Richardson, Carol M.
Durante Alberti, the Martyrs’ Picture and the Venerable English College, Rome.
Papers of the British School at Rome, 73
The Martyrs’ Picture in the Venerable English College, Rome, was painted in 1581 by Durante Alberti at a seminal juncture in the history of the institution. In 1579 what had been the medieval hospice for English and Welsh pilgrims became the English College, run by the Jesuits, for preparing men for the priesthood to send them back to Elizabeth I’s England at the height of Catholic suppression. An important part of one of a number of decorative programmes associated with the Jesuits in the 1580s under Gregory XIII (1572-85), the painting has been overshadowed by the explicit frescoes of martyrdoms by Niccolò Circignani (‘Il Pomarancio’) added to the church shortly afterwards and the prints by Giovanni Battista de’ Cavalieri that record them. This article seeks to reposition the altarpiece at the centre of both the original decorative cycle and of the remarkable events during the troubled transition of the institution from home for exiled clerics to a training ground for militant priests willing to return to England and face martyrdom.
||Durante Alberti; Rome; Jesuits; English College; recusant history; counter reformation; Niccolo Circignani
||Arts > Art History
||07 Jun 2006
||02 Dec 2010 19:46
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