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«Meredith Fluke Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Graduate School of Arts and ...»

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Building Across the Sacred Landscape: The Romanesque Churches of Verona

in their Urban Context

Meredith Fluke

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the

requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Philosophy

in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences



© 2012

Meredith Fluke

All rights reserved


Building Across the Sacred Landscape: The Romanesque Churches of Verona in their Urban Context Meredith Fluke This project explores the intersection of art, religion, and community within the historical context of the Middle Ages, where architecture acts as an expression of the experience of urban life, as well as an affecting locus of social interaction. It focuses on medieval Verona, where the immense architectural renovations of the eleventh and twelfth centuries were an integral response to a period of intense social and religious transformation. Here, the churches are examined as an ensemble, as a network of interconnected buildings that were produced under similar social circumstances. Instead of focusing on defining a Veronese architectural style through a number of decorative features, however, this dissertation explores difference as being an important factor in defining the look of each Veronese church, focusing on the Romanesque churches’ relationships to the city, floorplans, and elevations as evocations of a period of considerable creativity. This variation is considered in terms of the experiences of the communities and individuals who commissioned them, and how the buildings’ historical and cultic associations were identified within the larger urban context.

To help pinpoint the identities projected upon these churches, I look at how each functioned within the city’s extensive stational liturgies. As medieval sources reveal, a stational system (that is, masses held by the bishop at various urban churches throughout the liturgical year) was instituted in Verona by at least the eleventh century, based on the stational mass system practiced in Rome throughout the Middle Ages and beyond. The practice was limited to 13 ancient churches, and the choices made concerning which churches and how were used within the system betrays a ritualized self-fashioning. Here, the Veronese churches became types of Roman churches, and their architecture expressed it. Moreover, through the institution of a stational practice, Verona itself became a “type” of Rome.

In exploration of this idea, I have chosen three case studies as churches that represent architectural patterns in Verona over time. While chapters 1 and 2 trace the history and development of the Veronese Church and its liturgies, chapters 3, 4, and 5 are dedicated to three architectural case studies. Chapter 3 focuses on Santo Stefano, a church long associated with episcopal burial. Early-eleventh century architectural additions show a programmatic attempt to allude to the ancient martyrial associations of the church, and to link it with its martyrial prototype, St. Peter’s in Rome. In chapter 4, the church of San Lorenzo provides an example of a building whose construction spanned the eleventh and twelfth centuries. In its twelfth-century phase, efforts were made to highlight the building’s antiquity by aligning it with its correlate church of San Lorenzo fuori le mura in Rome. The church of San Giovanni in Valle provides our third and final study in chapter 5. Unlike the other cases, the church was built completely anew in the mid twelfth century, allowing us to consider the ways in which eleventh-century trends were eschewed in this twelfth-century episcopal campaign. The apparent use of design and spatial elements found in other contemporaneous churches throughout Verona, facilitated by the increased patronage of the Veronese bishops, allows the church of San Giovanni in Valle to work in conversation with other major building campaigns, such as the Duomo of Verona. For this reason, San Giovanni has often been promoted as the perfect incarnation of the Veronese Romanesque style.

In the case of these three churches, both the architectural space and decoration referenced other architecture in order to evoke meaning. While sometimes the reference points were standard iconographic types (such as martyria), and sometimes they were specific buildings (such as the church of San Lorenzo fuori le mura), they were always meant to convey meaning to a medieval audience. These associations were based in tradition, but promoted by current patrons and those associated with the building. In this time of upheaval and change, architecture was a means of actuating old associations and creating new ones in order to lay claim to the transforming landscape.


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AND THE VERONESE EPISCOPAL STYLE............................... 245

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3.23 Santo Stefano, floorplan of the church with the upper ambulatory 163

3.24 Santo Stefano, choir, southern entrance to the upper ambulatory 164

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3.35 Santo Stefano, choir, paintings below the arcade of the upper ambulatory 175

3.36 Santo Stefano, choir, paintings below the arcade of the upper ambulatory 172

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4.28 The Porta Leoni, Verona: foundations, façade, and reconstruction 239

4.29 Iconografia Rateriana, detail showing both the palatium and city-gate 240

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There are many people and institutions that were instrumental in the completion of this study.

First and foremost, to my advisor, Stephen Murray, who, with supreme patience, kindness, and erudition, provided endless guiding lights through a long process. From him, I learned the joy of looking at buildings, and the excitement of trying to tell their stories. My interest in the problems Romanesque architecture will be forever shaped by a summer in the Bourbonnais, where he tirelessly encouraged a group of students to impress countless churches into the soft wax of their minds. Through this, I learned the importance of finding ways to synthesize a large corpus of architecture, while remaining true to the individual buildings—and the importance of loving where you work.

I am also extremely grateful to Susan Boynton, whose boundless energy and generosity of spirit helped guide my understanding of the liturgy from this project’s inception, and to Holger Klein, who taught me how to really read a building. The hours I spent with him looking at architecture were some of the most formative to my scholarly life. I also wish to thank Professors Dorothy Glass and Natalie Kampen who served on my committee, and whose many helpful suggestions greatly improved this dissertation.

This project would not have come to fruition were it not for funding from a Columbia University Travel Grant; the Delmas Foundation; The Kress Foundation; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I have been greatly affected by the fellowship that I encountered in the years that I spent at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome, and as a Chester Dale fellow in the Medieval Department at the Met.

