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Creating a Cult, Faking Relics The Case of St. Dominic of Soriano: Discredited Practices at the Margins of Mimesis

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Abstract and Figures

Forgeries are an omnipresent part of our culture and closely related to traditional ideas of authenticity, legality, authorship, creativity, and innovation. Based on the concept of mimesis, this volume illustrates how forgeries must be understood as autonomous aesthetic practices - creative acts in themselves - rather than as mere rip-offs of an original work of art. The proceedings bring together research from different scholarly fields. They focus on various mimetic practices such as pseudo-translations, imposters, identity theft, and hoaxes in different artistic and historic contexts. By opening up the scope of the aesthetic implications of fakes, this anthology aims to consolidate forging as an autonomous method of creation.
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Creating a Cult, Faking Relics
The Case of St. Dominic of Soriano
Laura Fenelli (Kent State University and Richmond College in Florence)
This paper will, through the case-study of the miraculous icon of St. Dominic of
Soriano, analyse how thanks to a multifaceted layering of falsehoods, a modest
16th-century painting was counterfeited into a miraculous icon, enabling a small
convent in a marginal region of 17th-century Italy to become a leading cultural and
cultic presence in the Dominican order in Italy, Spain and overseas. As Luisa Elena
Alcalà has stated, “the history of religious images and the relationship of artists to
them are similar across many geographical areas. Nonetheless, studying the local
circumstances often allows us to identify cultural processes that distinguish how
images were crafted to respond to the particular needs and situation of societies”
(20 0 9: 66 ).
The legend of the miraculous icon of St. Dominic of Soriano (g. 1), as it is
recounted in a hagiographical narrative,1 narrates that on a night in December
1510, St. Dominic appeared three times in a vision to Brother Vincenzo, friar in
the Dominican convent of Catanzaro, in Calabria, and invited him to leave his
hometown and to visit Soriano, to build a new house. When Brother Vincenzo
1 | This research has developed through years thanks to the scientific
and economical support of many institutions that provided me fellow-
ships, libraries and fructuous exchanges with colleagues. I would like
to thank the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florence, the Warburg Institute
in London, the Dutch Institute in Florence, the Ermitage Foundation in
Ferrara and the Florentine Istituto Sangalli. A former version of this pa-
per has been presented to the International conference Beyond Italy and
New Spain. Itineraries for an Iberian Art History (1440-1640), at the Ital-
ian Academy, Columbia, New York, in Columbia University, New York in
2012. For an extended version of the research see the forthcoming book
Saints, Miracles and the Image: Healing Saints and Miraculous Images in
the Renaissance, edited by Sandra Cardarelli and Laura Fenelli, Turnhout
(forthcoming 2017).
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Figure 1: Paolo di Ciacio di Mileto(?), “Saint Dominic”, before 1621,
oil on canvas, San Domenico, Soriano.
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Creating a Cult, Faking Relics 183
arrives in Soriano, he nds a small community in assembly, debating on where to
build a new convent, a detail that may testify to a rivalry with the Franciscans, who
have just refused to build a new house in town. This aspect of the story should be
historically analysed in the context of the new Dominican settlement campaign in
Southern Italy, after two centuries during which a variety of historical circumstan-
ces contributed to the scattering and diffusion of the Order of Preachers.2
Upon his arrival in Soriano, Brother Vincenzo is considered a celestial mes-
senger, and he promptly starts the building of the new house, characterized by sub-
sequent miracles, which pertain to the location chosen and the apparition of the
building material.
Twenty years later, in 1530, on the night before the octave of the Virgin Na-
tivity, the sacristan, Lorenzo da Grotteria, descends into the church to light the
candles, and sees three women of sublime aspect. He does not immediately realise
that he is witnessing a celestial vision, and, upset, checks if the door is closed.
