Translating the Sacred: Piety, Politics and the Changing Image of the Holy House of Loreto
The Holy House of Loreto is steeped in centuries of pious legend and sacred ritual. Its identification as the house of the Virgin, and site of the Annunciation, makes it unique to the Catholic tradition as a spatial relic where earthly and celestial domains converge. Legend describes the relic's translation in the geographic sense, but the house also underwent a theoretical translation in the early modem period. While late-medieval iconography of the Holy House privileges its connection to local religious identity, later imagery reflects Papal appropriation of the site's jurisdiction. Through an ambitious building and artistic campaign, including the talents ofLuca Signorelli and Donato Bramante, among others, Rome amplified the universality and renown ofthe site, stamping it as specifically Roman. Finally, pilgrimage souvenirs and architectural replicas ofthe house spread the cult of Loreto throughout Europe, making it a truly international symbol of Christianity.