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11 Dicembre 2020

The Roman Liturgy, Michelangelo, and Vittoria Colonna: A Moment of Orthodoxy, at San Silvestro, with Fra Ambrogio Catarino Politi


di Lynette M.F. Bosch

Iconocrazia 17/2020 - Iconocratic Studies. In memory of Sarah Jordan Lippert (Vol. 1), Saggi




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Within the decade that followed Martin Luther’s excommunication by Pope Leo X on January, 1521,[1] it became clear to Europe’s Christians that the disruption of the Catholic Church’s hegemony over Christianity was to be taken personally.[2] As the realization that Christianity was no longer united became evident, Europeans at all levels of society grappled with the realization that their world had permanently changed and that it fell to them to choose their spiritual safety. As the split between Protestants and Catholics widened, Christians understood that the wrong spiritual choice could seal an individual’s fate to an eternity of torment in Hell. For those who lacked the imagination to envision such a fate, artists, in representations of the Last Judgment, provided explicit and graphic renderings detailing the fate of blasphemers who chose the wrong path to salvation. The continuing confessional debates presented European Christians with three choices: depart from the Church and adhere to one of the Protestant possibilities; stick closely to the Church’s orthodox dogma; or develop an individualistic and eclectic spirituality, while remaining within the Church. All possibilities could be swapped out at will, and individuals could and did move back and forth from the Church to myriad Protestant possibilities.

As Christianity underwent continuing transformations, centers of religious activity developed among the laity, often led by spiritual advisers. One such nexus, located in Rome between 1538 and 1541, provided the locus for the spiritual friendship and artistic interaction that developed between Vittoria Colonna and Michelangelo.[3] The two would meet at San Silvestro a Monte Cavallo (al Quirinale), which was a short walk from the Convent of the Poor Clares at San Silvestro a Capite where Colonna was living.[4] In the cloister of the monastery of San Silvestro a Monte Cavallo, Colonna, Michelangelo, and group of friends met to discuss their spiritual paths under the guidance of Fra Ambrogio Catarino Politi (1484–1553),[5] who then resided at the monastery.[6] The artistic results of this significant friendship were Michelangelo’s drawings[7] for Colonna of the Christ on the Cross (Fig. 1),[8] the Pietà (Fig. 2),[9] and the Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well (Fig. 3).[10] The subject and content of the three works were described by Giorgio Vasari[11] and by Ascanio Condivi.[12] It is argued below that these works of Michelangelo’s reflect Colonna’s spiritual development under Politi’s guidance.




Fig. 1 Michelangelo, Christ on the Cross, 1541. British Museum, London, UK. Photo credit: ©The Trustees of the British Museum/commons.wikimedia.org (WGA15516.jpg).



Fig. 2. Michelangelo, Pietà, 1546. Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, Boston, MA. Photo credit: en.wikpedia.org.  

          




Fig. 3. Attributed to Giulio Clovio, after Michelangelo, Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, 1536–1542. Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, UK (WAG 2789). Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

For most of her life, Vittoria Colonna (1492–1547), noblewoman and poet, belonged to the category of individuals who remained faithful to the Church yet had eclectic spiritual interests. While remaining loyal to the papacy, Colonna regularly established friendships with individuals who held varying spiritual positions, including some whose spiritual allegiances were suspect.[13] Among Colonna’s most suspect friends was her confessor, the Capuchin friar Bernardino Ochino,[14] who in June 1542 left Italy and joined John Calvin in Geneva, thereafter living as a Protestant.[15] Prior to his definitive break with the Church, Ochino was part of the circle of the problematic Spanish religioso Juan de Valdés, who never openly broke with the Church yet held views later condemned by the Council of Trent.[16] Also close to Colonna and a member of the Valdesian circle was Giulia Gonzaga, who was married to Colonna’s second cousin, Vespasiano Colonna (Count of Fondi). Gonzaga was a central member of the Valdesian circle who identified Valdés as her spiritual adviser.[17]

Colonna was in Rome during the time of the meetings at San Silvestro because she had been summoned to the city by Pope Paul III, as she informed Pietro Aretino in a letter dated 25 September 1538.[18] Colonna’s arrival in Rome ended two years of travel, during which she had followed Bernardino Ochino, as he preached in different Italian cities.[19] Colonna did not mention Ochino in her letter to Aretino. Nonetheless, she recorded that she understood that her summons to Rome was intended to be corrective and that she had been so informed by the Marchese del Vasto, Alfonso d’Avalos, who told her that the pope was disturbed by her spiritual presentation. Colonna described her encounter with d’Avalos to Aretino:

I stayed some time at Lucca [where Ochino preached, in 1538],[20] but not at Pisa, as your letter states. I passed from there; and not being able to go to Jerusalem [Colonna had intended a pilgrimage but her health failed her],[21] I remained there consoled: but I am compelled to return to Rome by his Holiness, instigated thereto by your friend and mine, the Marchese del Vasto (Alfonso d’Avalos) as it seems to him that his Holiness is offended by my Christian humility.

Clearly Colonna was irritated by Paul III’s lack of confidence in her spirituality and by being subtly reprimanded by a pope she held in high esteem.

Colonna’s esteem for Paul III and her adherence to the Church are recorded in her sonnet to Paul III, where she explicitly identifies herself as an adherent of the Church of St. Peter, now being assailed by the Protestants:

With mud and weedy growth so foul I see
Thy net, O Peter, that should any wave
Assail it from without or trouble it,
It might be rendered, and so risk the ship.
For now thy bark, no more, as erst, skims light
With favoring breezes o’er the troubled sea;
But labors burdened so from stem to stern,
That danger menaces the course it steers.
They good successor, by direct decree
Of providence elect, with heart and hand
Assiduous strives to bring it to the port.
But spite his striving his intent is foiled
By other’s evil. So that all have seen
That without aid from thee, he strives in vain.[22]

In a related sonnet, she identifies Paul III as the best hope for the Church’s survival:

I see my fields, once resplendent, gleaming
Only with the flash of armored girth,
And hear sweet laughter to lament turned, song into screaming,
Tell me, show by gentle deeds redeeming,
O pastor of proud and sainted birth,
How you will wear the sacred cope, go humbly, seeming
To the first pope, the first father, equal in worth.
We both (if truth won’t cloud your disdain)
Spring from the same Roman sons,
And beloved of them, by long custom we both remain.
Under the same sky, at the same breast laid,
Born together in the soft shade
Of one city, the same, were our ancient one.[23]

Colonna’s consistent fealty to the papacy and to individual popes occurred earlier in a sonnet addressed to Charles V, wherein she referred to Pope Clement VII as a “true shepherd” who will “guide the split and hurt flock into one fold.”[24]

In addition to the sonnets in which Colonna repeatedly emphasizes her belief in the Church’s legitimacy and her loyalty to the papacy, Colonna’s personal devotional practices were also testimony to her adherence to the Church, as she had a consistent belief in the efficacy of intercessory saints and in the crucial intercessory role the Virgin Mary played in the salvation of the faithful.[25] Colonna’s belief in the manner in which the saints and the Virgin assisted with salvation was expressed in her numerous sonnets addressed to the Virgin Mary[26] and to several individual saints, especially to St. Mary Magdalene, toward whom she was especially devoted.[27] Such devotional practices were forbidden to Protestants (or Nicodemists), who, while acknowledging the significance of the Virgin and saints, denied their ability to intercede for the devout; nor did Protestants accept an active role for the Virgin Mary in the process of salvation.[28] Taken together, the various sonnets Colonna composed to the Virgin and the saints document her position as a member of the Church who actively engaged in its Cult of the Virgin and the Saints, indicating that she did not consider herself to be either a Protestant or a Nicodemist. She was, however, very independent in her friendships, and it is clear from such engagements that she was open to different levels of eclecticism and conciliatory approaches to new Protestant ideas about Christian faith and concepts.

Colonna’s independent and problematic associations with Ochino and other Valdesians, such as Giulia Gonzaga, would have been enough to cause alarm in Paul III’s consideration for the state of Colonna’s soul, which might have indirectly and through Ochino and Gonzaga come under the influence of the quixotic Juan de Valdés.[29] Although Valdés had not yet been condemned, as he would be later, by the Council of Trent, by 1538 there was concern about the group he had gathered around him in Naples. Such concerns may have been what caused Paul III to become worried about Colonna’s spirituality and to summon her to Rome for corrective measures. The corrective measures appear to have manifested in the cloister of San Silvestro in the person of Politi, who was renowned for his knowledge of St. Paul and for his treatises addressing the Church’s position on Paul’s teachings.

Politi’s oversight of Colonna’s spiritual presentation, in the aftermath of her summons to Rome by Paul III, meant that, through Politi, Colonna came into direct contact with some of the pope’s most orthodox official preachers and theologians. She and other members of the group that met at San Silvestro were aware of Politi’s status and standing, as documented by Francisco de Hollanda in his Da Pintura Antiga, Part II, “Diálogos de Roma (1548), where he describes the meetings at San Silvestro and identifies Politi as one of the pope’s appointed preachers.[30] If, indeed, Paul III’s intentions towards Colonna were focused on her spiritual care, the supervision Politi provided for the group that met at San Silvestro would have been an antidote to any unorthodox or heterodox influence Colonna may have received from either Ochino or Giulia Gonzaga or other friends whose orthodoxy was questionable. Politi would also have been uniquely poised to provide instruction on the main issues between Catholics and Protestants, especially on the Church’s interpretation of the works of St. Paul.[31]

In his early years as a Dominican, Politi was assigned to the Monastery at San Marco, where he participated in the spirituality of post-Savonarolan Florence, an experience he shared with Michelangelo, who had witnessed Savonarola’s rise and fall. As Politi deepened his theological study, in the early 1530s, he turned away from a lingering Savonarolan influence and became an authority on the orthodox Church’s position on the writings of St. Paul, with his treatises on Paul’s Letters and Epistles and on his Commentaries on the Psalms and the Gospels.[32] To Colonna, Michelangelo, and the assembled at San Silvestro, Politi could only have provided the most orthodox instruction on St. Paul, in keeping with the Church’s theological position.

Concurrent with his developing Pauline studies, Politi became vehemently opposed to Valdesianism and, more specifically, to Bernardino Ochino’s problematic preaching, which Politi had identified as being dangerous to the Church, after meeting Ochino in Siena in 1537.[33] In 1540, Politi went to Naples, where he encountered the Valdesian group, and he understood immediately that they were, at the very least, borderline heretics; afterwards, leaving for Lyon, another center of heresy, he found additional heresy to condemn in 1541.[34] The outcome of Politi’s travels, during which he developed his objections to Valdesianism and, more specifically, to Ochino, were recorded in his treatises Beneficio Compendio d’errori, et inganni Luterani, contenuti in un Libretto, senza nome de l’Autore, intitolato, Trattato utilissimo del beneficio di Cristo crocifisso (1544) and Della Reprobazione della Dottrina di Fra Bernardino Ochino e d’alcune conclusioni luterane (1544).[35] Politi’s work would have been available to the Council of Trent when it condemned Valdesianism in the Beneficio di Cristo in 1546. Hence, Politi’s spiritual tutoring of Colonna meant that he was actively involved in instructing her on the orthodox path to salvation and in weaning her away from Ochino’s influence and dangerous heterodox spirituality. In the aftermath of his instruction of Colonna, Politi dedicated a treatise to her entitled Speculum haereticorum, emendatum, auctum, Ejusdem, Liber de peccato originali. Item liber de perfecta justification a fide & operibus (published in Rome and Cracow, in 1540)—essentially a manual for those who did not wish to stray from the Church’s orthodox path.[36] As composed by Politi, the Speculum was a record of Colonna’s instruction and a primer to which she could return in times of doubt, as well as a confirmation of Politi’s instruction and his satisfaction with the results, affirmed in its dedication to his spiritual pupil.

