This interdisciplinary conference poses questions about the European fame of the Roman Veronica, the cloth believed to bear the imprint of the face of Christ. By bringing together the perspectives of scholars of history, literature, the liturgy and history of art, it seeks to break new ground in our understanding of the origin, cult, promotion and dissemination of the image, in the Middle Ages.
The origin of the cult of the Veronica is explored through such fundamental texts as the Cura Sanitatis Tiberii, which promulgated information about the Veronica to the West and through a critical reading of the erudite Latin treatise de sacrosancto sudario Veronicae, in which Giacomo Grimaldi identified all the medieval sources for the relic in the pontifical archives, such as the Liber Pontificalis and Liber politicus, inter alia.
The spread of the cult of the Veronica is examined through a synopsis of the liturgical texts, the Mass Proper of the Holy Face or of Saint Veronica, and the analysis of their literary form, biblical motives and theological content, as well as more generally within the theme of pilgrimages, whose goal was to see the holy face. From a historical viewpoint, the start of the cult of the Veronica during Innocent III’s pontificate and its historical development is considered, with particular attention to the question of indulgences, the role played by the Ospedale di Santo Spirito in Sassia, the destination of the procession with the relic, and the symbolic meaning of the Veronica for the popes.
Within art history, the development of characteristics of the Veronica in iconographic terms is traced, both within England and across Europe, and its inclusion in prayer books belonging to the laity appraised.
4th-5th April 2016, Magdalene College University of Cambridge
Istituto Toniolo, Milan
The Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge
The Department of Medieval, Humanistic and Renaissance Studies, UCSC
The Department of Language Sciences and Foreign Literatures, UCSC
The London Encounter by Manalive