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Middle Ages without borders: a conversation on medievalism

Tommaso di Carpegna Falconieri
Pierre Savy
Lila Yawn

a) The Middle Ages in early modern erudition

2) What to do with the medieval material past? Apostolic visitations to churches in Rome during the late sixteenth-seventeenth centuries

Linda Nolan

Texte intégral

1After the Council of Trent, the Church in Rome restarted the Apostolic Visitations with new found vigor. The visits were conducted to check that the cult, physically and spiritually, was in sound condition. The records of the visits, kept in the Archivio Apostolico Vaticano, offer a window onto the difficulties that faced the members of the clergy who conducted the visits. Although some scholars have turned to the Apostolic Visitations for information about the censorship of works of art during the time of pope Clement VIII, I instead consider devotional objects, material aspects that drew the attention of the visitors. The clergymen often found legendary objects with local traditions housed in Roman churches. The publications produced after Carlo Borromeo’s model visitations to churches in Milan provided the general instructions. But such handbooks could not prepare the visitors for the lack of memory found at the churches in Rome. Legendary objects related to the history of early Christianity and the martyr cult needed careful negotiation to justify the traditional reliance of the Church upon material devotional practices. To demonstrate this, I compare several encounters with legendary objects found in the late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Apostolic Visitations with contemporary texts written by ecclesiastic historians.


Temple University, Temple Rome Campus

© Publications de l’École française de Rome, 2021

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