In 1539, Politi preached the Lenten sermons at San Silvestro, and the subject was the Letters of St. Paul. In the same year, he preached similarly at San Agostino, and, later in that year, he preached at Santa Maria sopra Minerva.[37] For Colonna, who habitually came to Rome for Lent and Easter, Politi’s sermons would have reinforced his spiritual guidance of her faith.[38] Paradoxically, it had been while Colonna was in Rome, observing Lent and celebrating Easter in 1534, that Ochino had first come to her notice as an inspiring preacher, a role that Ochino performed so well for a time that even Paul III initially thought he was an asset to the papacy.[39] Politi’s displacement of Ochino as Colonna’s spiritual adviser between 1538 and 1541 would have returned Colonna to considerations of the Church’s orthodox path to salvation, which necessitated a combination of Faith and Good Works, teachings that would have been reinforced by the group discussions in San Silvestro’s cloister. Concurrent with the discussions overseen by Politi, Colonna considered constructing a convent near San Silvestro,[40] for which Michelangelo was already providing designs, as was recorded by Hollanda,[41] which would have constituted a Good Work.[42] As these plans were being discussed by Colonna and Michelangelo, the Christ on the Cross, the Pietà, and the Christ and the Samaritan Woman were created.

The Christ on the Cross

By Lent of 1539, when Politi gave his sermons at San Silvestro, San Ambrogio, and the Minerva, Michelangelo had become part of the group that met in the cloister of San Silvestro. For the Christ on the Cross, the Pietà, and the Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, contextual meaning and significance is provided by Politi’s ongoing instruction, his Lenten (1539) sermons on St. Paul, and the Speculum that he dedicated to Colonna as testimony of her orthodoxy. Among these works, the Christ on the Cross (Fig. 1) can be more precisely dated to after Colonna’s arrival in Rome, in October of 1538 and prior to May 1539. The Christ on the Cross was a gift to Colonna from Michelangelo, and it is unlikely that such a gift (in response to her giving him a manuscript of her sonnets) would have happened immediately after her arrival. However, the Christ on the Cross was almost completed by 27 May 1539, when Colonna had asked Michelangelo to send it to her in connection to a visit made to her by Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga’s courtiers, which she mentions in a letter to the Cardinal, dated concurrent with Politi’s Lenten preaching at San Silvestro.[43]

The subject of the Christ on the Cross corresponds to Good Friday and to the events of Christ’s Crucifixion, presented to the Church’s faithful by its Good Friday liturgy. On other Lenten days, Christ’s death was referenced in the Roman Liturgy by passages from Hebrew Scripture or the Gospels, which foreshadow his death.[44] In the pre-Tridentine Roman Liturgy, passages referencing Christ’s sacrifice occurred on Palm Sunday[45] and on Holy Tuesday. On Palm Sunday, Matthew 26:27–46 was recited, which records Jesus foretelling his Passion and Crucifixion at the Last Supper, after he announced that one of the Apostles will betray him. On Holy Tuesday, there was read Mark 15:34: “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’—‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’” The Church’s dogma connects these words to Psalm 22, which was read as the Introit to the Mass and which describes how one who had lost his way in despair could find the path to salvation through orthodoxy and Faith.[46] In a year when Colonna was affirming her belief in the Church, guided by Politi’s lessons on the orthodox interpretation of St. Paul and similar subjects, Michelangelo’s Christ on the Cross would have served as a visual reminder of the content of the discussions they shared with Politi. It would also have reminded Colonna of Politi’s Lenten sermons at San Silvestro and other Roman churches. As such, the intention of the gift of the Christ on the Cross by Michelangelo to Colonna[47] should be understood as a reinforcement of Politi’s inspirational guidance for Colonna and her friends, given visual form at a time when Politi was engaged in preaching Paul’s message of salvation to the Church during the Roman liturgical season of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection.[48]

In Mark 15:34 and in Matthew 27:46, the words Christ spoke at his Crucifixion—“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”—are evoked by Paul’s assertion in 2 Corinthians 13:4: “For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we shall live with him by the power of God.” These words, which reference a living faith that is alive in Christ perfectly match Michelangelo’s image, which represents Christ as living; and it was this lifelikeness that struck Colonna, when she looked at Michelangelo’s image—so alive that it spoke of the eternal life in Christ that is the endpoint for the Church’s salvation theology.[49] Michelangelo’s still-living Christ is an illustration of Paul’s words; it simultaneously evokes the viewer’s weakness and God’s mercy, as described by Paul in Romans 3:21–26:

This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. … And all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. … And the one [Christ] who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

For the Roman Church, these words are a straightforward representation of the important role that Faith plays in the process of salvation through Christ’s sacrifice and his Blood, a message embedded in the Lenten liturgy, so well-known to Colonna, Politi, and Michelangelo.

Politi, as a theologian, would have known that Luther’s interpretation of Paul’s text was created by his insertion, in his translation of Paul’s words into German, of the word “only” in between “given” and “through faith,” to indicate that salvation was sola fides.[50] In so mispresenting Paul, Luther generated the main theological clash with the Church, which could not be reconciled, much as any number of those who sought reconciliation tried, because sola fides is not grounded in St. Paul’s actual text but in Luther’s insertion and, as such, is an invention of Luther’s that took on an independent life. Luther’s mistranslation and misinterpretation of Paul extended to his rejection of the Epistle of James 2:17—“So it is with faith: if it is alone and includes no actions, then it is dead”—as being apocryphal and without legitimacy. In so changing Paul’s text and rejecting that of James, Luther erased the textual basis for the Church’s dogma that it is Faith plus Good Works that are necessary for salvation. Luther also denied Paul’s assertion of the necessity of Good Works, as manifestations of Faith, even though Paul had stated, in Romans 2:6–7, that God “will repay each person according to what they have done. To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” Politi’s instructions to Colonna and Michelangelo would have included a direct refutation of Luther and of other Protestant theologians who followed Luther, as such would have been of prime consideration for ensuring that Colonna understood the danger of sola fides.

The Pietà

Michelangelo’s Christ on the Cross effectively encapsulated key moments of significance found in the Roman Liturgy of Good Friday, linked to Politi’s Lenten sermons and to the discussions Politi led at San Silvestro. The Pietà (Fig. 2) Colonna commissioned from him referenced the same liturgical day and associations, with a focus on the Virgin’s sorrow at the death and the burial of Christ. Condivi’s account described the drawing and identified it as a commission from Colonna to Michelangelo:

Fece a requisizione di questa signora un Cristo ignudo, quando è tolto di croce, il quale, come corpo morto abbandonato, cascherebbe à piedi della sua santissima Madre, se da due agnoletti non fosse sostenuto a braccia. Ma ella, sotto la croce stando a sedere con volto lacrimoso e dolente, alza al cielo ambe le mani a braccia aperte, con un cotal detto, che nel troncon della croce scritto si legge : “Non vi si pensa, quanto sangue costa !” La croce è simile a quella che dà Bianchi, nel tempo della morìa del trecento quarantotto, era portata in processione, che fu poi posta nella chiesa di santa Croce di Firenze.[51]

Michelangelo’s composition for Colonna’s Pietà combined visual references to various representational traditions. In the intertwining bodies of Christ and the Virgin, there are evocations of representations of the enthroned Virgin and Child with St. Anne. There is also compositional kinship with representations of the Trinity, in the manner in which the bodies of the Virgin and Christ are joined into a connected grouping. Into the composition, Michelangelo incorporated the Cross, which is visible behind the Virgin. On the post of the Cross is inscribed a singular and significant phrase from Dante’s Paradiso, Canto XXIX, v. 91: “Non vi si pensa quanto sangue costa”—a reference to the blood sacrifice of Christ and of the Martyr Saints.[52] The inclusion of the Dantian phrase is in keeping with Michelangelo’s lifetime interest in Dante, which was part of his education, grounded in Florentine Humanistic traditions, which eclectically blended spiritual poetry with religious imagery. It is also an indication that Michelangelo was still drawing his artistic and spiritual inspiration from his Florentine youth and his lifelong love of Dante, which resulted in his illustration of a volume of Dante, unfortunately lost in a shipwreck in 1740.[53]

At the time of his deepening friendship with Colonna, Michelangelo was working on the bottom third of the Sistine Chapel’s Last Judgment, where he included multiple Dantian elements in its Inferno section.[54] The employment of Dante’s phrase, in the Pietà, argues for a coterminous date with Michelangelo’s preparations for the bottom part of the Judgment, which began in October/December 1538 and continued until 15 December 1540, when Michelangelo fell from the scaffold and work stopped temporarily.[55] The Pietà would have been completed before March 1541, when Colonna left Rome, fleeing the conflict between her brother and Paul III over the Salt Tax that caused the Salt Tax War.[56] Thus the window provided by these events for a commission that would complement Michelangelo’s gift of the Christ on the Cross was between Spring 1539 (soon after the completion of the Christ on the Cross) and March 1541. An earlier date would seem more likely, as in late Spring and Summer of 1539, Colonna would have been immersed in the Lenten preaching of Politi and in the liturgical celebrations of the Virgin’s sorrow. Such events would have stimulated her lifelong devotion to the Virgin Mary, causing her desire to commission the Pietà, in the aftermath of her participation in the celebration of Lent and Easter.[57]

The Pietà is not a subject found in the canonical Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. All four Gospels assert that Christ’s body was removed from the Cross by Pilate’s men, after Joseph of Arimathea interceded; and it was then given to Joseph to take to the tomb that belonged to Nicodemus.[58] At the tomb, Christ’s body was wrapped and prepared for the grave. That Mary held Christ’s body after it was given to Joseph and before it was cleaned and placed in the tomb is commemorated in the traditional veneration of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary, as the Sixth Sorrow—“Mary Receives the Dead Body of Christ in Her Arms.”[59] The devotion to the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary is part of the Church’s Cult of the Virgin and would have been known to Colonna, who had a marked devotion to Mary. Implicit in the meaning of the Pietà, as the Sixth Sorrow of the Virgin, is the Virgin’s role as intercessor and co-Redemptrix—an expression of the importance the Church gives to Mary’s role in the redemption of humanity, which is not given to her by any Protestant denomination.[60]

In the Pietà, Michelangelo emphasized the Virgin’s significance in the manner in which Christ’s body is configured within her body’s outline, alluding to how he had been contained in her womb, after his Incarnation. Although Christ is clearly dead, the two angels at his side keep him upright, by holding his arms, alluding to the reanimation of his body at the Resurrection, an implication assisted by his turned legs, which appear to retain incipient life. Mary’s large size and her liveliness contrast with Christ’s still form, indicating continuity and contiguity of mission and purpose in the salvation of humanity. As such, his death causes her to become the living embodiment of his mission, during his transition to his entombment and Resurrection.[61] That Christ will rise and assume his place in Heaven is indicated by Mary’s upraised arms and upwards glance, looking toward the place to which Christ will ascend, after his Resurrection. Eventually, at her death, she too will be assumed into Heaven, where she will join her son for eternity, enthroned at his side.

