In the footsteps of St Peter: New light on the half-length images of Benedict XII by Paolo da Siena and Boniface VIII by Arnolfo di Cambio in Old St Peter’s

Claudia Bolgia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

This chapter offers a new understanding of papal self-fashioning strategies between the late-thirteenth and the mid-fourteenth centuries. On the basis of hitherto neglected or misunderstood sources, it demonstrates that the original location of the half-length image of Benedict XII (1341) in Old St Peter’s differed considerably from earlier reconstructions. This prompts a reinterpretation of the sculpture’s original function and of the message that it conveyed about the role of the pope by materializing his presence in Rome at a time of contested absence. Furthermore, the reappraisal of monumental Petrine ‘presences’ in the basilica leads not only to revise the traditional reading of Arnolfo di Cambio’s half-length image of Pope Boniface VIII as associated with the papal tomb, but also to offer a new proposal for its original setting and function. These findings transform our knowledge of the pilgrim experience in Old St Peter’s, whilst throwing new light on the sacred topography of the most important basilica of Western Christendom.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPope Benedict XII (1334-1342)
Subtitle of host publicationThe Guardian of Orthodoxy
EditorsIrene Bueno
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Chapter5
Pages131-165
Number of pages35
ISBN (Electronic)9789048538140
ISBN (Print)9789462986770
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2018

Keywords

  • portraiture
  • sacred typography
  • papal authority
  • sculpture
  • St Peter
  • St Peter's
  • Rome
  • Benedict XII
  • Boniface VIII
  • Arnolfo di Cambio
  • Paolo da Siena

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