Friday, April 24, 2015

The Devil on the Corner

Devil or satyr by Giambologna, Palazzo Vecchietti, Via de' Vecchietti, Via degli Strozzi, Florence
Devil (or satyr) by Giambologna (copy), Palazzo Vecchietti
Via de' Vecchietti / Via degli Strozzi
Florence, April 2015

“One day in the year 1245, St. Peter Martyr, as he usually did, was preaching against the heretics in the Old Market Square (Piazza della Repubblica) in Florence. The crowd that had gathered to hear him were so great in number they filled the square; the crowd overflowed into the Piazza delle Cipolle (Piazza Strozzi). Suddenly the Devil, taking the form of a black horse, wanted to frighten and disperse the crowd engrossed in listening to the saint. The horse began to run like crazy in the market, trampling everything in its path. The crowd began to disperse, and people started running in hopes of saving themselves. St. Peter Martyr saw the situation, raised his arm, and made ??the sign of the cross with his hand, in the direction of the runaway horse. The horse stopped immediately. The faithful began to return to the saint to express their gratitude, and someone realized that the horse was gone. Some centuries later, in 1578, in the memory of that event, Giambologna modeled the statue of the little devil as thanks to Bernardo Vecchietti, who had been his protector and patron. The little devil was placed in the exact location where the horse first appeared and finally disappeared: one of St. Peter Martyr’s many miracles. Even today, the devil is there in Via Vecchietti, and has an appearance similar to a horse.”
(The Giambologna Devil, Florence Inferno)

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