An additional reference to the Virgin’s future in Heaven is alluded to by her seated pose, which is a visual reminder of her characterization as the Sedes Sapientiae, a Marian type that is represented with Mary, enthroned, holding the baby Jesus in her lap.[62] Configured within Michelangelo’s composition is the implication that the Virgin as the Throne of Wisdom is the locus for the temporary death of Christ until he is resurrected. Above and behind the Virgin, written on the wood of the Cross, is the Dantian reference to the salvific blood of Christ and to that of the Church’s Martyr Saints, who play an intercessory role similar to that of the Virgin. Contextualized in the Church’s traditions, Michelangelo’s Pietà belongs within the Church’s devotion to the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary (balanced by the Seven Joys of the Virgin Mary).[63] As part of the devotion to the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin, the Church’s dogma additionally emphasizes the Virgin’s role as the co-Redemptrix and intercessor, within its Cult of the Virgin and its liturgy.

The Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin is currently celebrated, in the Roman Liturgy, on the Friday before Palm Sunday as a Major Double Feast and on the Third Sunday in September.[64] In the pre-Tridentine Roman Liturgy, the Feast was placed on the calendar at the Synod of Cologne (1413) to function as a commemoration and remedy to the Hussite Heresy. It was to be kept on the Third Friday after Easter as the Commemoratio augustix et doloris B. Marix V and was a reminder of the Virgin’s sorrow at the Crucifixion, Death, and Burial of Christ. The fifteenth-century installation of the Feast was an evolution in the process of recognizing Mary’s suffering that began, in 1239, with the foundation of the Servite Order. The Servites dedicated their devotions to the Sorrows of the Virgin as she stood beneath the Cross on Good Friday. In 1506, the celebration of the Spasmi B.M.V or the Compassio or Transfixio began to gain traction in southern Europe, linked to the Annunciation and promoted by orders of nuns especially devoted to the Annunciation.

The Roman Liturgy for the Missa compassionis sive lamentationis beate marie began with an Introit that lamented the Virgin’s pain.[65] The Oratio identified her as the intercessor for sinners:

Pietatem tuam quesumus domine iesu clementissime qui pro nobis peccatoribus mortem subiens temporalem: nec proprio corpori, nec materno dolori parcere voluisti: presta ut nos passionis tue memoriam eisudem matris tue merititam recolentes vobiscum felicitates eterne simus participes. Qui viuis et regnas.

The Virgin’s tears are specifically mentioned in the Prosa:

Meste parentis Christi marie, lachrymas eya nunc recole: plebs agni mitis curore redempta. Qui geneis humani collapse maculas, purpurea lavit in cruce vulnera: passus cruenta … Sic o virgo dolorsa fac nos tecum lachurmosa sentire suspria, ut post vitam infelicem habeamus te ductricem: as eterna gaudia. Amen.

The tears of the Virgin and those of the devout are also mentioned in the Misa de Spasmo, sive de pietate gloriose virginis, Marie, matris Iesu Christi in the Introit: “Plorans ploravi in nocte: et lachryme in me in maxilis meis.”[66] As the Mass unfolds, the liturgy specifically describes the participants in the service as being seized by the sorrow of the Virgin, as they cry in empathy with Mary, who weeps at the death of her Son: “Ego plorans, et oculus meos deducens aquas.”[67] The liturgical words found in the Masses that commemorated the Virgin’s sorrow explicitly link the participant’s emotional engagement with Mary’s pain in a manner comparable to the emotional response provoked by Michelangelo’s representation of the Pietà’s sorrowing Virgin. This liturgy of sorrow, where the participant weeps with the Virgin, would have been familiar to Colonna and to Michelangelo. Thus the Pietà’s mourning Virgin would have created a participatory link for Colonna directly evocative of the liturgical phrases and prayers that called for the engaged and performative response. The sorrowful Virgin Michelangelo delineated encapsulates the text of the Misa de Spasmo, which asserts that the participants have tears flowing down their cheeks. Michelangelo’s Mary would have so touched Colonna’s heart that indeed her eyes would have filled with tears that would have flowed down her cheeks.

Colonna’s commission of this image, as she was being advised on Roman orthodoxy by Politi, even as she was participating in the Roman Liturgy of Lent referenced by the Christ on the Cross and the Pietà, locates these works within the Church’s dogma and theology as expressed in its liturgy. In a Reformation and Counter-Reformation context of orthodoxy vs. heterodoxy, Colonna’s commission of the work at this time of her life resonates with the Roman liturgical significance of the Pietà’s installation as a Feast of the Church, at the Synod of Cologne, with the intention of combatting heresy. As such, the Pietà conveys significant meaning within Colonna’s spiritual revision towards orthodoxy, under Politi’s guidance between 1538 and 1541, and would have assisted with expiating any lingering influence from Ochino and her other problematic friends and acquaintances.

The details Michelangelo incorporated into Colonna’s Pietà are details of the Church’s devotional practices that would have been part of Michelangelo’s intimate knowledge of the Church’s dogma and theology. As a life-long, practicing Catholic of deep devotion, as reflected in his spiritual poetry,[68] Michelangelo sensitively and deliberately wove the allusions found in the Pietà to the Virgin’ role as an intercessor and to the Cult of her Seven Sorrows, as well as to the role of the Martyr Saints, as additional intercessors within the Church (alluded to by the Dantian phrase). These elements, so in keeping with the Church’s position on the Virgin and the Saints and their liturgical resonance, found in the configuration of the Virgin’s sorrow, would have been anathema to a Protestant or a Nicodemist, as it is only the Roman Catholic Church that so venerates Mary and the martyrs.

Understanding the characterization of the Virgin found in Michelangelo’s Pietà and the subject’s place, within the Roman Liturgy and its anti-heretical connotations, removes the work from any interpretation that would make it fit a Protestant intentionality on the part of patron or artist. Any Protestant looking at Michelangelo’s Pietà would have found deep objections to the Virgin’s prominence and to the incorporation of a line from Dante on the wood of the Cross, because such commingling of sacred and secular would have been seen as a violation of spiritual purity, by an extra-scriptural source. Protestants would also have rejected the references to the intercessory function of the Virgin and the saints within the salvation of humanity, alluded to by the Dantian phrase. Nor would any Protestant or Nicodemist have tolerated the representation of Mary’s role as the co-Redemptrix, emphasized in Michelangelo’s composition. Hence Charles de Tolnay’s assertion that the Pietà was in keeping with Nicodemist/Protestant-leaning elements in reform Christian circles indicates a lack of attention to very significant iconographic references found in Michelangelo’s composition, which place it within the dogmatic and theological history of the Church forbidden to Protestants.[69] Additionally, de Tolnay’s characterization of the works Michelangelo created for Colonna as Nicodemist does not hold. Politi’s status as an orthodox theologian and expert on the Church’s interpretation of St. Paul, together with his dedication of the Speculum to Colonna and his Lenten preaching so closely linked to the subjects of the three works Michelangelo made for Colonna at that time, argues for an orthodox meaning for the three works. Such a realization removes consideration of Michelangelo’s Christ on the Cross, Pietà, and Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well as indicators of Colonna or Michelangelo’s Nicodemism, a concept very dear to de Tolnay, yet not based on the historical reality of Politi’s identity. This and the clear links to the Church’s liturgy found in the iconographic content of the three works indicates an orthodox meaning and intentionality on Michelangelo’s part and on Colonna’s reception of the works, as the connections found in the Christ on the Cross and the Pietà also exist in the Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well.

Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well

Colonna’s devotion to the Gospel parable recounting the meeting and the significance of the exchange between Christ and the Samaritan Woman (St. Photine/a) at Jacob’s Well was expressed in her sonnet Felice donna cui disse sul fonte.[70] In addressing the Samaritan Woman in her sonnet, Colonna exclaims:

Blest woman—He spoke to you by the well,/ and said: I am living water, you must/ pray to me, drink my truth, and go no more/ to the ancient temples or sacred hills./ but to God the Father go, with firm faith, humbly, maybe now crying with yearning, maybe against that bitter sound, yet still praying silently in the calm stillness-/ for to Him your passions are transparent./ And as the Son’s light fell over the earth,/and Samaria, your burning thirst was/ sated, and you hurried to tell others/more wise to come honor Him, with heart soul,/ and mind cheered by loving holiday joy.

Appropriate to Colonna’s veneration for the Samaritan Woman, as expressed in her sonnet, is the subject of the third work Michelangelo made for Colonna—Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well[71]—which survives in different copies and versions, one being a drawing now at the Louvre, attributed to Giulio Clovio (Fig. 3).[72]

Colonna describes her response to the original work in a letter dated 20 July 1543, written to Michelangelo while she was in Viterbo:

Però sapendo la vostra stabile amicitia et ligato in Cristiano nodo sicurissima affectione, non mi par procurar con le mie testimonio delle vostre lettere; ma aspettar con preparato animo substanziosa occasione di servirvi, pregando quel Signore, del quale con tanto ardente et umil cuore mi parlaste al mio partir da Roma, che io vi trovi al mio ritorno con l’imagin sua si rinovata, et per vera fede viva ne l’anima vostra, come ben l’avete dipinta nella mia Samaritana. Et Sempra a Voi mi raccomando.[73]

From the letter’s content, we have a terminus ante quem for the original of the Samaritan Woman, which may have been a painting (dipinta) or a painterly drawing. In the letter, Colonna reminisced about the last time she saw Michelangelo in Rome and about their friendship, suggesting that she had the work with her when she left Rome for Orvieto in March 1541 and is looking at it as a reminder of their time together in Rome. Likely made alongside the gift of the Christ on the Cross and the commission of the Pietà, the Samaritan Woman would also connect Colonna to Politi’s spiritual tutoring and to the Lenten season she shared, in Rome, with Michelangelo. Indeed, the subject of the Samaritan Woman has resonance with Colonna’s spiritual development between 1538 and 1541, and its meaning can be contextualized within Politi’s spiritual tutoring and his dedication of the Speculum (1540) to Colonna. With such associations, the Samaritan Woman represents Colonna’s time in Rome and her renewed commitment to the Church and to Paul III’s desire that her spirituality be reconciled to the Church’s orthodoxy. Like the other two works, the subject of the Samaritan Woman has its place in the Gospels read during the Roman Liturgy of Lent.

