Official Sanctity alla Veneziana: Gerardo, Pietro Orseolo, and Giacomo Salomani


Throughout late medieval and Renaissance Italy, pious men and women were recognized as saints during their own lifetime and accorded at least local veneration at the site of their tomb after death. Despite the absence of formal canonization, such cults were often promoted by local governments keen to enlist the beati as potent new intercessors for their native town. My paper explores the extent to which Venice both conformed to and departed from this pattern. Despite the existence of many local cults, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries only three local beati were officially recognized: Pietro Orseolo (d. 976), Gerardo da Venezia (d. 1046), and Giacomo Salomani (d. 1314). My paper examines their state-sponsored imagery, in San Marco and elsewhere, to shed light on the reasons why these three Venetian holy men were singled out as worthy of devotion by their government.


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