Questioned by one of the three women for the churchʼs name and its main icon,
he answers that the church is devoted to St. Dominic, but it only has a poor fresco,
close to the altar. One of the women, giving him a canvas, instructs him to place
the new icon on the main altar. Since the sacristan is not trusted by his superiors,
the image ends up being placed in the sacristy. Because of this collocation, which
does not satisfy the divine will, St. Catherine appears again: She reveals her iden-
tity, and explains that the image was not painted on earth; it has been brought to
the convent by herself, together with the Virgin Mary, and St. Mary Magdalene.
forgIng a legenD
The rst problem connected to this legend is the delay between the supposed
mi racle and the rst hagiographical ofcial accounts. The tale of the miraculous
arrival of the image in 1530 and the story of the conventʼs miraculous origins (in
1510) are in fact recounted together for the rst time only in a text published in
1621, the Raccolta deʼ miracoli fatti per lʼintercessione di san Domenico,3 by
2 | On the history of the Dominican Order in Calabria and southern Italy
see Longo 1991: 137-38; Cioffari / Miele 1993: 11-22; Pellegrini 2005: 64-
65, 98-115.
3 | Frangipane published the first version of the volume in Messina in
1621 and the following year the book was reprinted in Florence. For the
history of Frangipaneʼs text see Panarello 2001: 20-21, 24; 2009: 5 51. Th e
most successful edition was the one issued in Florence, in 1622: The
following quotes come from this version. The history of the miraculous
foundation of the convent is told in Frangipane 1622: 42-45, the history of
the arrival of the canvas, 45-48.
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Silvestro Frangipane, prior of the convent twice, between 1609-1610 and again from
1620 to 1623 (Longo 1991: 138-51).
This retard leads to a complete critical rethinking of how we should date the
creation of the Soriano miracle, and thus to the reasons behind manufacturing, or
we may say faking, this cult. As it is recounted or rather ‘created’ by Frangipane,
in 1609 Frate Agostino Galamini, Dominican general master, having witnessed the
great multitude of miracles which happened in the sanctuary, ordered the friars to
start to register them to increase the devotion towards the image and to spread its
cult (1622: 52): In reality any written record of Galaminiʼs order does not exist, and,
as I will clarify, no conclusive argument demonstrates that Galamini was aware
of the miracle and the cult when he visited Soriano. In 1611, in fact, Galamini
published a Vita et miraculi s. p. Dominici, which is a sort of collection of prints
about the patronʼs life. Surprisingly, the rst one, Vera efgies S. Dominici, has no
relationship with the Soriano icon, at a date when, according to Frangipane, Gala-
mini should already have known the Calabrese canvas and already have ordered
the ofcial enquiry.
The rst written mentions of the miracle date back, in fact, only to 1612 and are
very vague: In a letter dated 30th August, Serano Secchi, provincial master, orders
that the next general chapter should be held in Soriano because of the daily miracles
which happen in the convent, “propter miracula quae quotidie Soriani unt”,4 and
during this provincial chapter Frangipane is elected as master for the Calabrese
area. The next year, 1613, Frangipane sends to Galamini, the general master, a de-
tailed relation on the Calabrese houses, and again, in this account no mention of
the miraculous icon occurs (Longo 1991: 170-225). In 1620 Frangipane is back in
Soria no (146) and in 1621 the rst edition of the Raccolta dei miracoli is pub-
lished and it contains the detailed account summarised above. Instead of imagin ing
almost 60 years of a ‘spontaneous’ cult, it is more likely the miracle was ‘manu-
factured’ in 1609-1610, and Frangipaneʼs narration is either a forged promotion of
a local cult, or an immediate reaction to a spontaneous devotion. This hypothesis
concerning the rst emergence of the cult at the beginning of the second decade of
the 17th century is present in the text of a friar from Antwerp, Nicolas Janssenius,
who, writing in 1622 placed the miracle in 1610 (book II, chap. XII).
When it was founded, the Soriano settlement was not even technically a con-
vent, but rather a small vicar house, in a marginal region that saw a very late expan-
sion of the Dominican order; it was only during the general chapter of 1564, held
in Bologna, that Soriano obtained the designation of ‘convent’ (Panarello 2001: 12).