The meeting between Christ and the Samaritan Woman is recounted in the Gospel of John 4:4–42.[74] The woman was a sinner who had had multiple “husbands” and was currently living with a man who was not her husband. As such, her identity is linked to that of Mary Magdalene, for whom Colonna had a special devotion, expressed in sonnets to the Magdalene and in her commission from Titian of a painting featuring the Magdalene.[75] However, the Church recognizes the Samaritan Woman’s name as being Photina and identifies her as separate from the Magdalene.[76]

The meaning of the Gospel parable about the Samaritan Woman resides in the conversation Christ had with her, in which they discuss the faith necessary for finding the true path to God. The desired salvation of the true faith was metaphorically presented, in the parable, as life-giving water and meat. The parable also emphasized the universality of salvation, which is not linked to a specific place or people (or even time). Christ meets the Samaritan Woman, who is a Gentile, at Jacob’s Well, linking the Jewish past to his ministry; nonetheless, he makes it clear to her that salvation can also be hers. The well contains the water of life, which, when used at Baptism, cleanses the soul and the allusion to Baptism links the parable to the Baptism of the Catechumens on Holy Saturday.[77] Christ’s words on the Cross—“I Thirst”[78]—allude to the Samaritan Woman’s need for salvation and to the living water of Baptism, central to the meeting near the life-giving water of Jacob’s Well. That the Samaritan Woman is not Jewish indicates the universality of salvation, although salvation demands faith and correct choices. Once the Samaritan Woman realized that Christ is the true path to salvation through Faith, she runs to get her people to come and recognize him, thereby enacting a Good Work based on her Faith. After she leaves, Christ speaks with the Apostles of the “harvest” that is coming, an allusion to his Crucifixion, which links the parable to Good Friday. Thus the three works Michelangelo created for Colonna are intertwined by their context in the Good Friday Liturgy and in the Roman Liturgy of the Season of Lent.

In the current Roman Liturgy, the parable of the Samaritan Woman is read on the Friday of the Third Week of Lent, the Preface[79] and the Response[80] iterate her significance as one of the saved, and the parable is read as the Gospel text.[81] The parable is also read at the Baptismal Mass, when the Catechumens are baptized on Holy Saturday,[82] when the miracle of Moses striking water from the rock is read as an allegory of Baptism and Salvation.[83] In the pre-Tridentine Roman Liturgy (which was consistent with the current liturgy in key ways), which would have been known to Michelangelo and Colonna, the message of salvation represented by the Samaritan Woman held a prominent role. John 4:5–42 was read in full on the Friday after the Third Sunday of Lent.[84] Numbers 20:2–3 and 6–13, which tell the story of Moses Striking the Rock, an allusion to Baptism, to which the water mentioned in the Samaritan Woman is related, was read after the Oratio, indicating the connection between the living waters that come together in Christ and in Baptism, the gateway to salvation—the living waters of Jacob’s Well are thusly linked to the waters flowing from the rock Moses struck, which become the waters of Baptism. The Baptism of the Catechumens, on Holy Saturday, brings all the associations with water and salvation to the Season of Lent and to the weekend, when Christ is Crucified, buried, and then resurrects—the Season during which Politi preached, while Colonna and Michelangelo engaged in discussions with Politi at San Silvestro.

The connections made between Salvation, Baptism, Christ’s Crucifixion, and the Samaritan Woman were linked by St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:1–4:

… our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea: And did all eat the same spiritual food, And all drank the same spiritual drink; and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.

They are also found in Ezechiel 36:24–26: “For I will take you from among the Gentiles, and I will pour upon you clean water; you shall be cleansed from all your iniquities. I will give you a new heart, and renew a righteous spirit within you.” As Christ died on the Cross, he uttered the words “I thirst,” which reference the thirst the soul has for salvation, provided for the faithful by his sacrifice. Hence, the parable of the Samaritan Woman and its metaphors of water as Salvation and Baptism resonated throughout Lent and culminated on Good Friday.

For Colonna, who expressed her devotion to the Samaritan Woman in her sonnet to her, the woman was an apt metaphor for Colonna, as the woman saved herself (and her people) by following Christ’s words and recognizing his authority and the true path he represented. Through the care of her soul exhibited by Paul III and Politi, Colonna had been led to the correct path and saved from the spiritual danger into which Ochino had led her. In 1539, as Politi preached the Lenten sermons, Colonna would have entered into a renewed understanding of Lent’s significance as the season of salvation through Christ. The Roman Liturgy brought her fully into the Church that she recognized, in her sonnets, was the true Church, led by the pope, the true shepherd of Christ’s flock.[85] In effect, Colonna became the Samaritan Woman, who thirsted for and found the true path, during that Lenten season guided by Politi, to the correct path to eternal life, created by Christ’s sacrifice, guided there by the Virgin, as intercessor. Such intercession was evoked by the phrase from Dante found on the Cross of the Pietà. Indeed, Politi’s instruction had fully returned Colonna to the Church in a renewed Baptism of Faith in the Church, grounded in Politi’s knowledge of the Church’s orthodox position on Paul.

In his description of the discussions that took place at San Silvestro between Colonna, Politi, and Michelangelo, Hollanda noted that Colonna was engaged in the performance of a Good Work, as she intended to commission, from Michelangelo, the architectural design for a convent to be located nearby.[86] Hollanda recorded that Michelangelo had already begun to work on the design and that the convent was to be built at the end of Monte Cavallo, by the place where there were Roman ruins associated with Nero’s palace, from which he anecdotally saw Rome burn. Colonna had received permission from Paul III for this convent, in December 1536.[87] The projected convent may well have been the catalyst for the deepening friendship between Michelangelo and Colonna, who may have had previous acquaintance but who became close at San Silvestro between 1538 and 1541, a friendship that continued until Colonna’s death in 1547. The project for San Silvestro, however promising it had been, ended when Colonna left Rome in 1541. Later, other women, acting as patrons enacting Good Works, did build near the site of Colonna’s projected convent.[88] Taken contextually, within Colonna’s renewed orthodoxy, the San Silvestro convent would have been a pointed expression of the convent, planned earlier, yet being enacted at this key moment, when Colonna was being tutored by Politi. Such an action fulfilled St. Paul’s prescription for Faith but also for Good Works: “For he will render to every man [everyone] according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life” (Romans 2:6–7).

Conclusion

The works Michelangelo created for Colonna became immediately popular among her group of friends, and their reproduction extended knowledge of Michelangelo’s creations beyond Colonna’s circle. Jessica Maratsos has addressed the nature of Michelangelo’s designs as examples of distribution of his compositions to a larger, general audience, in multiple copies and variations on the original works.[89] One example of the almost immediate reproduction of variations of Michelangelo’s original drawings was the trajectory that copies of the Pietà underwent among Colonna’s circle of friends.[90] On 12 May 1546, the Bishop of Fano, Pietro Bertano, wrote to Cardinal Gonzaga to tell him that Cardinal Pole had asked to confirm that he wished for a copy of the Pietà, because Pole had a copy that he would gladly send him, as he could replace it by obtaining another copy from Colonna.[91] Gonzaga had in mind borrowing the work so that Giulio Romano could copy it for him.[92] The multiple copies of Michelangelo’s compositions rendered them into popular devotional works that were akin to the standardized copies of Early Christian and Byzantine icons, as was noted by Elena Calvillo, who pointed out how copies made of Michelangelo’s works by Giulio Clovio and Sebastiano del Piombo functioned as private devotional images.[93]

As the original recipient of Michelangelo’s creations, it was Colonna’s employment of these works that matters contextually for their creation and original function, within Colonna’s devotional practices. Colonna’s personal use of devotional images was discussed by Nirit Ben-Aryeh Debby, who characterized Colonna’s use of images for her private devotions by using a letter Colonna wrote to Costanza d’Avalos Piccolomini, Duchess of Amalfi. Costanza d’Avalos was a poet who wrote spiritual poetry, and she was related to Colonna through marriage alliances.[94] As Ben-Aryeh Debby pointed out, Colonna’s letters were, for the most part, formalistic and conventionally epistolary, but the three letters Colonna exchanged with Costanza d’Avalos were different from her usual style. These letters cannot be dated, but they were written before 1545, when they were published in a compendia entitled Nuovo libro di lettere di più rari autori della lingua volgare italiana.[95] The letters convey Colonna’s spiritual sensibilities in direct relation to her use of images for her personal devotions. As Ben-Aryeh Debby explained,

The letters were written in a spirit of religious sharing and mutual faith. They call on Costanza to experience the religious contemplation that would lead her to a true recognition of divinity and offer thorough and precise instructions on how to meditate on the divine.[96]

In these letters, Colonna confirms that her engagement with words and images was linked to her emotional engagement with her personal devotions in an intense and intimate manner. Thus, Michelangelo’s Christ on the Cross, the Pietà, and the Samaritan Woman would have been employed by Colonna as sources of devotional and emotional empathy that would have rendered her faith into life, with her imagination stimulated and engaged by the visual stimulus provided by Michelangelo’s creations.

Colonna, Politi, and Michelangelo belonged to a generation of Italians who had seen great spiritual changes. As the oldest member of the group, Michelangelo, when he was a youth, had witnessed Fra Girolamo Savonarola (1452–1498) preaching the destruction of the world, which so impressed him that Savonarola’s words still rang in his ears in old age.[97] Although predominantly Christocentric and apocalyptic, Savonarola also focused attention on the Virgin Mary and on the significant role she played in the salvation of humanity.[98] Savonarola’s Florentine revolution was brief (1494–1498) and ended with his excommunication by Pope Alexander IV (12 May 1497) and execution by Florentines (23 May 1498) who had had enough of his fanaticism and tyranny. Despite his excommunication and execution, Savonarola’s influence in Florence lingered, and the Monastery of San Marco, which had been his headquarters, remained impacted by his presence. In 1517, Politi was assigned to the Monastery at San Marco, and he there experienced post-Savonarolan, Dominican Florence. Even in Rome, in the 1540s, Savonarola’s influence continued in contemporary reform movements, which also emphasized his devotion to the Crucified Christ and to the salvific qualities of His Blood and Sacrifice.[99] This emphasis was grounded in the Church’s devotions to the Blood of Christ and to his Crucifixion, which Carolyn Bynum traced as central to the Church’s Christocentric theology.[100] Scholars who categorically attribute the origin of devotional practices focused on Christ to Protestantism are overlooking the Church’s theology and its history of ritual and devotional focus on Christ, his Blood, his Crucifixion, and his Passion. In so doing, they run the danger of finding Nicodemism or Protestantism in places where it does not exist.

For those who experienced Savonarola’s reform and the larger context of reform movements, within which Florence’s Savonarolan history belongs, the aftermath of the late fifteenth-century cry for reform was the Fifth Lateran Council, or Lateran V (1503–1513), convened by Julius II.[101] Lateran V was intended to initiate much-needed reforms, and it was also meant to focus attention on the danger the Islamic Ottoman Empire presented to Europe. Yet, although Lateran V had reform ambitions, it ultimately failed to accomplish the necessary reform of the Church. In the aftermath of this failure, Martin Luther posted his challenge to the Church, on the doors of Wittenberg’s All Saint’s Church (1517). The attempt to reconcile the wide gap that quickly developed between the Protestants and the Church and among the Protestant denominations floundered. Ten years after Luther’s excommunication, it was clear that the breach between the Church and the Protestants could not be easily mended, and the Council of Trent brought an end to such hopes. Yet, even at the point where Pope Paul III convoked the Council of Trent (1545–1563), there were still some who believed a reconciliation could be effected.[102] Within this context, Colonna would have belonged to the group of members of the Church who remained hopeful that reconciliation could happen, although the conflict over sola fides was irreconcilable.

