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FEAST - A Saint for the Day (April 6): St. Peter Martyr (Peter of Verona, Peter of Milan)


John Dillon <[log in to unmask]>


medieval-religion - Scholarly discussions of medieval religious culture <[log in to unmask]>


Sat, 30 Apr 2016 11:10:14 +0000





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medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

The Dominican priest Peter of Verona, known posthumously as Peter of Milan and (esp.) as Peter Martyr, came from a Cathar-leaning family that nonetheless sent him first to a Catholic school in Verona and then to the university of Bologna (at the time hardly a hotbed of heresy).  While in Bologna he came under the influence of St. Dominic of Caleruega and joined the recently formed Order of Preachers.  Peter became an effective preacher in northern Italy; based chiefly in Milan, he also took part memorably in 1244 and 1245 in a campaign against heretics in Florence and their Ghibelline supporters.  In June of 1251 Peter was appointed inquisitor for Lombardy and so became a particular target for organizers of Cathar resistance in that region.  On 6. April 1252, while traveling between Como and Milan, he was ambushed and murdered by a hired assassin who lodged a harvesting blade of some form in his skull and who finished him off with several more blows, giving Peter enough time, reportedly, to commend himself audibly to God and then to continue with the beginning of the creed, _Credo in unum Deum_ (a situationally apt utterance for someone being slain by a dualist).  A fellow Dominican traveling with him was also attacked but survived to give an account of the assault before dying of his wounds a few days later.  Peter's cult was virtually immediate.  Canonization came swiftly in 1253.  A relatively recent study is Donald Prudlo, _The Martyred Inquisitor: The Life and Cult of Peter of Verona († 1252)_ (Ashgate, 2008).

Peter's tomb is in Milan's basilica di Sant'Eustorgio.  Created in 1335-1339 by Giovanni di Balduccio, since 1737 it has been housed in the basilica's cappella Portinari:

In his iconography Peter is sometimes shown with a martyr's palm (or a beam of heavenly light) with three crowns: red (for virginity), black (for doctoral preaching), and gold (for martyrdom).  Herewith some period-pertinent images of St. Peter Martyr and of his miracles:

a) as depicted in a later thirteenth-century panel painting in an altar in Cremona's cattedrale di Santa Maria Assunta:

b) as depicted (martyrdom) in a later thirteenth-century illumination, cut from a manuscript seemingly of Bolognese origin, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:

c) as depicted (martyrdom) in a later thirteenth-century psalter from Gand / Ghent (ca. 1270-1280; New York, Morgan Library and Museum, Morgan MS M.72, fol. 140r):

d) as depicted (martyrdom) in a late thirteenth-century breviary possibly from Cambrai (ca. 1275-1300 ; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 J 18, fol. 370r):

e) as depicted (martyrdom) in the late thirteenth-century Livre d'images de Madame Marie (ca. 1285-1290; Paris, BnF, ms. Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 93r):

f) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Dominic of Caleruega) by Giotto di Bondone (attrib.) in a late thirteenth-century fresco (ca. 1290) on the contrafacade of the upper church of the basilica di San Francesco in Assisi:
1) in a photograph taken in 1997 (the year of the great earthquake):
2) in a photograph taken in 2002: 

g) as depicted (full-length portrait and scenes from his life) in an earlier fourteenth-century altarpiece from Aragon (ca. 1301-1333) in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya in Barcelona:

h) as depicted (martyrdom) in the earlier fourteenth-century Taymouth Hours (ca. 1326-1350; Sarum Use; London, BL, MS Yates Thompson 13, fol. 191v, at foot of page):

i) as depicted (at right; at left, St Edmund king and martyr; at center, St. Margaret) on a panel of the earlier fourteenth-century Thornham Parva retable (ca. 1335; almost certainly from Thetford priory in Norfolk) in the church of St Mary, Thornham Parva (Suffolk):
The retable as a whole (St. Peter Martyr at far right):

j) as depicted (preaching in Florence, with the miracle of the devil in equine form) by Bernardo Daddi in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting (1338; from a dismembered predella once in Florence's chiesa di Santa Maria Novella) in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris:

k) as portrayed in high relief by Giovanni di Balduccio on panels of his earlier fourteenth-century marble tomb (completed, 1339) in the cappella Portinari in Milan's basilica di Sant'Eustorgio:
1) his martyrdom (upper left: initial attack; center: in prayer, dying):
2) his initial entombment (in 1252):
3) his canonization:
4) his apparition to save a ship:
5) his exposition and translation in Sant'Eustorgio (in summer 1253):