This marginality started to vanish in 1644, when Tommaso Turco was elected
general master and the feast of Soriano was for the rst time recorded in the act of a
general chapter, together with the existence of a brotherhood devoted to the image.
4 | The document [Roma, Archivio Generale dellʼOrdine dei frati predica-
tori, IV, 58, I, 14v. 18r] is quoted by Longo (1991: 142).
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Creating a Cult, Faking Relics 185
Is it thus possible to conceive an intentional strategy behind the creation
of the Soriano painting as a miraculous icon, a strategy that will promote the
Soriano area as a counter-reformed leading religious centre? We can answer
this question considering the effects of the iconʼs presence in changing the
denomination of the former small house of Soriano. Thanks to the active role
of Frangipane in promoting the cult of the miraculous icon, the convent be-
came the centre through which the Observant reform was rst introduced and
later established in Southern Italy. The ‘localization’ of the Soriano image in
a formerly marginal region, and the ways in which the Calabrese Dominicans
came to feel identied with their most famous cult image over time, played a
fundamental role in the promotion of the devotional cult. When the Raccolta
dei miracoli was published in 1621 it became not only a key text for the con-
vent, but also, a key piece in promoting a new, clean and puried image of the
Dominicans in Southern Italy, after the dramatic downfall of the Calabrese
Dominican friar Tommaso Campanella. He was tried by the Inquisitions for
his writings ve times, and denitively condemned to death in 1601 by the Spa-
nish authorities for conspiring to establish an ideal republic in Calabria in 1599
(Cioffari 2001). In fact, the ostracization of Tommaso Campanella from the
Dominican order, and his subsequent condemnation, proceeded simultaneous-
ly with the invention and promotion of the cult of the Soriano icon, and the
success of its main promoter or maybe counterfeiter, Frangipane, whose vision
for the Dominican order in southern Italy had been strongly opposed by Cam-
panella (Longo 1991: 150). Within this struggle internal to the order, a struggle
that Campanella was destined to lose, it is possible to nd the reasoning behind
a ‘retrospective’ hagiographical narration and the forgery of a miraculous cult.
Counterfeiting a cult and back-dating the miracle to the thirties of 16th century
meant, for Frangipane, rewriting a turbu lent past and reinventing a difcult
memory.
The presence of the icon, and the cult devoted to it, in fact, changed the fate
of the Dominican settlement: In 1652, the convent had become so powerful
that it could buy from the Carafa family the ef of Soriano (Panarello: 15). But
most importantly, the Soriano miracle was used to consolidate the relationship
between the order and the Spanish crown, and to promote the small region of
Soriano on an international and global scale (Caridi 2009: 55-67): In 1635, Phi-
lip IV sent as a votive gift a silver lamp, and placed the convent under his royal
protection. Five years later, in 1640, again according to Philip Is will and
after a miracle which happened to the viceroyʼs son, St. Dominic was chosen as
patron saint of the Naples Vicereame (Carrió-Invernizzi 2009: 190).
Earthquakes have also dramatically characterized the conventʼs story:
The rst one, in 1659, destroyed the convent and badly damaged the church;
the only chapel, which survived — miraculously — is the one that preserves
the holy canvas (Lembo 1665: 158-59). Most of the donations that arrived to
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help rebuild the convent came directly from the Spanish viceroy, the count of
Peñaranda.5
The following century the convent was devastated by another earthquake: On
the night of 7th February 1783 the building, whose ambitious reconstruction was
completed only a few decades earlier on the model of the Escorial in Ma drid,6
almost entirely collapsed. The region, ravaged by the Napoleonic invasions, re-
mained so poor and deserted that the convent was only partially reconstructed in
1860, when the village became the site of a new miracle. When a statue of St. Domi-
nic miraculously came to life in front of the community, the old cult was revitalized.
forgIng the ICon
The convens turbulent story explains the very poor condition in which the painting
is preserved: According to 18th-century sources, the survival of the painting was
considered miraculous; however, the canvas, which was transferred to wood after
the 1783 earthquake, has been heavily repainted, and it may be considered a fake in
itself, a highly restored or rather completely repainted icon.