Seen within a larger context, the spiritual anxieties of Vittoria Colonna and her circle can be traced to the 1480s and the reform movements, of which Savonarola’s was one. The climate of unease and spiritual anxiety, which preceded Luther’s break with the Church but was exacerbated by it after Leo X excommunicated him in 1521, was traced by Fredrick Hartt in his essay, “Power and the Individual in Mannerist Art.”[103] Hartt’s argument focused on how the pervasive contemporary religious instability, generated by millenarianism and reform movements, became manifest in sixteenth-century art, in the style identified as Mannerism. For Hartt, Mannerist styles exhibit compositional tension and ambiguity, resulting in an attenuated rendition of visual reality, reflective of the spiritual anxiety characteristic of sixteenth-century religious politics. Thus Hartt argued that Mannerist style was directly linked to spiritual uncertainty, which originated in the late fifteenth century and continued into the sixteenth. As Hartt traced the impact on religious life generated by Savonarola and the failure of Lateran V, he linked the development of private devotions, manifested in gatherings of individuals who sought spiritual comfort from each other, as the antidote to spiritual anxiety.[104] Such groups had varying degrees of orthodoxy, heterodoxy, and heresy. Thus Colonna and her friends at San Silvestro, and Juan de Valdés and his group in Naples, were two among many with different context and outcomes, although linked by a more universal desire for certainty in uncertain times.

In Spain, the most notable reform movements that met in small groups were the late fifteenth-century Alumbrados, and it was from the spirituality of the Alumbrados that Juan Valdés emerged. Thus the spiritual trajectory that led to Colonna’s engagement with members of the Valdesian circle, as a way to ease her spiritual anxiety, was part of a larger movement that originated with Savonarola’s cry for reform and reached a moment of crisis when Luther was excommunicated. By 1538, when Paul III summoned Colonna to Rome and Ambrogio Catarino Politi guided her spiritual development on a path of orthodoxy, the attempts to reconcile Protestantism and Catholicism were floundering, and the wars of religion that tore Europe apart marked the end of a spiritually united Christendom. Religion, politics, and the art that reflected both came together at San Silvestro, given visual form by Michelangelo’s Christ on the Cross, Pietà, and Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well, as expressions of the orthodox path, represented at San Silvestro, by Ambrogio Catarino Politi. It has been argued above that the three works Michelangelo created for Colonna are linked to the Lenten Liturgy preached by Politi at San Silvestro in 1539, to his instruction of Colonna, and to his dedication of the Speculum to her. Thus these works exist as a reminder of Colonna’s instruction by Politi, and of her intention to perform the Good Work of constructing the convent at Monte Cavallo, which Michelangelo would have designed. For Michelangelo and for Colonna, this time in Rome with Politi and with Colonna’s friends became a singular affirmation of their faith in the Church, at the time when Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel’s Last Judgment for Paul III. As such, the meaning of this time in their lives can be found in Michelangelo’s expression of their experience in the works that affirmed Colonna’s faith in the Church, in Lent, in Christ’s Passion and Resurrection, in the renewal of her faith represented by the Samaritan Woman, and in her devotion to the Virgin Mary. Thus did Michelangelo’s Christ on the Cross, Pietà, and Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well bring together images that represented Colonna’s belief in the Church as the legitimate interpreter of Christ’s mission on earth, confirmed by the sonnets she addressed to Paul III, to the Virgin Mary, to the Saints, and to the Samaritan Woman.


[1] Wolfgand Katenz, “Luther, Martin,” trans. Martin Brecht, in Hans J. Hillerbrand, ed., Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), vol. 2, p. 463.

[2] For brief histories of the Reformation, see Diarmaid McCulloch, The Reformation: A History (London: Penguin, 2005); and Steven Ozment, The Age of Reform, 1250–1550: An Intellectual and Religious History of Late Medieval and Reformation Europe (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981).

[3] On Vittoria Colonna, see Ramie Targoff, Renaissance Woman: The Life of Vittoria Colonna (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 2018); Alethea Lawley, Vittoria Colonna: A Study; With Translations of Some of Her Published and Unpublished Sonnets (London: Amazon Books, 2017); Abigail Brundin, ed., Vittoria Colonna and the Spiritual Poetics of the Italian Reformation (Abingdon: Routledge, 2008); Abigail Brundin and Tatiana Crivelli, eds., A Companion To Vittoria Colonna (Leiden: Brill, 2016); and Sylvia Ferino-Pagden and Agostino Athanasio, Vittoria Colonna: Dichterin un Muse Michelangelos, Exhibition Catalogue (Vienna: Kunsthistorisches Museum, 1997).

[3] In a letter from Colonna to Pietro Aretino, dated 25 September 1538; Mrs. Henry Roscoe, Vittoria Colonna: Her Life and Poems (London: Macmillan & Co., 1868), p. 356.

[4] William E. Wallace, “Friends and Relics at San Silvestro in Capite, Rome,” The Sixteenth Century Journal, 30, no. 2 (Summer 1999), pp. 419–439; Una Roman D’Elia, “Drawing Christ’s Blood: Michelangelo, Vittoria Colonna, and the Aesthetics of Reform,” Renaissance Quarterly, 59, no. 1 (Spring 2006), pp. 90–129; Sara M. Adler, “Vittoria Colonna: Michelangelo’s Perfect Muse,” Italica, 92, no. 1 (Spring 2015), pp. 5–32.

[5] Maria Forcellino, “Vittoria Colonna and Michelangelo: Drawings and Paintings,” in Brundin and Crivelli, A Companion, pp. 270–313, 279.

[6] On Politi and his residing at San Silvestro, see Giorgio Caravale, Sulle Tracce dell’Eresia. Ambrogio Catarino Politi (1484–1553) (Florence: Leo S. Olschki, 2007), pp. 79–80; and Giorgio Caravale, Beyond the Inquisition: Ambrogio Catarino Politi and the Origins of the Counter-Reformation (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2017).

[7] These drawings were discussed by Charles de Tolnay in Michelangelo V: The Final Period: Last Judgement, Frescoes of the Pauline Chapel, Last Pietàs (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1971), pp. 51–67. On the copies of the drawings and print copies, see Maria Forcellino, “Vittoria Colonna and Michelangelo: Drawings and Paintings, in Brundin and Crivelli, A Companion, pp. 270–313. For a range of versions of Michelangelo’s drawings in various media, see Alessia Alberti, Alessandro Rovetta, and Claudio Salsi, D’apres Michelangelo (Venice: Marsilio, 2015); Paul Joannides, Dessins Italiens du musée du Louvre: Michel’Ange, èlèves et copistes (Paris: Louvre, 2003); and Alexander Nagel, “Gifts For Michelangelo and Vittoria Colonna,” The Art Bulletin, 79 (Dec. 1997), pp. 647–668.

[8] Lynette M.F. Bosch, “Interpreting and Dating Michelangelo’s Crucified Christ for Vittoria Colonna: Fra Ambrogio Catarino Politi and St. Paul,” Iconocrazia, 13 (2018), pp. 1–25. The drawing is now in the British Museum, London.

[9] The drawing of the Pietà is in the Isabella Steward Gardner Museum, Boston, MA. See Charles de Tolnay, “Michelangelo’s Pietà Composition for Vittoria Colonna,” Record of the Art Museum, Princeton University, 12, no. 2 (1953), pp. 44–62; and Abigail Brundin, “Vittoria Colonna and the Virgin Mary,” The Modern Language Review, 96, no. 1 (Jan. 2001), pp. 61–81.

[10] Michelangelo’s drawing of Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well is lost, but its composition is echoed in multiple copies in drawing, prints, and paintings. For a discussion of versions of the lost original, see Bernadine Barnes, “The Understanding of a Woman: Vittoria Colonna and Michelangelo’s “Christ and the Samaritan Woman,” Renaissance Studies, 27, no. 5 (Nov. 2013), pp. 633– 653.

[11] Giorgio Vasari, Le Opere di Giorgio Vasari, ed. Gateano Milanesi (Florence: Sansoni, 1906; repr. 1963), vol. 6, p. 273: “Ma infiniti sonetti ne mandò di suo e ricevé risposta di rime e di prose della illustrissima Marchesana di Pescara, delle virtù della quale Michelagnolo era inamorato et ella parimente di quelle di lui, e molte volte andò ella a Roma da Viterbo a visitarlo, e le disegnò Michelangnolo una Pietà in grembo alla Nostra Donna con due Angioletti, mirabilissima, et un Cristo confitto in croce, che alzato la testa, raccomanda lo spirit al Padre, cosa divina; olre a un Cristo con la Samaritana al pozzo.”

[12] Ascanio Condivi, Vita di Michelangelo Buonarroti (Rome: Antonio Blado, 1553), pp. 44–46, “…ín partículare amò grandemente la Marchesana dí Peschara, del cui divino spirito era inamorato, essendo al incontro da lei amato sviceratamente, della quale anchor tiene molte lettere, d’honesto et dolcissimo amore ripiene, et quali di tal petto uscir solevano, havendo egli altresi scritto à lei più et più sonetti, pieni d’ingegno el dolce desiderío. Ella píù volte si mosse da Víterbo, & d’altri luoghi, dove fusse andata per di porto e per pasare l’astate, et a Roma se ne venne, non mossa da altra cagione se non di veder Míchelagnolo, et egli al incontro tanto amor le portava, che mi ricorda di sentírlo dire che d’altro non si doleva se non che quando l’andò à vedere nel passar dí questa vita, fece à requisizione di questa signora un Cristo ignudo, quando è tolto di croce, il quale, come corpo morto abandonato, cascherebbe à piedi della sua Santissima Madre, se da due Agnioletti non fosse sostenuto à braccia. Ma ella, sotto la croce stando à sedere con volto lacrimoso et dolente, alza al cielo ambe le mani à braccia aperte, con un cotal detto, che nel troncon della moria del trecento quarant’otto, era portata in processione, che poi fu posta nella Chiesa di santa Croce di Firenze. Fece anco, per amor di lei, un disegno d’un Giesu Cristo in croce, non in sembianza di morto, come communemente s’usa, ma in atto di vivo, col volto levato al Padre, e par che dica “heli, heli”: dove si vede quel corpo non come morto abandonato cascare, ma come vivo, per l’acerbo supplitio risentirsi et scontorcersi.”

[13] For a discussion of Colonna’s friends, see Monica Bianco and Vittoria Romani, “Vittoria Colonna e Michelangelo,” in Vittoria Colonna e Michelangelo, ed. Pina Ragioner (Florence: Mandragora, 2005), pp. 145–191; and Lorraine de la Verpillière, “God is in the Details: Visual Culture of Closeness in the Circle of Cardinal Reginald Pole,” Renaissance Studies, 30 (July 2015), pp. 1–31.

[14] Karl Benrath, Bernardino Ochino, of Siena: A Contribution Towards the History of the Reformation (repr. London: Forgotten Books, 2018); Emidio Campi, Michelangelo e Vittoria Colonna: Un diálogo artístico teologicao ispirato da Bernardino Ochino: a altri saggi di storia della Riforma (Florence: Claudiana, 1994).

[15] On Ochino’s flight, see Ludwig Pastor, The History of the Popes from the Close of the Middle Ages Drawn from the Secret Archives of the Vatican and Other Sources, Vol. 4: Paul II and Sixtus IV (London: Routledge, 1950), p. 489.

