In 1428, a devastating fire destroyed a schoolhouse in the northern Italian city of Forli, leaving only a woodcut of the Madonna and Child that had been tacked to the classroom wall. The people of Forli carried that print - now known as the Madonna of the Fire - into their cathedral, where two centuries later a new chapel was built to enshrine it. In this book, Lisa Pon considers a cascade of moments in the Madonna of the Fire's cultural biography: when ink was impressed onto paper at a now-unknown date; when that sheet was recognized by Forli's people as miraculous; when it was enshrined in various tabernacles and chapels in the cathedral; when it or one of its copies was - and still is - carried in procession. In doing so, Pon offers an experiment in art historical inquiry that spans more than three centuries of making, remaking, and renewal.
Lisa Pon is an associate professor in the Department of Art History at Southern Methodist University's Meadows School of the Arts, where she teaches the history of early modern European art, architecture, and visual culture. She has received research grants or fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, the Center for the Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, the Getty Research Institute, and the Warburg Institute. She has published numerous articles in international academic journals and is author of Raphael, Durer, and Marcantonio Raimondi (2004) and coeditor of The Books of Venice/Il Libro Veneziano (2008, with Craig Kallendorf).
Part I. Thing: 1. Iconography: Madonna and child; 2. Imprint: paper, print, and matrix; Part II. Emplacement: 3. Miracle: the fire of February 4, 1428; 4. Domestic display: Lombardino da Ripetrosa's schoolhouse; 5. Ecclesiastical enshrinement: the cathedral of Forli; Part III. Mobilities: 6. Moving in the city: the translation of 1636; 7. Mobile in print: the procession on paper; 8. Multiplied: the Madonna of the Fire in Forli and beyond.