FAC r TO FA r

Saint Hippolytusn torn apart by wild horses like h inamesake in Greek mythology, ¡11 graphit and gory delail:

A. va]l bears arc ntatlon 111 this I m r - id ^cent, on which varied colors, set pui the w hole outrage, while o^er Lhe lotnb are ]■■" ^J1" r- - dm! show the vivid sightthe dragged man's bleeding limbs, I saw (here the and ited rocks oh best cd fathers, and the purple marks on 1 h^ brambJes. / hand skilled .11 reproducing the protn thicket alio portrayed I hi: rednesi oi the blood wilh vermillion paint One -:ould ahi: in.iki' - nil [Ik body parts -ind limit?, lOni fljiirl nrnt .ilrcwn ,i>jliI I In' Srlist fllsO showed (he

1:: .11 k 1 '■■ w«ping jnd r i ,111. dtvolifrillcvwicig along his !; 111 i.i i ed path. Slunned with grief ami searching with their ryes as (hey wen! along, they BflLhirid ill:- folds ^fihiir gtrraeiiK L

The poem joes on to describe the scene more fully, including the martyr's followers gathering up Hi-n relics (including his head with snowy while hair}. and relieving drops of his blood from (he ditsl *ilh a

Sponge Hie -.llik- Hi the finding ofa cavt mi whkh In bury the remains allows the poet to relate the description to the actual shrine as it : 11 his day* complete willi an altar next to the saint's n?n:':i positioned in a special chapel adorned with worked marble and precious metals. The fantastic description of ihis v.isi painting of ^■■;^■.l^^L■, h.ih caused some M holiri Id doubt I hit [k'lirlMDik Jilu.i"li-f!iis1i-d.iirL(Hjlii hjVf been com pie* .Lh Prudentius's description would make it» but perhaps that i^ beside the point. The writer's ,iini was nol to provide ,hii accurate record of a pictorial compositionh hut rather L*.■ bring image and together as a single aesthetic experience. On the other hand, even if greatly elab orated in poetit or semonic exposition, we know that such paintings must have existed, given the number of written testimonies lo them, Augustine for examp]eh referred to a ]>Lt:l urt- of Saint Stephen's stoning in .l sermon rh.it he preached .it Stephen's shrine in Hippo. Ml- particularly pointed out S-l-.iI hi this image, standing by and holding the cloalu oi ilnise throwing the 1111 . thus working this image into a lesson about the transformation oi .1 pcTseculor into an apostle and saint '

Seven t h ce 111 r y ^ 11 gr i ms arriving at lours to visit the sh rine of Saint Martin (as rebuilt at the lurti of that r-in ht> by Gregory of" To aril were likew ist able to see w all paintings that depicted some of Marl in1 s miracles elaborated hy poetic captions written by Fortunatus.JJ We maj assume th.it ,1 formal ptinr.air of Saint Martin, perhaps 1 ikl- rh^1 ..t-.n- in Sever us? baptistery at Primulacum, also appeared at the site. \1 ,l(>iui1 that same time, Gregory the Great, in Iun famous defense of images in churches, admonished another Gallican bishop, Serenus of Marseilles, for destroying pictures oji the walls, since such things were useful for instructing the unlearned and inspiring 1 hem to imitate 1 In1 courage and fortitude o I bo ill biblical hen ics and Ch ristiart i o tL-.

Without any doubt, these visual m arty ro logics had their own pagan parallels in the first- and second-century wall paintings that showed mythological scenes of heroic suffering and death, such as the punishment of Dirce, the sacrifice of lphigenia, or the flaying of Marsyas (fig. 92). As noted above, Asteiius of Aniaseia mentions having seen powerful images of Medea (probably copies of a first-century original) and compares them with representations of the martyr Euphemia. The close relationship between story and image was, in this case* far older than this Christian tradition and provided a still-recognized prototype for the figurative cycles of the Christian saints. As we have noted, in time the emphasis shifts away from narrative types, and the portrait becomes more prominent, with the saint's face rather than the saint's deeds as the focus of devotion. Thus imago begins to replace historia in Christian art, insofar as it invites veneration and prayer.

The narrative images do not disappear, but even as they continue to visually recount the stories of Christian heroes, their function is clearly different from the portraits, and their power more latent than active. The face, much [ike the relic of the saint or even thesainfs name, is the point of attachment between devotee and object of devotion* while the Story is necessary background to that point of contact. John Chrysos-tom, ut his homily praising the sainted Bishop Meletius, comments on the importance of the holy person's physical appearance on small domestic items (rings, bowls, etc.) in the formation of personal piety and inspiring his flock. Also important* however, was the fact that many of their children bore Meletius's name, which gave them a "double consolation" after the saint's demise.25

But just as the tradition of honoring and even venerating saints by means of their portraits was being established, it was also being criticized (additional evidence that it was actually occurring). We have noted earlier that Fpipharius of Salamis condemns the making of images of the saints, which he says were meant as a memorial and even worshiped in their [the saints'] honor. In his criticism, however, he gives some information about the practices he abhors. For instance* he claims that some of his readers "dared to plaster walls inside the house of God and by means of different colors represented pictures of Peter and John and Paul, as I see by the inscription of each of these false images," Here, he may be referring to the practice of inscribing the names of the saints over their images. And then he adds: "lBut, you will say, we contemplate their images so as to be reminded of their appearance"36 In response to what seems to him a useless claim, he reiterates the traditional argument that paintings of external appearances from life are dead and speechless, while the saints themselves, although now dead, are still living, conformed to the image of God and adorned with glory—like the angels. Like Lycomedes1 John, he scolds those who would venerate a dead likeness of what is dead.

Fig 92. Marsyas I st or 2nd cen. c:.!:, found n Rome, jQuvre Museum, Paris {Photo; Author)

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