[16] Massimo Firpo and John Tedeschi, “The Italian Reformation and Juan de Valdés,” The Sixteenth Century Journal, 27, no. 2 (Summer 1996), pp. 353–364. Juan de Valdés was the Spanish religioso whose spirituality was based on the Spanish Alumbradismo, blended with Erasmian and diverse Protestant ideas into an individualized mysticism, which he taught in Naples to a small circle of friends. The group included Ochino, Colonna’s confessor from 1534 until 1542, when Ochino fled Italy for Geneva, where he converted to Calvinism. Giulia Gonzaga, a close friend of Colonna’s, was also part of the Valdesian group in Naples. On Valdés, see John Thomas Betts, Life and Writings of Juan de Valdés: Otherwise Valdesso, Spanish Reformer in the Sixteenth Century (London: Andesite Press, 2015); Daniel A. Crews, Twilight of the Renaissance: The Life of Juan de Valdés (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008); and José Nieto, Juan de Valdés and the Origins of the Spanish and Italian Reformation (Geneva: Droz, 1970).

[17] Ian Russell, Giulia Gonzaga and Religious Controversy in Sixteenth-Century Italy (Turnhout: Brepols, 2006).

[18] In a letter from Colonna to Pietro Aretino, dated 25 September 1538; Roscoe, Vittoria Colonna, p. 356.

[19] P. Costanzo Cargnoni, o.f.m., “La predica Evangelica da Bernardino Ochino,” in Cargnoni, I Frati Cappuccini: Documenti e testimonianze del primo secolo (Perugia: Ed. Frate Indovino, 1988), vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 2115–2117.

[20] Bert Roest and Johannes Uphoff, Religious Orders and Religious Identity Formation, ca. 1420–1620: Discourses and Strategies of Observance and Pastoral Engagement (Leiden: Brill, 2016), p. 221.

[21] On the failed pilgrimage to Jerusalem, see Roscoe, Vittoria Colonna, p. 356.

[22] T. Adophus Trollope, Life of Vittoria Colonna (Boston: Houghton Mifflin & Co., 1859), p. 189.

[23] Joan Borrelli, “Sonnet Addressed to Pope Paul III, Enemy of the Colonna Family,” Comitatus: A Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 20, no. 1 (1989), pp. 2–3.

[24] For an English translation of this sonnet, see Suzanne Therault, Un Cénacle humanist de la Renaissance auteur de la Vittoria Colonna, Châtelaine d’Ischia (Paris: Librairie Marcel Didier, 1968), pp. 501–502.

[25] For collections of Colonna’s sonnets, see Domenico Tordi, Il Codice delle Rime di Vittoria Colonna, Marchesa di Pescara, Appartenuto a Margherita d’Angoulême, Regina di Navarra (Pistoia: Lito-Tipografia G. Flori, 1900); and Vincenzo Valgrisi, Le Rime Spirituali Della Illustrissima Signora Vittoria Colonna, Marchesana di Pescara (Venice: Bottega D’Erasmo, 1548).

[26] To the Virgin, she wrote: L’alto Consiglio, alor che’ eleger volse (Pietro Ercole Visconti, Le Rime di Vittoria Colonna. Corrette su i testi a penna e pubblicate con la vita della medesima dal cavaliere [Rome: Dalle Tipografia Salviucci, 1840, p. 243]); Quando senza spezzar né aprir la porta Chi desia di veder pura ed altera (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 103); Donna, dal Ciel gradita a tanto onore (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 104); Vergine pura, che dai raggi ardenti (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 101); Con che pietosa caritá sovente (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 106); Eterna luna, alor che fra’l Sol vero (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 111); Stella del nostro mar, chiara e secura (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 102); Quando vedesti, Madre, a poco a poco (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 108); Mentre la matre il suo Figlio delitto (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 108); Un foco sol la Donna nostra accese (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 105); Angel beato, a cui il gran Padre espresse (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 132); In forma di musaico un alto muro (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 64); Oggi la santa sposa or gode or geme (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 176); Mentre che quanto dentro avea concetto (Tordi, Il Codice, 6, p. 41); and Vergine e madre, il tuo figliuol su’l petto (Tordi, Il Codice, 7, p. 46).

[27] Colonna wrote sonnets to: St. Catherine of Alexandria, St. Ursula, Archangel Michael, The Magi, St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. Thomas, St. Simon, Zacchariah, St. Stephen, St. Ignatius, the early Christian martyr Dionysus the Areopagite, St. Francis of Assisi, Noah, St. Matthew, and to the souls of The Elect in Paradise. The sonnets are found in Valgrisi, Le Rime, and Tordi, Il Codice, passim. To Mary Magdalene, Colonna wrote a series of sonnets: Donna accesa animosa, e da l’errante (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 122); La bella donna, a cui dolente preme (Valgrisi, Le Rime, p. 156); Beata lei, ch’eterno amor accese (Visconti, Le Rime, III, p. 389); Donna, che’n cima d’ogn’affetto umano (Tordi, Il Codice, 9, p. 49); and Felice donna cui disse sul fonte (Roland Bainton, “Vittoria Colonna,” in Women of the Reformation in Germany and Italy [Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1971, pp. 201–218, 209]). Felice donna reflects the subject of Michelangelo’s drawing Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well in its text—“Blest woman—He spoke to you by the well,/ and said: I am living water, you must/ pray to me, drink my truth, and go no more/ to the ancient temples or sacred hills./ but to God the Father go, with firm faith, humbly, maybe now crying with yearning, maybe against that bitter sound, yet still praying silently in the calm stillness-/ for to Him your passions are transparent./ And as the Son’s light fell over the earth,/ and Samaria, your burning thirst was/ sated, and you hurried to tell others/ more wise to come honor Him, with heart soul,/ and mind cheered by loving holiday joy.”

[28] For opinions about the Virgin Mary held by different Protestant denominations, see Jaroslav Pelikan, Mary Through the Ages (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1996). Protestant denominations honor the Virgin Mary, but they do not give her the prominence the Church gives her, as Martin Luther noted: “the honor given to the mother of God has been rooted so deeply into the hearts of men that no one wants to hear any opposition to this celebration … We also grant that she should be honored, since we, according to Saint Paul’s words [Romans 12] are indebted to show honor one to another for the sake of the One who dwells in us, Jesus Christ. Therefore we have an obligation to honor Mary. But be careful to give her honor that is fitting. Unfortunately, I worry that we give her all too high an honor for she is accorded much more esteem than she should be given or than she accounted to herself”; Joel Basely, Festival Sermons of Martin Luther (Dearborn, MI: Mark V Publications, 2005), p. 167. John Calvin opposed the Virgin Mary’s exalted titles and her intercessory role, and he rejected any idea of the notion that she assisted in the salvation of humanity as an active agent; Calvin, Works, Serm. de la proph. de Christ: op 35, 686.

[29] Valdés was associated with the Beneficio di Christo, a treatise written by Benedetto da Mantovano and Marcantonio Flaminio, which began to circulate, in Italy c. 1541 and was published in Venice in 1544; it was condemned by the Council of Trent as heresy in 1546. See Salvatore Caponetto and Benedetto da Mantova, Il Beneficio di Cristo con le Versioni del Secolo XVI, Documenti e Testimonianze (DeKalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1972). Caravale, Sulle Tracce, p. 109: “Benedetto da Mantova had written the draft of the Beneficio by January 1541, as confirmed by a letter by Contarini, dated 1543, that he had read the first draft some three years before in Naples.” See Benjamin B. Wiffen, Life and Writings of Juan de Valdés (London: Bernard Quaritch, 1865), p. 104, for other members of the Valdesian group, including Bernardino Ochino, Giulio da Milano, Fabio Mario Galeota, Benedetto Cusano, Giovanno Mollio, Lorenzo Romano, Giambattista Folegno, Fiovanni Francisco de Aloys, Marc Antonio Flaminio, Jacopo Bonfadio, Pietro Carnesecchi, Costanza d’Avalos, Duchessa d’Amalfi, and Giulia Gonzaga, whose spiritual development was guided by Valdés with his Alfabeto Cristiano.

[30] Francisco de Hollanda, On Antique Painting, trans. Alice Sedgwick Wohl (University Park: Penn State University Press, 2013), Book II, First Dialogue, p. 173: “But Fra Ambrogio of Siena (one of the Pope’s appointed preachers), who had not yet gone, said: ‘I do not believe that if Michelangelo knows the Spaniard to be a painter, he will be willing to speak about painting at all; therefore he ought to hide in order to listen to him.’”

[31] See Caravale, Politi, p. 27; and Caravale, Sulle Tracce, pp. 96–101, for Politi residing at San Silvestro. Politi’s arguments against Luther were repeated in his Enchiridion locorum communium adversus Lutherum, & alios hostes ecclesiae (Landshutt, 1525). A copy of this treatise is part of the collection of the New York Public Library’s branch at 42nd and 5th, Stephen A. Schwarzman building, listed under Ambrosius Catharinus, Archbishop of Conza. The Speculum was published in Rome, in 1540, with a dedication to Colonna, and in Cracow, in 1541, with a dedication to Paul III.

[32] See Caravale, Beyond the Inquisition, p. 27; and Caravale, Sulle Tracce, pp. 71–80. These were published in Venice. Politi’s treatises on Paul include Commentaria in Epistolam ad Romanos; in utramque Epistolam ad Corinthios; in Epistolam ad Galatos; in Epistolam ad Ephesios; in Epistolam ad Colossenses; in utramque Epistolam ad Thessalonicenses; in utramque Epistolam ad Timotheum; in Epistolam ad Tisum; in Epistolam ad Philemonem; in Epistolam ad Hebraeos; in omnes Epistolas Canonicas.

[33] Benrath, Bernardino Ochino, pp. 142–143.

[34] Caravale, Beyond the Inquisition, pp. 108–109. In Naples he found Marcantonio Flaminio (who compiled the Beneficio di Cristo, in 1541), Gian Mateo Giberti, Paolo Carnesecchi, Vittore Soranzo, Donato Rullo, Lattanzio Ragnoni, Apollonio Merenda, Jacopo Bonfadio di Capua, some Neapolitan nobles, Pietro Martire Vermigli, Galeazzo Caracciolo, Ochino, and, of course, Juan Valdés.

[35] Politi’s Beneficio Compendio d’errori et inganni Luterani, contenuti in un Libretto, senza nome de l’Autore, intitolato Trattato utilissimo del beneficio di Cristo crocifisso was published in Rome by Contrada del Pellegrino in 1544, as was his Della Reprobazione della Dottrina di Fra Bernardino Ochino e d’alcune conclusioni luterane.

[36] Caravale, Beyond the Inquisition, p. 101. See Lancelotto Politi, F. Ambrosii Catharini Politi, Speculum haereticorum, emendatum, auctum, Ejusdem, Liber de peccato originali. Item liber de perfecta justification a fide & operibus (Rome: Apud Antonium Vincentium, 1541). Copies of Politi’s treatise are located in the collections of the Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris; the Bibliothèque Interuniversitaire Sante-Geneviève, Paris; and the Bibliothèque Municipale de Lyon.

[37] Caravale, Beyond the Inquisition, p. 79.

[38] In 1534 and 1535, Colonna had been in Rome for the celebration of Lent and Easter. See Guglielmo Saltini, Rime e Lettere Vittoria Colonna (Florence: G. Barbera, 1860), p. 416, XV: In 1534, Colonna went from Ischia to Rome in March/April for Lent and Easter, where she heard Ochino preach at San Lorenzo in Damaso, and she returned there, to again hear Ochino, in March/April 1535, after which she followed him as he preached throughout Italy. On Colonna’s travels, see Alfred Reumont, Emmano Ferrero, and Giuseppe Müller, Marchesa di Pescara: Vita, Fede e Poesie (Rome: E. Loescher, 1892); and Visconti, Le Rime, pp. 147, 151, 158. In 1536, Colonna was again in Rome for Lent and Easter; see Saltini, Rime e Lettere, p. 101, where she received Emperor Charles V in the Colonna Palace.