The painting is nearly two metres high and 1.25 wide (so that St. Dominicʼs
gure appears larger than life) and was initially preserved on the main altar, as
prescribed by St. Catherine on her second apparition, and only later moved to a
separate chapel, made of white marble, porphyry and bronze. The painting por-
trays the saint with the typical white Dominican dress and a dark mantel. The
background showing a brick wall and an open window onto a landscape probably
dates to a later stage of a so-called ‘restoration’, since it is absent from all the old
copies, and appears for the rst time in a print made in 1791.7 It is interesting to
read the account made to justify this evident repaint: Giovan Bettista Melloni, Bo-
lognese priest and biographer of more than fty saints, saw the image after 1783
and considered the brick wall and the window as part of the original, that, covered
through centuries, miraculously reappeared only after the earthquake (Melloni
1791: 194). As reported again by Melloni, the 1783 earthquake had damaged the
image so much that the canvas was broken into two separate parts and the redis-
covery of the lower part, at rst thought missing, was considered a miracle (191).
On that occasion, the restorations were massive and they were again considered
miraculous, since the painter called to ‘restore’, or, more accurately, to repaint the
canvas, found his work divinely completed without his intervention, a miracle
5 | On the viceré see Mauro 2007; 2009.
6 | The impressive building of the XVII century convent of Soriano is
extensively reconstructed by various studies of history of architecture
(Panarello 2001: 39 -122; 2010).
7 | The print, by Bernardino Rulli, decorates Melloni.
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Creating a Cult, Faking Relics 187
that recalls the famous topos of the SS. Annunziata in Florence.8 Maybe in one of
those restorations the saintʼs beard was cleaned, a detail which appears in many
antique copies (g. 2),9 but not on the present state of the icon. The beard is not an
insignicant detail, since it is not typical of St. Dominicʼs traditional iconography:
The difference between the Soriano typology and the more common Bolognese
type may explain why, at a later stage, St. Dominic of Soriano was perceived as
a new saint.
The Soriano icon is probably a painting that was already present in the convent
when Frangipane created the miraculous forgery, promoting it as an icon not made
by human hands. Instead, the icon is probably a work by Paolo di Ciacio di Mileto,
a modest local painter active around the mid-15th century, author of the so-called
Madonna of the Pears, for the Dominican church of S. Maria della Consolazione in
Altomonte. It is highly probable that this ‘old-fashioned’, archaic and static compo-
sition positively contributed to its ripeness for a miraculous activation, after initial-
ly poor reception or even contempt, for which possible background is provided in
the account of St. Catherineʼs second apparition.10
The painting started to have an increasingly outstanding role in the Dominican
order, even displacing the saintʼs relics, preserved for three centuries in Bologna
in a monumental sepulchre, which hides and obscures the body itself.11 Un u suall y,
St. Dominicʼs body is preserved almost entirely in Bologna (only the head is in
a separate reliquary since 1383) (Faranda / Rosetus 1998), but the image was
the vehicle for the spreading and renewal of the 13th-century cult: It is basically
through the Soriano icon — which xes, and multiplies a new iconographical typo-
logy — that St. Dominic became a leading Counter-Reformation and thaumaturgi-
cal saint, whose only competition in Southern Italy was the increasing popularity
of St. Francis of Paola.12 The Soriano case works as a visual paradigm: The mira-
culous image and its copies come to renew and later to substitute the cult of the
relics preserved in Bologna, and St. Dominic of Soriano, who appears in numerous
visions to believers and ill people, proudly afrms his identity (I am the St. Domi-
nic of Soriano and not of Bologna as it is written in many of the accounts of his
miraculous epiphanies).
8 | See, with previous bibliography, Holmes 2013: 5 7.
