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Journal Article

The Portrayal of Female Sainthood in Renaissance San Gimignano: Ghirlandaio's Frescoes of Santa Fina's Legend

Linda A. Koch
Artibus et Historiae
Vol. 19, No. 38 (1998), pp. 143-170
Published by: IRSA s.c.
DOI: 10.2307/1483589
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1483589
Page Count: 28

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Topics: Fresco, Churches, Legends, Funerals, Religious buildings, Altars, Renaissance art, Tombs, Eucharist, Narratives
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Portrayal of Female Sainthood in Renaissance San Gimignano: Ghirlandaio's Frescoes of Santa Fina's Legend
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Abstract

Domenico Ghirlandaio's two frescoes depicting the Legend of S. Fina in the Collegiata at San Gimignano (intended for the promotion of this local saint's official recognition by the Church) present an ideal image of female sainthood that focuses overwhelmingly on Fina's physical body. Ghirlandaio used Fina's recumbent position on a hard board to his advantage, providing settings that establish her likeness to the Virgin Mary, Christ Crucified, the early martyrs, and the Eucharist. The settings also imply her connection with the institution of the Church itself both through a visualization of the metaphorical equation of the spiritual and material "Church" and through reference to the Mass of St. Gregory. In a very brief depiction of a saint's legend unparalleled in the fifteenth century, Ghirlandaio endowed a little-known local female with universal Christian significance.

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