l) as portrayed in high relief (with three donors) by Giovanni di Balduccio on an earlier fourteenth-century marble panel (ca. 1340; from a tomb in Verona's basilica di Sant'Eustorgio) in the Cloisters Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York:

m) as depicted (scenes from his life) by Andrea di Bonaiuto (Andea da Firenze) in a series of later fourteenth-century fresco panels (ca. 1367) in the cappella dei Spagnoli in Florence's Museo di Santa Maria Novella:
1) receiving the habit from St. Dominic:
2) preaching in Florence:
3) his martyrdom:
4) the miracle of Rufinus:
5) the miracle of Agatha:
6) the sick and cripples at his tomb:

n) as depicted (martyrdom) in a late fourteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1382; London, BL, Royal MS 19 B XVII, fol. 116v):

o) as depicted (martyrdom) by Cola Petruccioli (attrib.) in a late fourteenth-century fresco (1396) in the cappella di San Tommaso (formerly cappella degli Angeli) in Perugia's basilica di San Domenico:

p) as depicted in a late fourteenth- or early fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Rennes, Bibliothèque de Rennes Métropole, ms. 266, fol. 117v):

q) as depicted (martyrdom) by Taddeo di Bartolo in a predella panel of ca. 1400 in the Smith College Museum of Art, Northampton, MA:

r) as depicted (martyrdom) by Gentile da Fabriano on a pinnacle of his reconstructed probably early fifteenth-century Valle Romita polyptych (1406?; ca. 1410-1412?) in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan:
Two reconstructions of the polyptych as a whole, showing the pinnacle either at far left or at second from left: 

s) as portrayed in relief on one of the earlier fifteenth-century vault bosses (attributed to Johannes Junge, active 1406-1428) in the winter refectory of the Burgkloster in Lübeck:

t) as depicted by Jacobello del Fiore (attrib.; also attributed to Gentile da Fabriano) in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1428) in the House Collection of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, DC:

u) as depicted three times (lower register, second from right: full-length portrait; upper register, left: preaching; upper register, right: martyrdom) by Beato Angelico in his earlier fifteenth-century triptych of St. Peter Martyr (ca. 1429) in the Museo nazionale di San Marco in Florence:
Detail view (martyrdom):

v) as depicted (martyrdom) by Beato Angelico in an earlier fifteenth-century gradual (ca. 1430; Florence, Museo nazionale di San Marco, Graduale 558, fol. 41v):
Detail view:

w) as depicted (martyrdom) by Henri d'Orquevaulz in an earlier fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Metz (ca. 1440; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 10533, fol. 140v):

x) as depicted by Beato Angelico in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (earlier 1440s; from his dismembered San Marco altarpiece) in the Royal Collection at Hampton Court Palace, Richmond upon Thames: 

y) as depicted (main panel, lower register at far right) by Beato Angelico in a mid-fifteenth-century fresco (ca. 1441-1442) in the chapter room of the convento (now Museo nazionale) di San Marco in Florence:
Detail view:

z) as twice portrayed in relief on a fragment of a mid-fourteenth-century portal (1444; from the no longer extant Scola dei santi Vincenzo e Pietro Martire in Venice) remounted on an exterior wall of Venice's basilica dei Santo Giovanni e Paolo:

aa) as depicted by Antonio Vivarini in two mid-fifteenth-century panel paintings from a dismembered altarpiece (1450s):
1) the miracle of the fire (_aliter_, ca. 1440-1445; Berlin, Gemäldegalerie):
2) the miracle of the young man's foot (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art):

bb) as depicted in grisaille by Jean le Tavernier in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (ca. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 259r):

cc) as depicted (at right, flanking St. Anthony of Egypt; at left, St. Benedict of Nursia) in a mid-fifteenth-century fresco (1456) in the monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa, a priory of Cluny situated in Provaglio d'Iseo (BS) in Lombardy:
Detail view (Peter):

dd) as portrayed in relief on two mid- or later fifteenth-century marble panels flanking the portal on the facade of Verona's basilica di Sant'Anastasia:
1) the miracle of the cloud:
2) his martyrdom:
3) The panels in their immediate context:

ee) as depicted in a panel (nXIX, 2c) in the mid- to late fifteenth-century glass windows in the church of the Holy Trinity at Long Melford (Suffolk; photograph courtesy of Gordon Plumb):
As is often the case in stained glass, the black of Peter's Dominican habit has been replaced with blue.

