Reliquary Bust of St. Anastasia
Matteo Civitali. workshop of
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This reliquary bust, currently housed in the museum of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, depicts St. Anastasia, as made clear by the inscription inside the glass vitrine embedded in her dress, which also contains a relic of the saint. The way in which her cloak is parted, like a curtain, adds drama to the presentation of the relic and recalls the ways in which relics were displayed on feast days or other particularly festive or dire occasions. St. Anastasia was an early Christian martyr from Sirmium (modern Serbia), who was particularly venerated in Rome, because her father was thought to have been a prominent Roman citizen. Along with the piece of bodily remains of the saint, she is also made seem present in the living flesh in this portrait, which is idealized according to the standards of the time -- pale flesh with a blush, rosebud lips, high thin perfectly arched brows, a very high forehead, a columnar neck, etc. The almost geometric idealization of the forms (egg on a cylinder) and the particular expression of female beauty here show this to be a work of the late fifteenth century from the workshop of Matteo Civitali. Photograph(s) licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.