FROM Δηομένη TO Madonna dell’Itria... AND VICEVERSA. TWO MARIAN ICONOGRAPHIES SUPERIMPOSED IN A “PALIMPSEST WALL” OF MARSALA (TP)

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Abstract

During a recent restoration in an underground chapel in Marsala (TP), the wall to which the altar is attached proved to be a palimpsest of several layers. The oldest dated back from the late twelfth to early thirteenth century displaying a “velarium” in the lower register. Overhead we see a Madonna in prayer (Δηομένη) preceded by a theory of Saints. A second layer, from the 15th century, decisively changes the original iconography thus transforming it into the typically Sicilian iconography of the “Madonna dell’Itria”. The Child, positioned in the center of the Mother’s breast, sits inside a chest supported by two old chants. The latter devotional image, due to the perishability of the plaster, high humidity of the place and stylistic changes, reappears again in baroque forms in the seventeenth century. It becomes hidden in the middle of the nineteenth century, with a faithful reproduction of the same painted on canvas, removed in 2018 at the same time of the restoration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationESRARC 2019. 11th European Symposium on Religious Art, Restoration & Conservation. Proceedings book
Pages22-25
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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