[39] On the varying fortunes of Ochino and his preaching, see Michel Camaioni, “Capuchin Reform, Religious Dissent and Political Issues in Bernardino Ochino’s Preaching in and towards Italy (1535–1545),” in Religious Orders and Religious Identity Formation c. 1420–1620, ed. Bert Roest and Johanneke Updoff (Leiden: Brill, 2016), pp. 214–234; and Rita Belladonna, Seven Dialogues of Bernardino Ochino (St. Louis, MO: Center for Reformation Studies, 1988), passim.

[40] Hollanda, On Antique Painting, Book II, First Dialogue, p. 171ff.: “His Holiness has allowed me to build a nunnery here for ladies at the foot of Monte Cavallo, by the broken portico, where it is said that Nero saw Rome burning so that the wicked footprints of such a man may be trodden on by others more honest of holy women. I do not know Michelangelo what shape and proportions to give to the house, where the door should be placed, and whether some of the old work may be adapted to the new? Yes, madam, said Michelangelo, the broken portico may be used as a campanile. I quite think your Excellency may build the nunnery and when we leave here, with your permission, we may very well go and look at the site, so as to give you some drawing for it. I did not dare to ask you for so much, she said, but I already knew that in everything you would follow the doctrine of the Lord … and at the end of the conversation, Michelangelo, Holanda, Lattanzio Tolomei, and a Spaniard, named Diego Zapata, went with the Marchioness from the monastery of S. Silvestro at Monte Cavallo to the other monastery, where there is the head of St. John, the Baptist (San Silvestro a Capite), and where the Marchioness resides; and we left her with the mothers and the nuns …” Hollanda additionally noted that Michelangelo had already made some plans for the design, although construction plans were not imminent, as, in October 1538, Michelangelo was entering the last phase of painting of the Last Judgment.

[41] Hollanda, Painting, Book II, Third Dialogue, p. 200: “Then I ordered my servant to go without fail to San Silvestro and to learn whether by chance the Marchesa was there, or Signor Michelangelo and Signor Lattanzio and Fra Ambrosio were all there together in the latter’s cell, which was right in San Silvestro but there was no word of the Marchesa. All the same, I did not fail to proceed to San Silvestro but the truth is, I had decided to pass on and make a tour of the city when I saw fulano Diego Zapata approaching, a great gentleman in the service of the Marchesa, a very respected person, and a friend of mine. Since I was on horseback and he on foot, I was obliged to dismount, and when he told me that he came from the Marchesa, we entered San Silvestro. As we went in, who should we see but Messers Michelangelo and Lattanzio coming out of their way to the garden or yard to pass the siesta amid the trees and ivies and flowing water.” The structure Colonna identified as the “portico where it is said that Nero saw Rome burning” was on land then owned by the Colonna. The area had burned during the Great Fire (64 a.d.), and the last ruins of it were destroyed as Rome expanded in the seventeenth century. On the building’s history, see Ottavio Bucarelli, “Il Tempio di Serapide Sul Quirinale: Note di Archeologica e Topografian Tra Antichitá e Medioevo,” in The Roman Empire During the Severan Dynasty (Piscataway, NJ: Gorgias Press, 2013), pp. 207–217.

[42] For the letter of permission Paul III gave Colonna to build the convent, see Forcellino, Drawings and Paintings, pp. 270–313. In Brundin and Crivelli, A Companion, pp. 287–288: “Dilecta in Christo filia nobilis mulier salutem etc. Dudum meritis tue devotionis inducti tibi inter alia, ut tu et decem honeste mulieres per te nominande quecumque monasteria monialium cuiusvis etiam Sancte Clare ordinis bis in mense de eorumdem monasterium regimini presidentium consensu ingredi et cum monialibus ipsis conversari, dummodo ibi non pernocteretis, libere et licite possetis per alias nostras in forma brevis litteras concessimus prout in illis plenius continetur. Cum autem eiusdem tue devotionis merita quotidie maiora fiant tuque spiriualium operum exercitione in dies magis delectereris inducimus ut votis tuis que ex ipsius devotionis fervore procedunt, per amplius annuamus. Tuis itaque supplicationibus inclinati litteras predictas ad hoc, ut tu quecumque virorum monasteria cuius ordinis iuxta dictarum litterarum tenorem ingredi et citra pernocationem ibi conversari valeas extendimus et ampliamus per presentes, non ostantibus constitutionibus et ordinationibus apostolicis ac omnibus illis que in dictis litteris voluimus non obstare ceterisque contrariis quibuscumque. Datum Rome apud S. Petrum, 20 dec. 1536, anno 30 S.D.N. visum est quod tali persone similia non sint neganda.”

[43] Ermanno Ferrero e Giuseppe Müller, Carteggio raccolto e pubblicato da Ermanno Ferrero e Giuseppe Muller, 2nd ed. (Turin: Loescher, 1892), pp. 176–177: “Quanta consolation me sia stata sentir resonar a honoratamente la mia cara Ferrara in Roma per la degna ambasciarìa de Vostra Ex. (lX epsa sola ari potrà inutiginare ; et poi se è avgumentata molto la mia alegrefieza vedendola venir in questo humil loco et poi darme la sua dolcissima lettera et le sue infinite cortesie. Rendo gratie grande alla Ex.^Vostra, et suplico la divina bontà e degni con suo servitio darme questa occasione de polir tornar a servirlo, corno sommamente desidero et sono Migata. S.or mio, ho haute un poco de martello intendendo che questo novo principino sia più bello chel mio bellissimo principe, et noi posso creder per niente; et perchè in V. S. è il iuditio perfetto et la passione eguale, la suplico se degni scriverme el vero, et sella cosa fùsse nel animo suo dubiosa, me contento starne al iuditio et resolution della bella sorellina; che hor che V. S. ha tolto dalle sue spalle questo grave peso della Ghiesia de Dio, pò metter un’hora per me in queste dolcezze, che sono pur sante e bone. Ho ditto quel che io 80 al S. Cavaliero, che lo riferirà a Vostra Ex. più per el debito della mia servitù che per non saper, che sa ogni cosa meglio e più certo come per experientia ho visto: servirà al nostro monsignor de Ravenna; et per non esserli più resto basandoli la mano et cosi al exdemo. Da Roma, a di xxvii de maggio. Serva obligat de V. S. IH. et Ex La M.de Pescara.” Colonna wrote to Michelangelo asking him to send her the work so that she could show it to the Cardinal’s men; Ferrero/Müller, Carteggio, p. 207: “Cordialissimo mio S. Michel Agnolo. Ve prego me mandiate un poco el Crucifisso, se ben none fornito, perchè il vorria mostrare a gentilhuomini del R.°^ Cardinal de Mantua: et se voi non sete oggi in lavoro, protressi venir a parlarmi con vostra comodità. Al comando vostro La Marchesa di Pescara.”

[44] For this liturgy, see Missale Romanun Mediolani, 1474, vols. I and II (London: Henry Bradshaw Society, 1899) (hereafter Missale).

[45] Missale, I, 136: 27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it. Matthew 26:27–46: And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom. 30And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. 31Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples. 36Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 4And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

[46] Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. … All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.”

[47] Abigail Brundin, “Vittoria Colonna in Manuscript,” in Brundin, Spiritual Poetics, pp. 39–68 and 53–54: “The first gift manuscript from Colonna and the only instance identified to date of a collection of the rime that was prepared under the poet’s direct supervision, is Vaticano Latino 11539, sent to Michelangelo around 1540. This manuscript was first identified by Enrico Carusi as the volume given to Michelangelo by Colonna”; see Antonio Corsaro, “Manuscript Collections of Spiritual Poetry in Sixteenth Century Italy,” in Abigail Brundin and Matthew Treherne, Forms of Faith in Sixteenth Century Italy (London: Ashgate, 2009), pp. 33–66, 39. Its contents were different from those intended for wider publication found in other volumes. In a letter dated to 1551, which Michelangelo wrote to his nephew, Lionardo Buonarroti, he mentioned the gift manuscript and “… another one of 40 sonnets that is lost—About a month ago Mr Gianfrancesco asked me if I had anything by the Marchesa of Pescara. I have a little book made of parchment that she gave me about ten years ago, in which are one hundred and three sonnets, not counting the ones that she sent to me from Viterbo on paper, of which there are forty, which I had bound into the same little book, and at the time I lent to numerous people so that all the poems are by now in print.” See also a letter from Michelangelo to his nephew Lionardo ([1] Lett. 7 marzo 1551) saying that la Marchesa di Pescara had given him “un libretto in carta pecora, che la mi donò circa dieci anni sono (c. 1541), nel quale è cento tre sonetti, senza quegli che mi mandò poi da Viterbo in carta bambagina, che son quaranta; I quali feci legare nel medesimo libretto e in quell tempo li prestai a molte persone, in modo che per tutto ci sono in istampa. Ho poi molte lettere che la mi scrivea da Orvieto a Viterbo”; in Gaetano Milanesi, Lettere di Michelangelo Buonarroti (Florence: Le Monnier, 1875), p. 272, n. CCXLIII.

[48] The Christ on the Cross was a return gift for Colonna’s gift of a book of her sonnets to Michelangelo. For a discussion, see Nagel, Gifts, pp. 647–668.

[49] Ferrero/Müeller, Carteggio, 208: “Unico maestro Mìchelagnelo et mio singolarissimo amico. Ho hauta la vostra et visto il crucifixo, il qual certamente ha crucifìxe nella memoria mia quale altri picture viddi mai, nò se pò veder più ben fatta, più viva et più finita imagine et certo io non potrei mai explicar quanto sottilmente et mirabilmente è fatta, per il che ho risoluta de non volerlo di man d’altri, et però chiaritemi, se questo è d’altri, patientia. Se è vostro, io in ogni modo vel torrei, ma in caso che non sia vostro et vogliate farlo fare a quel vostro, ci parlaremo prima, perchè cognoscendo io la dificultà che ce ò di imitarlo, più presto mi resolvo che colui faccia un’altra cosa che questa; ma se è il vostro questo, habbiate patientia che non son per tornarlo più. Io Ilio ben visto al lume et col vetro et col specchio, et non viddi mai la più finita cosa. Son accomandamento vostro La Marchesa di Pescara.”

[50] Deoclecio Redig de Campos, Michelangelo: The Last Judgment (Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1978), p. 81.

[51] Ascanio Condivi, ed. C. Frey, Le Vite di Michelangelo Buonarroti: Scritti da G. Vasari e da A. Condivi (1553; Berlin: Hertz, 1887), p. 202; and see De Tolnay, Michelangelo’s Pietà, p. 45, for the Bianchi Cross being kept in Santa Croce.

[52] On Colonna and Cardinal Reginald Pole and her interaction at Viterbo with other reformers, see Tiffany L. Hunt, Looking with Colonna’s Eyes: Re-evaluating Michelangelo’s Colonna Pietá and Widening the Lens of Vittoria’s Patronage to Include Michelangelo’s Late Annunciation “Campaign” (MA thesis, American University, Spring 2011).

