“Christian Correctness (or perhaps “courtesy?”) in Church”
Posted in S. Maria dei Servi in Padua.
Which is wonderful. I love these mid-sized European cities.
This church is also home to a crucifix which was recently identified as the work of Donatello. It is a quite interesting story that begins (in modern times) with a scholar running across a hand-written annotation in an early edition of Vasari’s Lives of the Artists. The story is here. The crucifix is below. One of the interesting points the article makes is that the crucifix has had a cultus of a miracle associated with it, and perhaps that is the reason that it has never attracted the interest of art historians:
How could art history have forgotten such a masterpiece? Ruffini posited two theories to explain why the work escaped notice for centuries. First, he believes that the miracle associated with the crucifix made it first and foremost a cult object. “The important point about miracles is that their agency is divine. The fame of the crucifix as a cult object eclipsed the name of the artist who made it,” Ruffini remarked. “Religion and art often help each other, but there’s also a hidden competition between artistic and religious values. When the religious significance determines how we look at an object, the aesthetic ways we look at it are removed from consideration.”