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Members' Research Report Archive

The Visual Politics of Constantinian Imagery in the Early Modern Period

Silvia Tita, Research Associate, 2016 – 2017


Francesco Aquila after Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Statue of Constantine, 1704 – 1722, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of David H. McDonnell

This project deals with legal aspects of Constantinian imagery in the early modern period. Although the focus of my study lies in visual representation of the Donation of Constantine, the fascinating eighth-century forgery that retroactively claimed temporal power extending back to the time of Emperor Constantine (306 – 337), visual material pertaining to the founding rights of the first Christian emperor is equally under scrutiny. Constantinian images were pertinent and of interest not only to the papacy but also to its political counterparts. I have been able to identify new visual sources related to the subject, which I will present at an upcoming conference.