medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture

On Tuesday, April 11, 2006, at 7:28 pm, Phyllis wrote:

> Today (12. April) is the feast day of:
> Zeno (d. c. 371)  Zeno may have been an African.  More certain, he 
> had a good classical education and became bishop of Verona in 362. 

There is, of course, more than one saint Zeno.  E.g., this person,
seemingly a younger contemporary of Z. of Verona:

Today (12. April) is Z. of Verona's feast day in the general Roman
calendar.  But in his own diocese he has since 2004 been celebrated
liturgically on 21. May.  This move, which gets the celebration of the
local patron saint out of Lent, places Z.'s feast on the anniversary of
his translation in 807 to what is often thought to have been a
predecessor of the former abbey church in Verona dedicated to him and
now known as now known as San Zeno Maggiore.  This latter structure,
built from ca. 1138 to 1178 and incorporating some elements of a
tenth-century predecessor, is one Italy's major "romanesque" monuments.
It is also noteworthy for some later ornamentation (of which more
later).  An illustrated, Italian-language account of it is here:

Some exterior views:

Facade and main portal:
Reliefs on the facade:
Various detail views may be seen in the Italian-language account on this
page (though the first image is of the cathedral of Ferrara):
A Thais page on reliefs on the main portal:
Forty-eight bronze panels survive on the door.  Slightly expandable
views of a number of this will be found here:
Much better ones, as well as expandable views of the portal reliefs and
of other features, will be found on the five pages starting here:

Some interior views:
The altarpiece (1457-60) is by Andrea Mantegna.  Here's a closer view:
The saint at the far right in the upper left-hand panel is Z.
Elsewhere in the church is the locally famous "San Zen che ride"
("Smiling Saint Zeno"):
In the statue's present state, he's a "Black Saint Zeno".  But this is
unlikely to have anything to do with modern conjectures about Z.'s
having been of African origin and training. 

San Zeno Maggiore's frescoes include this set, with a well known George
and Dragon:

The crypt is the tenth-century one, rebuilt in the thirteenth and
sixteenth centuries:

Two views of the cloister:

As its name implies, San Zeno Maggiore is not the only Veronese church
dedicated to Z.  Here's a view of the facade of the originally
twelfth-century San Zeno in Oratorio, otherwise known as San Zenetto
("Little Saint Zeno"):
And here's an illustrated Italian-language account of said church:
Inside is this fourteenth-century statue of Z.:

John Dillon

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