I wish to express my sincerest gratitude to the many librarians and archivists who have made my research possible, and often pleasurable, including: The learned librarians of the

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look at each and every manuscript that I asked for; the archivists at Verona’s Archivio di Stato;

Michael Carter at The Cloisters Museum; and the librarians at the Bibliotheca Hertziana and Avery Library at Columbia. I also owe everything to Erik Gustafson, who patiently took thousands of photographs of Veronese architecture, and generously shared them with me.

I feel particularly indebted to the institution and people of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, who has supported me throughout my graduate school experience, especially Marcie Karp, Peter Barnet, and Charles Little, who have granted me endless opportunities at the Met and beyond. I owe my most deepest gratitude, however, to Nancy Wu, who has always been willing to drop anything for a conversation about medieval art or music, and who has been a consummate advisor and friend, ever since I went to work for her in 1998.

Finally, words cannot express my gratitude to my family, and especially to my husband Todd Davis, who has spent days of his life looking at masonry construction, who has put aside his classical sensibilities to comb through medieval Latin inscriptions, who has kept our young children happy and occupied for days on end, and who has supported me in myriad other ways.

This work is dedicated to him, and to our son and daughter, Milo and Olwen.

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Among the medieval treasures located in Verona’s Biblioteca Capitolare, a drawing— commonly referred to as the Iconografia Rateriana—provides a fascinating view into the medieval urban imagination [IMAGE Intro.1].1 The drawing, most likely copied in the seventeenth century from a tenth-century original, is associated with the bishop Ratherius, and presents a panoramic view of Verona as a schematized jumble of buildings. In it, the city is depicted as an isolated rectangle, bounded on all sides by city walls.2 The city’s buildings are crowded and overlapped inside, as they turn and present their façades to the viewer. Rounded arches and peaked roofs dominate the collection of buildings, which is constituted of Roman, early Christian, and medieval monuments. At center and mirroring the rectangular composition, a bridge crosses the river Adige, which originates from a head of a river god in the drawing’s 1 The bibliography for the Iconografia Rateriana is both extensive and limited. While many authors refer to it briefly, there has been very little study of the drawing as more than a historical document. For a history of the image and seventeenth-century manuscript that holds it (Biblioteca Capitolare ms CXIV, commonly called the Codex Maffeiana), see G. B. Pighi’s introduction in Versus de Verona: versvm de mediolano civitate; edizione critica e commento (Bologna, 1960). According to Pighi (from his seventeenth-century source, Scipione Maffei), the original drawing was located in a tenth-century manuscript (called the Codex Rateriana) that was discovered at the monastery of Lobbes in the seventeenth century. At this time, the church historian Giovanni Mabillon was informed of an ancient list of Veronese bishops located at the monastery’s library. Mabillon then published the contents of the so-called Codex Rateriana: bound together in the manuscript were Ratherian and liturgical texts, a Carolingian poem lauding Verona (now called the Versus de Verona or the Ritmo Pipiniano), and an undated drawing (the Iconografia). In the eighteenth century, parts of the manuscript, including the Iconografia, were copied for the Veronese antiquarian Francesco Scipione Maffei. The monastery at Lobbes later burned, and the original “Codex Rateriana” has since been lost. Maffei’s copy is currently located at the Biblioteca Capitolare and is referred to as the Codex Maffeiana. The contents of the codex have been indexed in Carlo Cipolla, “L’antichissima iconografia di Verona, secondo una copia inedita” in Atti della R. Accademia dei Lincei (Roma, 1903), pp. 49-50. It is also worth noting that a large part of the medieval codex was occupied by a passionary—a liturgical manuscript of saints’ lives—that included a number of Veronese saints. If, in fact, the original manuscript belonged to Bishop Ratherius, the ownership of a passionary would be in keeping with his mission of instituting Carolingian liturgical reforms, due to the fact that hagiographic readings at the Office were not part of the Roman liturgy until the ninth century.

Instead, hagiographic readings were a part of the Gallic liturgy that was incorporated into the Roman liturgy as part of the Carolingian liturgical reforms. For information on the history of passionaries, as well as hagiographic readings at the Office (usually Matins), see Erik Palazzo, A History of Liturgical Books (Collegeville, MN, 1993), pp. 156-157.

2 This attribution is highly debated—certainly, considering the fact that it only exists as a eigthteenth-century copy, the veracity of the Iconografia should not be assumed. The drawing also receives dates ranging from the sixth to the twelfth centuries. For the pictorial traditions as related to the Iconografia, see Eduardo Arslan, La pittura e la scultura veronese dal secolo VIII al secolo XIII (Verona, 1943), pp. 38-49.

2 upper left hand corner, and which divides the city diagonally in half. Surrounding the image, a poem bids farewell to Verona as it sentimentally lauds the city and its monuments.3 As medieval image of a city, the Iconografia is not surprising—images like it had been used in various contexts for centuries. Perhaps the most familiar are depicted in early Christian and Carolingian apse mosaics, where twinned images of Bethlehem and Jerusalem utilize the same flattened and schematized look to portray the heavenly cities [IMAGE Intro.2]. Similar to the Iconografia, these cities are depicted as a tightly-packed group of structures, surrounded by a high city wall. Also similar to the Iconografia, the images include a diverse group of structures, representing the types of buildings that one would expect to find in the early medieval landscape.

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