9 | The beard is very evident in the print by Nicolas Perrey “San Domeni-
co da Soriano fonte perenne di Grazie” datable at the beginning of XVII
century (published in Panarello 2001: 35) and again in the anonymous
print that illustrates the 1733 edition of the Acta Sanctorum, in which the
saint actually has long and curious moustaches (present also in the copy
by Raffellino in S. Chiara, Carpi).
10 | On this topic, see at least Alcalá 2009: 55-73; Holmes 2013: 160.
11 | On the Arc of Saint Dominic in Bologna see Moskowitz 1994.
12 | On the cult for San Francesco di Paola see Sallmann 1996: 83-120.
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Figure 2: Francesco Caivano, “Saint Dominic”, 1648, Museo Diocesano Antonio
Marena, Bitonto.
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Creating a Cult, Faking Relics 189
At the end of this complex devotional process, the icon was itself able to pro-
duce relics: In Palermo in 1741, the particula ex sacris ossibus Gloriosi sancti
Dominici Suriani confessoris appears (literally: a small part of St. Dominic
of Sorianoʼs bones). The saint of Soriano somehow became a new, independent
saint, whose cult was promoted by the Dominican order, and whose relics are also
collected and venerated.13
CoPIeS anD forgerIeS
The phenomena of relic production had already begun in the 17th century, when
contact relics were being documented. Contact relics are manufactured by a saintʼs
body, ‘touching’ the miraculous icon with a new material that, upon contact, be-
comes miraculous in itself. As already recounted in Frangipane, the oil of the lamps
burning in front of the canvas was considered miraculous.14 The same happens to
the misure, literally, the ‘dimensions’ of the icon: Small ribbons made of canvas,
with the same length of the icon, were used particularly in cases of difcult preg-
nancies (Lembo 1665: 20-21). The relics were used to multiply the iconʼs miracu-
lous power, and even to substitute the miraculous seeing of the icon for those who
could not reach the sanctuary; but they also work as powerful material memories,
helpful for those returning from a pilgrimage, who wanted to take home a fragment
of the miraculous power for themselves, their family or even their animals, as is
attested by a 17th-century blessing.15
The mechanism of copying and reproducing the miraculous image is part
of this forgery: Focusing mainly on the miraculous activations of the copies in
the last part of my paper I will describe some case studies taken from the network
that I am reconstructing. Those examples will clarify how Sorianoʼs cult was used to
promote the Dominicansʼ role not only in Southern Italy, but also, thanks to a mira-
culous copy in Madrid, the Iberian Peninsula, and, later, the Americas; and how tho-
se copies — sort of certied fakes spread and popularized the devotion overseas.16
In the rst descriptions of the image, the icon is described as being so beautiful
that it couldnʼt have been made by human hands (Frangipane 1622: 48): That the iconʼs
13 | The authenticity of the relic is certified in 1741, as recounted by
Casillas García 2006: 383.
14 | See for example the miracles listed by Frangipane 1622: 18, 27, 50,
114, 228; Lembo 1665: 18-19.
15 | See for example the blessing for the animals: Benedizione deʼ Cor-
doncini tagliati alla misura dellʼimmagine del S. Patriarca S. Domenico
per salvaguardare gli animali, quoted by Zucchi 1951.
16 | The issues of copying a miraculous image is addressed by Belting
1994: 440; Freedberg 1989: 142; Holmes 2013: 145.
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beauty itself is evidence of divine production is obviously a topos which dates back
to the acheiropoieta images attributed to St. Luke, an aesthetic observation clearly
contradicted by the material evidences of the painting (Portús Pérez 2009: 40-43).
The Soriano icon, in Frangipaneʼs words, has another peculiar characteristic: It
is not only so beautiful that it couldnʼt have been made by human hands, but also it
is thanks to its divine beauty that is impossible to copy, despite the vain attempts of
various artists (1622: 48-49).
