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Type of publication: Straipsnis / Article
Author(s): Baniulytė, Aušra
Title: Šv. Marijos Magdalenos de’Pazzi kultas Lietuvos baroko kultūroje: atvaizdai ir istorinė tikrovė
Other Title: The cult of saint Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi in the baroque culture of Lithuania: images and historical reality
Is part of: Darbai ir dienos, 2010, nr. 53, p. 225-258
Date: 2010
Abstract: The veneration of St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi (1566–1607, canonized on April 28, 1669 in Rome by Pope Clement X Altieri) was characteristic of Carmelite monasteries and extensively diffused in Baroque culture. Her cult best illustrates the images representing the saint and her visions, which were typical not only for the Italian painters of the 17th century, but also wide-spread in other European countries. I n the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth the cult of the saintly Carmelite nun from Florence started soon after Pope Urban VIII Barberini proclaimed her beatification in 1626. Meanwhile, the spread of the cult of St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi in the second half of the 17th century was clearly related to the Pacas family (Pol. Pac, plural Pacowie) who linked their origin to the Pazzi family from Florence. The devotion of the Pacas’s to this saint is testified to by the encomium writings of their court and their personal documents, including their testaments. I t is also witnessed by the relics (a tooth and several hairs), which were donated by Cosimo III de’Medici (1642–1723), Grand Duke of Tuscany, to the Bishop of Vilnius Mikalojus Steponas Pacas (Pol. Mikołaj Stefan Pac) (1623–1684). These relics were in their own specific reliquary, created by Florentine masters about 1677–1683. This very small (just 13 cm high) and fine reliquary, designed of rock crystal and decorated with pure gold and diamonds was placed for safe keeping in the treasury of the Vilnius Cathedral after the bishop’s death on May 8, 1684. At present, this reliquary, held by the Lithuanian Art Museum, is in an exposition of the Church Heritage Museum, located in St. Michael’s Church in Vilnius. However, historical documents testify that there was another big reliquary of St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi made of ebony with silver decorations and three small figures. In this reliquary, manufactured in the Medici workshop at the same time as the first one, were several hairs of the saint and a piece of her old habit. This reliquary was in a chapel specially dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi and built in the Church of the Visitation of the Holy Virgin, belonging to the Camaldolese Monastery of Pažaislis (Pol. Pożajść), which was founded in 1664 and built (1667–1674) under an endowment of the Lithuanian Grand Chancellor Kristupas Zigmantas Pacas (Pol. Krzysztof Zygmunt Pac) (1621–1684). During 1677–1683, the Florentine painter Michele Arcangelo Palloni decorated the church and the chapel, dedicated to the patron saint of the Pacas family, practically simultaneously with the construction and decoration of a big chapel-mausoleum in the Church of St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi (Borgo Pinti) in Florence. Palloni created the only surviving cycle of frescoes in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, depicting the visions of St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi, which fact also testifies to the devotion of the Pacas family to this saint. Although the iconographic program of the chapel in Pažaislis maintained a close relationship with the Chapel-Mausoleum of St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi in Florence, its ideational appearance differs completely from the latter. In the iconography of the Pažaislis Chapel, the particular emphasis is on the saint’s spiritual relations with St. Augustine of Hippo (354–430), established under the impact of the Pacas family’s religious perceptions, which tended toward the Jansenist doctrine very prevalent in that period. Nevertheless, the main aspect of the cult of St. Mary Magdalene de’Pazzi in Lithuania was connected with the spread of the ideas of the Counter-Reformation in Poland-Lithuania as well as with the political activities of the Pacas family and the Pontificate’s interests in the Baltic region.
Appears in Collections:Darbai ir dienos / Deeds and Days 2010, nr. 53

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