ff) as depicted (appearing to Pigello Portinari) in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1460; variously attributed) in the cappella Portinari of Milan's basilica di Sant'Eustorgio:

gg) as depicted (scenes) by Vincenzo Foppa in later fifteenth-century frescoes (ca. 1468; uncovered in 1871 and restored in 1915) in the cappella Portinari in Milan's basilica di Sant'Eustorgio:
1) the miracle of the cloud:
2) the miracle of the false Madonna (miracle of the host):
3) the miracle of the young man's foot:
4) his martyrdom:

hh) as depicted by Taddeo Crivelli in the later fifteenth-century Gualenghi-d'Este Hours (ca. 1469; Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig IX 13, fol. 192v):

ii) as depicted by Vecchietta in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (1470s) in the Collezione Vittorio Cini in Venice:

jj) as depicted (at left, with a donor) by the Master of the St. Lucy Legend in a later fifteenth-century triptych (ca. 1475-1483) in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

kk) as depicted by Carlo Crivelli in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1476) in the National Gallery in London:
Detail view:

ll) as depicted (lower register at right) by Andrea da Murano (Andrea di Giovanni) in a later fifteenth-century altarpiece (ca. 1478) in Venice's Gallerie dell'Accademia:

mm) as depicted (martyrdom) in a late fifteenth-century copy of the _Legenda aurea_ in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (ca. 1480-1490; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 244, fol. 135v):

nn) as depicted (the miracle of the fire) in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1480-1500) in the Museo del Prado in Madrid:

oo) as depicted (second from right; at far right, St. Venantius of Camerino) by Carlo Crivelli in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (1482; from his dismembered altarpiece for the chiesa di San Domenico in Camerino) in the Pinacoteca di Brera in Milan:
Detail views:

pp) as depicted (martyrdom) by Domenico Ghirlandaio and workshop in their late fifteenth-century frescoes (completed, 1490) in the cappella Tornabuoni in Florence's chiesa di Santa Maria Novella:

qq) as depicted by Pedro Berruguete in late fifteenth-century panel paintings (1490s; from dismembered retables formerly at Santo Tomás de Ávila) in the Museo del Prado in Madrid:
1) his martyrdom:
2) supplicants at his tomb):
3) full-length-portrait (ca. 1494):

rr) as depicted by Giovanni Bellini in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (betw. 1490 and 1500) in the Pinacoteca provinciale "Corrado Giaquinto" in Bari:
Detail view:

ss) as depicted (left margin at top) in a hand-colored woodcut in the Beloit College copy of Hartmann Schedel's late fifteenth-century _Weltchronik_ (_Nuremberg Chronicle_; 1493) at fol. CCXIIIr:

tt) as depicted (with a donor) by Ambrogio Bergognone (Ambrogio di Stefano da Fossano) in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1494?; from a dismembered altarpiece; transferred to cloth) in the Musée du Louvre in Paris:
Detail view:

uu) as portrayed in high relief on the late fifteenth-century lower facade (completed, 1500) of the iglesia conventual de San Pablo in Valladolid:

vv) as depicted (at right; at left, St, Anthony of Egypt) in a late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century fresco in the rupestrian church of San Nicola dei Greci in Matera:
Detail view (in stronger light):

ww) as depicted (martyrdom) in a very late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century illumination (ca. 1500) added to the late fifteenth-century Isabella Breviary (ca. 1497; Use of the Dominicans; London, BL, Add. Ms. 18851, fol. 365r):

xx) as depicted (martyrdom) in an early sixteenth-century panel painting in the vestibule of the cappella Portinari in Milan's basilica di Sant'Eustorgio:

yy) as depicted (at center, with a donor; at right, the BVM and Christ Child) by Lorenzo Lotto in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (1503) in the Museo nazionale di Capodimonte in Naples:

zz) as depicted by Jean Bourdichon in the early sixteenth-century Grandes Heures d'Anne de Bretagne (ca. 1503-1508; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 9474, fol. 179v):

aaa) as depicted by Vittore Carpaccio in a seemingly early sixteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1505-1514; _aliter_, ca. 1490) in the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK:

bbb) as depicted (martyrdom) by Giovanni Bellini in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1507) in the National Gallery in London:

ccc) as depicted (martyrdom) by the workshop of Giovanni Bellini in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (1509) in The Courtauld Gallery in London:
Note the bleeding tree stumps.

ddd) as depicted (upper register left; at center, St. Catherine of Siena; at right, St. Margaret of Hungary; in the foreground St. Mary Magdalene) by Juan de Borgoña in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (ca. 1515) in the Museo del Prado in Madrid:

eee) as depicted by Thoman (Thomas) Burgkmair in two early sixteenth-century panel paintings (ca. 1515-1520; from a dismembered altarpiece for the Dominican church in Augsburg) in the Schaezlerpalais in Augsburg:
1) full-length portrait:
2: the resuscitation of a dead infant at the saint's tomb in Milan:

John Dillon
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