Beyond Frangipaneʼs words, the cultic and performative reality of the mirac-
ulous icon of Soriano was very different: Between the 17th and 18th century, the
Soriano image was continuously copied and multiplied.17
It is possible to subdivide the immense network of the copies into two ba-
sic groups. The rst series consists of paintings that reproduce the Soriano icon
exactly: The rst copies appear in nearby Dominican convents, such as in
Bitonto; where a linen dated 1648 and signed by its author, Francesco Caivano,
is displayed in a massive baroque structure a peculiar case of a miraculous
image made and authenticated by human hands (g. 2; Pasculli Ferrara 1998).
Despite the trope of the impossibility of the imageʼs reproduction by artists, the
production of copies started in the Soriano sanctuary itself: In a description of the
conventʼs situation after the 1783 earthquake a reproductions atelier is documented,
close to the convent itself, where a group of artists (or rather craftsmen) were dep-
utized to copy the image. Given the high number of copies, we can imagine that a
similar set-up existed in the 17th century (Panarello 2001: 217-22). In fact, the text
“this is the true portrait of St. Dominic of Soriano” which appears in many early
Calabrese copies (but also in Bruges, Empoli, Liguria and Taggia),18 could be the
proof of a ‘certicate of authenticity’ requested by Dominican convents and may
refer to the copies manufactured directly in Soriano or at least approved by the
convent.
But in the 17th and 18th centuries, copying the Soriano icon usually meant not
a simple reproduction of the icon, but a reproduction of the performative mise-en-
scene of the miracle related in Frangipaneʼs account, with a painting within a paint-
ing, an iconography that probably derives from the 17th-century clay frame, record-
ed by the sources and lost in the 18th centuryʼs earthquakes.19
17 | In recent years, many studies on the copies have appeared: See the
repertories drawn by Stagno (for the Liguria; 2009), Marías and Carlos
Varona (on the Spanish copies; 2009) and Čapeta Rakić (for a Dalmatian
copy that is derived from the Bertarelli print; 2013).
18 | Stagno 2009: 720-21, with useful reconstruction of the diffusion of
the Soriano iconography in Liguria, where at least fourteen different
canvases are documented.
19 | All the material pertaining to the baroque frame, with a possible
reconstruction, is documented in Panarello 2010: 182-83.
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Creating a Cult, Faking Relics 191
Figure 3: Saint Dominic of Soriano and his miracles, 18th centur y,
Civica Raccolta Bertarelli, Milan.
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The Iberian success of this cult — thanks to a series of those copies and trans-
lations of Frangipaneʼs text — changed the fate of the convent and its icon. In the
1620s immediately after the publication of Frangipaneʼs text a print of the So-
riano miracles, probably similar to the sheet now preserved at the Civica Raccolta
delle Stampe Bertarelli (g. 3), arrived for Padre Francisco de Sotomayor, prior of
the Dominican convent of St. Tomas in Madrid, who asked the painter and Domini-
can friar Juan Batista Maino to paint the scene with the miraculous arrival (Pana-
rello 2009: 537-55). Mainoʼs altar was consecrated on 13th May 1629. The Madrid
convent of St. Tomas became the rst Spanish devotional centre. It was soon fol-
lowed by the female Dominican convent of Santo Domingo el Real, which hos-
ted from 10th July 1638 a painting of the same subject made by Vicente Carducho
(Colocacion 1638). Both Carduchoʼs and Mainoʼs painting are now lost, but a print
taken by Pedro da Villafranca after Charducoʼs in 1638, together with the numerous
other versions made by the two painters throughout their careers (g. 4), clearly
show their relationship and dependence on the model drawn by the Italian print.20
During the procession made to enshrine the painting, Carduchoʼs copy for
St. Domingo el Real performed miraculous healings: In the presence of more than
200 Dominicans, friars and nuns, the miraculous power of the Soriano icon was
prodigiously transferred to the Madrid copy, a sort of fraudulent activation that
substituted for the forged original (Colocacion 1638).
