materiality on miraculous images allow a better understanding of the processes leading to the development of identity in Renaissance Florence. We know better the causes of immagini miracolose through the specific discussion of materiality. With the historical layering of retrospective legends and of enshrinement, we can analyze the growth of image cults archeologically. The future investigation of a singular image cult’s history may reveal more connections to the formation of

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