Visualizing the immaculate conception: Donatello, francesco della rovere, and the high altar and choir screen at the church of the santo in Padua

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Abstract

This essay contends that Donatello's High Altar at the Santo in Padua represents the Immaculate Virgin, reflecting a controversial doctrine of burgeoning interest in fifteenth-century Italy that she was exempted from original sin prior to the first moment of her conception. It ties the altar and scenes on the surrounding choir screen to a sermon promoting the Virgin's immaculacy by Francesco della Rovere (later Sixtus IV), spoken in Padua in 1448 while the altar was being erected. It further connects the liturgical ensemble with bulls by Sixtus IV and liturgical offices sponsored by him after he was elected pope.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)831-864
Number of pages34
JournalRenaissance Quarterly
Volume69
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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