Pallium of St. Lawrence

Pallium of St. Lawrence

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Author/ School/ Dating:

Textile workshop of the Byzantine court of Nicaea

Technique and Dimensions:

Silk shawl embroidered with colored silk threads, threads covered with silver foil and gilded silver foil, 378.5 x 132.3 cm


Painting section, large format room (currently at the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence for restoration) (inv. no. PB 2073)


Cathedral of San Lorenzo, Genoa

Object Type:



Genoa’s desire for revenge after having been defeated and driven out of Acri in 1258 by its Venetian and Pisan rivals, and the Byzantine Emperor’s goal to regain the capital lost during the IV crusade, in 1204, combined on 13th March 1261 in the form of the Treaty of Nymphaeum, guaranteeing the support of the Genoese fleet to Emperor Michael VIII Palaiologos in the reconquest of Constantinople and granting, to the Genoese, great commercial advantages in the imperial territory. To seal the agreement, Michael VIII gave the Genoese two pieces of fabric: one that reproduced his own image, and of which all traces are lost, and one consisting of the magnificent Pallium of St. Lawrence (1261), which narrates, in a stylistic language already in the style of the so-called "Paleologian Renaissance", the story and martyrs of three western saints, Lawrence, Sisto and Ippolito, including in the centre of the imposing silk cloth (approx. 377 x 132 cm) an iconic image representing the Emperor himself who, accompanied by St. Lawrence and the archangel Michael is depicted as entering the Genoese cathedral, dedicated, of course, to St. Lawrence.