[53] De Tolnay, Michelangelo’s Pietà, p. 45.

[54] Francesco Saracino, “Michelangelo e I diavoli del Purgatorio,” Artibus et Historiae, 73 (2016), pp. 139–156; and Peter Armour, “A Ciascun Artists l’Ultimo Suo: Dante and Michelangelo,” Visible Parlare: Dante and the Art of the Italian Reformation, 2223 (Spring/Fall 1998), pp. 141–180.

[55] De Tolnay, Michelangelo V: The Final Period, p. 22 and n14, where he points out that Vasari asserted that three-quarters of the fresco was complete at this point. De Tolnay suggests that Vasari was including the lunettes with the Instruments of the Passion in his three-quarters assessment.

[56] Colonna left Rome in March 1541 to avoid the conflict caused by her brother, Ascanio, when he went to war with Pope Paul II over the Salt Tax; she went first to Orvieto, then Viterbo. See Elsa Natili Emiliani, “Vittoria Colonna Viterbo e is suoi rapporti con il circolo del Cardinale Pole,” in Nuovi documenti su Vittoria Colonna e Reginald Pole (Collectanea Archivi Vaticani), ed. Sergio M. Pagano and Concetta Ranieri (Viterbo: Biblioteca e Societa Viterbo, 1993), pp. 1–2, 27–32.

[57] Abigail Brundin, “Vittoria Colonna and the Virgin Mary,” The Modern Language Review, 96, no. 1 (Jan. 2001), pp. 61–81.

[58] Matthew 27:55–66; Mark 15:40–47; Luke 23:49–54, and John 19:38–42.

[59] The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin are: The Prophecy of Simeon at the Presentation at the Temple; the Flight into Egypt; Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, when he is lost; Jesus on the Way to Calvary; Standing at the Foot of the Cross; Jesus being taken from the Cross (The Lamentation over the Body of Christ); and The Burial of Christ.

[60] See Marina Warner, Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (New York: Vintage Books, 1983).

[61] Otto G. Von Simpson, “Compassio and Co-redemptio in Rogier van der Weyden’s Descent from the Cross,” The Art Bulletin, 35, no. 1 (Mar. 1953), pp. 9–16.

[62] See Hans Belting, Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era of Art, trans. E. Jephcott (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994); Barbara G. Lane, The Altar and the Altarpiece: Sacramental Themes in Early Netherlandish Painting (New York: Harper & Row, 1984); and Ilene Forsyth, The Throne of Wisdom: Wood Sculptures of the Madonna in Romanesque France (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1972).

[63] Carol M. Schuler, “The Seven Sorrows of the Virgin: Popular Culture and Cultic Imagery in Pre-Reformation Europe,” Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art, 21, no. 1–2 (1992), pp. 5–28.

[64] F. Holweck, “Feasts of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” in The Catholic Encyclopedia (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912).

[65] Missale, II, pp. 339–340.

[66] Missale, II, pp. 341–342.

[67] Missale, II, p. 343.

[68] James Saslow, The Poetry of Michelangelo: An Annotated Translation (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993).

[69] De Tolnay, Michelangelo’s Pietà, p. 45.

[70] Felice donna cui disse sul fonte, in Bainton, “Vittoria Colonna,” p. 209.

[71] Barnes, “The Understanding of a Woman,” pp. 633– 653.

[72] Cristina Hermann Fiore, “Disegni di Michelangelo in omaggio a Vittoria Colonna e trace del poema di Dante,” in Michelangelo e Dante, ed. Ettore Fattori (Milan: Electa, 1995), p. 107: “Il disegno di Michelangelo per Vittoria Colonna sul tema di Gesù e la Samaritana al pozzo è tramando in un disegno di Michelangelo, recentemente apparso nella Fondazione Bodmer a Ginevra (64), che respecchia una prima fase di preogettazione con le due figure molto vicine e frontali, noché uno schizzo della testa della donna. Una fase succesiva, già più vicina alla redazione pubblicata in cui la donna è vista di spalle, è riflessa in una copia disgnata, attribuita a Gilio Clovio del Museo del Louvre, e in un diegno copia di cui esiste la fotografia nella Witt Library. (65), onché in uno splendido dipinto, catalogato nella Pinacoteca di Siena come opera di Marcello Venusti, (66) eseguito nella finissima maniera che ricorda le miniature e richiama anche le minuziose pitture di Giulio Clovio. Altre copie dipinte si trovano nei musei di Vienna, a Liverpool, nel museo di Duisburg (67) e a Hampton Court. (68) La composizione di Michelangelo è stata diffusa nell’incisione del Béatrizet. (69).”

[73] Il carteggio di Michelangelo, ed. Giovanni Paggi and Paola Barocchi (Florence: Ristori, 1979), p. 169, n. MXII.

[74] The text is as follows: 4And he must needs go through Samaria. 5Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8(For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 27And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her? 28The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30Then they went out of the city, and came unto him. 31In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat. 32But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of. 33Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat? 34Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work. 35Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. 36And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together. 37And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. 38I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours. 39And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. 40So when the Samaritans were come unto him, they besought him that he would tarry with them: and he abode there two days. 41And many more believed because of his own word; 42And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

[75] Nirit Ben-Aryeh, Debby, “Vittoria Colonna and Titian’s Pitti, ‘Magdalen,’” Woman’s Art Journal, 24 (Spring/Summer 2003), pp. 29–33.

[76] Photina or Photine, “the enlightened one,” was the name traditionally given to the Samaritan woman. On her encounter with Christ, see David Daube, “Jesus and the Samaritan Woman: The Meaning of συγχράομαι,” Journal of Biblical Literature, 69, no. 2 (9 June 1950), pp. 137–147.

[77] For a discussion of the Baptism of the Catechumens on Holy Saturday, see Lynette M.F. Bosch, “A Room with Many Views: Eleonora de Toledo’s Chapel by Agnolo Bronzino in the Palazzo Vecchio,” in Agnolo Bronzino: The Muse of Florence, ed. Liana de Girolami Cheney (Washington, DC: New Academia Publishing, 2014), pp. 175–300, here 222–223.

[78] John 19:28, said as one of the Seven Last Words of Christ.

[79] Missale, II, 236–237.

[80] Missale, II, 238.

[81] Missale, II, 239.

[82] Missale, II, 1121.

[83] Missale, II, Numbers 20:1–13: Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zion in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. 2And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. 3And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord! 4And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there? 5And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink. 6And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the Lord appeared unto them. 7And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 8Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. 9And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him. 10And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? 11And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. 12And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. 13This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the Lord, and he was sanctified in them.

[84] Missale, I, 95–96.

[85] For the sonnets to Paul III and Clement VII, where Colonna recognizes the legitimacy of the Church and the papacy, see above, nn22–24.

[86] Bosch, “Interpreting,” nn23–32, for the project, for which Paul II had given permission and for Hollanda’s description of the project.

[87] See above, n42, for the letter from Paul III to Colonna, giving her permission for the convent.

[88] Carolyn Valone, “Women on the Quirinal Hill: Patronage in Rome, 1560–1630,” The Art Bulletin, 76, no. 1 (Mar. 1994), pp. 130–146.

[89] Jessica Maratsos, “Michelangelo, Vittoria Colonna, and the Afterlife of Intimacy,” The Art Bulletin, 99, no. 4 (2017), pp. 69–101.

[90] Maratsos, Vittoria Colonna, pp. 77–78.

[91] Pietro Bertano, quoted in Nagel, Gifts, p. 650, n8.

[92] Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, quoted in Clifford Malcolm Brown, “Paintings in the Collection of Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga: After Michelangelo’s Vittoria Colonna Drawings and by Bronzino, Giulio Romano, Fermo Ghisoni, Parmigianino, Sofonisba Anguissola, Titian and Tintoretto,” in Giulio Romano: Atti di Convegno Internazionale di Studi su Giulio Romano e l’espansione europea del Rinascimento, ed. Orianna Baracchi Giovanardi (Mantua: Accademia Nazionale Virgiliana, 1989), p. 221 n2: “solo ch’io possa far copiar da mr. Giulio romano.”

[93] Elena Calvillo, “Authoritative Copies and Divine Originals: Lucretian Metaphor, Painting on Stone, and the Problem of Originality in Michelangelo’s Rome,” Renaissance Quarterly, 66 (2013), pp. 453–508.

[94] Ben-Aryeh Debby, “Vittoria,’” pp. 29–33.

[95] Ben-Aryeh Debby, “Vittoria,” p. 33 n25, cites Anne Jacobson-Schutte, “The Lettere Volgari and the Crisis of Evangelism in Italy,” Renaissance Quarterly, 28, no. 4 (Jan. 1975), pp. 639–688, here p. 639; and Ferrero/Müller, Carteggio, pp. 292–293 and 300–301.

[96] Ben-Aryeh Debby, “Vittoria,” p. 33.

[97] Ferenc Veress, “Michelangelo e Savonarola: La ‘Pietà’ di San Pietro,” Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte, 73, no. 4 (2010), pp. 539–554.

[98] Donald Weinstein, “The Virgin and the Republic of Virtue,” in Weinstein, Savonarola: The Rise and Fall of a Renaissance Prophet (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011), pp. 148–163; and Donald Weinstein, “When Saints Fall Out: Women and the Savonarolan Reform in Early Sixteenth-Century Florence,” Renaissance Quarterly, 46, no. 3 (Autumn 1993), pp. 486–525.

[99] John C. Olin, The Catholic Reformation: Savonarola to Ignatius Loyola (New York: Fordham University Press, 1993).

[100] Carolynn Bynum, Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Late Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007).

[101] Henri Leclerq, “Fifth Lateran Council (1512–1517),” in Catholic Encyclopedia, ed. Charles Herbermann (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907–1912), vol. 9; Henri Holstein, Oliver De Labrosse, Joseph Lecler, Charles Lefebvre, Heinrich Bacht, Gervais Dumeige, and Edmund LaBonté, Lateran V und Trient, Geschchichte der Okumenischen Konzilier 10 (Mainz: Mattias Grunewald Verlag, 1978); Nelson H. Minnich, The Fifth Lateran Council: Studies on its Membership, Diplomacy, and Proposals for Reform (London: Variorum, 1993); Nelson H. Minnich, The Decrees of the Fifth Lateran Council (1512–17): Their Legitimacy, Origins, Contents, and Implementation (London: Routledge, 2016).

[102] John Ruse Kapp, The Influence of the Protestant Reformation on the Council of Trent (PhD diss., Boston University, 1933); John W. O’Malley, Trent: What Happened at the Council (Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2013); Rev. H.J Schroeder, The Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent (Gastonia, NC: Tan Publishers, 2009).

[103] Frederick Hartt, “Power and the Individual in Mannerist Art,” in Studies in Western Art: Acts of the Twentieth International Congress of the History of Art, Vol. 2: Renaissance and Mannerism, ed. Millard Meiss et al. (1961; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1963), pp. 222–238.

[104] Hartt, “Power,” pp. 226–234. See also Fredrick J. McGinnes, Right-Thinking and Sacred Oratory in Counter-Reformation Rome (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016).

Lynette M.F. Bosch

SUNY Distinguished Professor at SUNY, Geneseo. Chair of the Art History and Museum Studies Department.

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