What happened in Madrid is very different from what occurred in Naples, in
1652. Here, as it is recounted in an anonymous libellus, the Trionfo di S. Domenico
in Soriano, printed in Naples in 1653, a possessed woman was brought in front of a
copy in the church of S. Maria della Salute, but the demons, once seeing the copy,
considering it a fake, refused to leave and forced her to go on a pilgrimage to the
true Calabrese icon. Despite the failure, the rst attempt to heal the woman in front
of a copy means that, except in peculiar cases that required the original power of
the true icon, the practice of substituting the icon and its power with a manufactured
copy was indeed common.
a SuCCeSSful DeVotIon oVerSeaS
The miraculous activation of the rst Spanish copies moved the devotional centre
of the Soriano cult from Southern Italy to the central Iberian Peninsula, and it is not
by chance that in 1666 Antonio Gonzales was the rst Spaniard who obtained the
role of Dominican general master (Carrió-Invernizzi 2009: 190). From the Iberian
Peninsula, a new “colonization of the imagery”21 began to play out in the Americas:
20 | On the Maino paintings see Marías / Carlos Varona 2009: 71-73;
Carlos Varona 2002. On the Madrid copies see Collar de Cáceres 2005.
21 | The expression is the title of a famous book by Gruzinski.
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Creating a Cult, Faking Relics 193
Figure 4: Juan Bautista Maino, “Appearance of the Virgin to St. Dominic in
Soriano”, 1630s, Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg.
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The icon was used to prevent a ood in Mexico City in 1630,22 and, when the Do-
minicans settled in Uruguay, they renamed the rst Spanish colony Santo Domingo
de Soriano, now known as Villa Soriano.23
In all Spanish copies, the core of the painting, the Soriano icon itself, seems to
remain unchanged, at a moment when the true icon was in fact about to be repainted
and completely forged by adding the brick wall as the background: A fake icon that
had become a true relic, was offered through the narrative image to the devoteesʼ
adoration.
To sum up and conclude: In this multifaceted stratication of fakes, rstly, we
have a miraculous image that changed the role and the fate of a religious order in
a formerly marginal region, an image that does not even exist anymore in its ori-
ginal conditions: Damaged by subsequent earthquakes and completely repainted,
the icon is now a fake in itself. Secondly, the hagiographical account that popu-
larized the iconʼs miracles is probably highly forged, at least in how it anticipates
the cult, for specic political reasons. Thirdly, later in its veneration, the icon
created fake relics, venerated in Palermo, such as the rather mysterious appari-
tion of a saintʼs bone, whose body is venerated and preserved (presumably intact)
elsewhere. More over, the mechanism that led to the production of many copies of
the miraculous image — sort of certied reproductions, or true ‘fakes’ raises
issues about artistic reproduction of icons supposedly not made by human hands,
but also with respect to the role of the artists who made, repaired, and restored
the original image through the centuries, and were responsible for the copies that
popularized this devotion.
WorkS CIteD
Alcalá, Luisa Elena (2009): “The Image and its Maker: The Problem of Authorship
in Relation to miraculous Images in Spanish America”, in: Sacred Spain: Art
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Press, pp. 55-73.
Belting, Hans (1994): Likeness and Presence: A History of the Image before the Era
of Art, transl. Edmund Scott, Chicago / London: University of Chicago Press.
22 | In 1629-1630 Santo Domingo de Soriano is called to protect Ciudad
del Mexico during a series of floods. See Ragon 2002: 371-72. A paint-
ing representing the miraculous arrival is documented in Mexico City in
1645. See Esponera Cerdán 1992: 91.
23 | The village now known as Villa Soriano was actually built by the Fran-
ciscans in 1624 and only around 1662 was renamed Santo Domingo de
Soriano. See Esponera Cerdán 1992: 75-95.
Unauthenticated
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Creating a Cult, Faking Relics 195
Čapeta Rakić, Ivana (2013): “La visione del frate Domenicano Lorenzo dalla Grot-
teria e gli echi dellʼiconograa del miracolo di Soriano in Dalmazia”, in: Ikon 6,
pp. 199-212.
