Alexandre le Grand ou le faux Frédéric II de Hohenstaufen dans les peintures murales du palais abbatial de San Zeno, à Vérone

Abstract : The Author assesses two hypotheses concerning the mural paintings of the San Zeno abbey tower in Verona. F. Zuliani followed the previous hypothesis of G. Gerola and considered that the paintings represent the German emperor Frederick ii sitting on his throne in Jerusalem in 1229, and receiving the homage of the peoples of the Earth. G. P. Marchi has nonetheless interpreted the same scene as the biblical king Solomon receiving the visit of the Queen of Sheba. The A. believes that both hypotheses are partially right: the frescoes do indeed have something in common with the German emperor, as proven by the presence of a golden coat of arms bearing the black imperial eagle in the North-Western corner of the room; but they are also inspired by a biblical storyline. While analyzing the attributes of the groups of worshippers forming the procession in the paintings, he noted that they could be identified as Persians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, Scythians, Chaldeans, horned men, Pygmies, and two other unidentifiable groups. This gathering of peoples corresponds to that presented in the legend of Alexander the Great, and the scene should be interpreted as the Macedonian’s passage through Babylon such as narrated in the Bible, at the beginning of the first Book of the Maccabees (1 Maccabees 1 : 1-6). The A. implies that the paintings were intended for Frederick ii. They were supposed to remind him that all earthly glory is short-lived. The Wheel of Fortune painted on the Western wall of the same hall supports this interpretation. The implication of the murals is clear: they hinted that the German emperor’s first preoccupation should have been that of saving his soul.
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Vladimir Agrigoroaei. Alexandre le Grand ou le faux Frédéric II de Hohenstaufen dans les peintures murales du palais abbatial de San Zeno, à Vérone. Medioevi Rivista di letterature e culture medievali, Edizioni Fiorini Verona, 2016, pp.31-70. ⟨http://www.medioevi.it/index.php/medioevi/article/view/33⟩. ⟨halshs-02057670⟩

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