St. Vigilius

the third bishop of Trento and patron of the diocese

Ecstasy of Saint Vigilius (1673/1673) by Giuseppe AlbertiMuseo Diocesano Tridentino

St. Vigilius, the third bishop of Trento and patron of the diocese, was appointed by the city's Christian community around 381.

Saint Vigilius introduces cardinal Bernardo Cles to Our Lady with Child Jesus (1614/1620) by Martin Teophil PolakMuseo Diocesano Tridentino

His figure is developed through an interweaving of biographical and legendary data. He was a Roman citizen, he trained in Athens and then moved to Trentino.

Coronation of Our Lady with Saints Coronation of Our Lady with Saints (1583/1583) by Paolo NaurizioMuseo Diocesano Tridentino

St. Vigilius was commissioned by St. Ambrose to take charge of the Christianization of the region. Alexander, Martyrius and Sisinius, known as the martyrs of Anaunia with whom he is often depicted, also collaborated in this endeavor.

Ecstasy of Saint Vigilius (1673/1673) by Giuseppe AlbertiMuseo Diocesano Tridentino

According to tradition, Vigilius was very diligent in combating idolatry, which allegedly caused his martyrdom in 405: the saint,  after celebrating a mass in Val Rendena, threw the statue of Saturn into the Sarca River...

...unleashing the wrath of the pagans who killed him using wooden clogs, with which he is often depicted.

In the background of the canvas by Giuseppe Alberti, the most important artist of the late 17th century in Trentino, the legendary  martyrdom of the saint can be seen.

Saint Vigilius (Before 1673) by Cornelis van der BeckMuseo Diocesano Tridentino

The iconography of the saint is characterized by the attribute of the clog and the bishop's insignia, namely the mitre or miter and the pastoral staff.

Saint Massenza (Before 1673) by Cornelis van der BeckMuseo Diocesano Tridentino

The two monumental statues of St. Vigilius and St. Maxentius are the work of Flemish sculptor Cornelis van der Beck. Beginning in the 13th century, St. Maxentius was mistakenly identified with Vigilius' mother and has been associated with his figure in iconography ever since.

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