Caridi, Giuseppe (2009): “La Calabria nei secoli XVI e XVII: politica territorio
e società”, in: La Calabria del viceregno spagnolo: storia arte architettura e
urbanistica, ed. Alessandra Anselmi, Rome: Gangemi, pp. 55-67.
Carlos Varona, María Cruz de (2009): “Santo Domingo en Soriano (cat. 31 and 32)”,
in: Juan Bautista Maíno, 1581-1649, ed. Leticia Ruiz Gómez, Madrid: Museo
Nacional del Prado, pp. 172-76.
Carrió-Invernizzi, Diana (2009): “La Calabria del secolo XVII agli occhi del viceré
di Napoli”, in: La Calabria del viceregno spagnolo: storia arte architettura e
urbanistica, ed. Alessandra Anselmi, Rome: Gangemi, pp. 187-95.
Casillas García, José Antonio (2006): “Los cuadros burgaleses de ‘Santo Domingo
en Soriano’”, in: Archivo Dominicano: Anuario 27, pp. 349-404.
Cioffari, Gerardo (2001): “La Provincia Calabriae: strutture e fermenti nellʼordine
domenicano al tempo di Tommaso Campanella”, in: Tommaso Campanella e
la congiura di Calabria. Atti del convegno di Stilo (18-19 novembre 1999) in
occasione del 4. centenario della Congiura, ed. Germana Ernst, Stilo: Comune
di Stilo, pp. 121-43.
Cioffari, Gerardo / Michele Miele (1993): Storia dei domenicani nellʼItalia meri-
dionale, vol. 3, Bari / Napoli: Editrice Domenicana Italiana.
Collar de Cáceres, Fernando (2005): “De arte y rito: ‘Santo Domingo in Soriano’
en la pintura barroca madrileña”, in: Anuario del Departamento de Historia y
Teoría del Arte 17, pp. 39-50.
Colocacion (1638): Colocacion de la Milagrosa Imagen del Gloriosio patriarcha
Sto. Domingo el Soriano. Procesion y otavario Solemne que se celebro en su
capilla, ala Reyna n. s. la priora y convento de Sto Domingo el real, Madrid:
F. Martínez.
Esponera Cerdán, Alfonso (1992): Los dominicos y la evangelización del Uruguay,
Salamanca: Editorial San Esteban.
Faranda, Franco (1998): Jacobus Rosetus: il reliquiario del capo di San Domenico,
Bologna: Musei Civici dʼArte Antica / Museo Civico Medievale.
Frangipane, Silvestro (1622): Raccolta deʼ miracoli fatti per lʼintercessione di san
Domenico, istitutore del sacro ordine deʼ Predicatori, con lʼoccassione dʼuna
sua imagine portata dal cielo in Soriano, Florence: Zanobi Pignioni.
Freedberg, David (1989): The power of images: studies in the history and theory of
response, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Galamini, Agostino (1611): Vita et miracula S.P. Dominici praedicatorii ordinis
primi institutoris, Antwerp: Apud Theodorum Gallaeum.
Gruzinski, Serge (1998): La colonisation de lʼimaginaire, Sociétés indigènes
et occidentalisation dans le Mexique espagnol, XVIe-XVIIIe siècle, Paris:
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196
Holmes, Megan (2013): The miraculous Image in Renaissance Florence, New
Haven: Yale University Press.
Janssenius, Nicolas (1622): Vita S. P. Dominici Ordinis Praedicatorum fundatoris,
Antwerp: Henricus Aertssius.
Lembo, Antonino (1665): Cronaca del convento di San Domenico in Soriano
dallʼanno 1510 n al 1664, Soriano: Dom. Antonio Ferro.
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praedicatorum LXI, pp. 138-225.
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que las guras mueven: Maino, un pintor dominico entre Toledo e Madrid”,
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Mauro, Ida (2007): “‘Il divotissimo signor conte di Pegnaranda, viceré con lar-
ghissime sovvenzioni’: los nes políticos del mecenazgo religioso del conde
de Peñaranda, virrey de Nápoles (1659-1664)”, in: Tiempos modernos. Revista
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Unauthenticated
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