|Place||Prague, Institute of Art History, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Husova 4, CZECH REPUBLIC|
|Organizer||Institute of Art History, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic|
Lecture date: 22 June 2016
In 1355, as recent studies have pointed out, Emperor Charles IV of Bohemia managed to obtain a portion of an important relic which, in his intention, was to suit his will of reconfiguring the holy topography of his capital, Prague, after the model of Rome. Yet, this relic did not originate in the eternal city, yet rather in a much less famous shrine, the church of San Piero a Grado located on the coastal outskirts of Pisa: the relic, which was used to lay emphasis on the church of Saint Peter in the Vyšehrad as the most important worship-site for the apostle in Prague, was a piece of the marble table which was said to belong to an altar erected by Saint Peter on the very site where he had landed on Italian soil and to be imbued with blood poured by Pope Clement I during the consecration ceremony.
The conference deals with the history of this odd shrine and the making of its legend in the wider frame of Medieval narratives about the first consecrated altars in Christian history. Claims to the antiquity of altar consecrations were first laid by the Lateran church of the Holy Saviour and Our Lady of Aracoeli in Rome and were meant to corroborate the dignity and power of the ecclesiastical institutions associated to them. From the 11th century onward, a dispute arose about such questions and involved a number of different churches: their claims, and the visual and artistic strategies they worked out to support them, will be investigated in this paper.