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The Virgin of Mercy responding to the intercessions of saints by protecting people from arrows symbolising disease; the Devil rules below, where plague attacks the land. Lithograph after L. Dottorini after Benedetto Bonfigli, 1464 (?).

  • Bonfigli, Benedetto, approximately 1420-1496.
Date
1800-1899
Reference
21419i
  • Pictures
  • Online

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view The Virgin of Mercy responding to the intercessions of saints by protecting people from arrows symbolising disease; the Devil rules below, where plague attacks the land. Lithograph after L. Dottorini after Benedetto Bonfigli, 1464 (?).

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Credit: The Virgin of Mercy responding to the intercessions of saints by protecting people from arrows symbolising disease; the Devil rules below, where plague attacks the land. Lithograph after L. Dottorini after Benedetto Bonfigli, 1464 (?). Wellcome Collection. Public Domain Mark

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About this work

Description

Towards the bottom-left, a group of nuns proceed praying towards a church. The central flock gathered around the Virgin are divided into monks on the left and nuns on the right. Outside the city walls, a family, including an ass bearing twins, makes its way from the city. The two men on the right seem to be having an armed altercation with a man inside the gate

Arrows and spears abound in this print: above Mary, (here seen in her incarnation as the Virgin of Mercy or Misericordia), Jesus, recognisable by the wound in his side, wields three arrows in his hands; he stands between the two angels Justice and Mercy. Arrows break against the cloak on Mary's shoulders. Saint Sebastian kneels on her left. Raphael aims a prong at Satan, who holds a bow and two arrows, with which he (in the form of the plague) has slaughtered the group that lies at his feet. Three of the standing figures at the bottom are holding spears

Publication/Creation

1800-1899

Physical description

1 print : lithograph

Lettering

Præsidium in opportunitatibus. Vero ritratto del antichissimo quadro detto il SS. Gonfalone che si venera nella cappella della Confa. della SS. Concezione essistente nella chiesa de PP. Minori Conventali di S. Fran.co di Perugia. L. Dottorini incise.

References note

For information on the theme of the Virgin of Misericordia, the plague and the confraternities of monks, see: L. Réau, 'Iconographie de l'art chrétien' (Paris, 1957), vol. 2, pp. 112-119

Lettering note

The haloes are all inscribed; Mary's reads: Ave Maria gratia plena. From the left, clockwise: S. Bernardinus D...(Saint Bernardinus of Siena); S. Francissus de As[sisi]; Ser... (?); S. Laurentius Mar... (Saint Laurence Martyr); ...Justitia [Justice, the top-left hand angel]; Misericordia [Mercy, the top-right hand angel]; Ludovic... (Saint Louis); S. Costan... (Saint Constantinus?); S. Petrus Ma... [Saint Peter Martyr, with knife in head]; S. Sebastianus (Saint Sebastian); Rafael Miser[icordiæ?] (angel Raphael?). Scene below bears lettering: F.V.R. 1464.

Reference

Wellcome Library no. 21419i

Reproduction note

After a "gonfalone" (processional banner) attributed to Benedetto Bonfigli and/or members of his workshop, painted for the Capella della Confraternità della SS. Concezione, and recorded in the church of S. Francesco al Prato in Perugia (The dictionary of art, s.v. Bonfigli)

Type/Technique

Languages

  • Italian


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