Pub. Date:
Cambridge University Press
Art and Piety in the Female Religious Communities of Renaissance Italy: Iconography, Space and the Religious Woman's Perspective

Art and Piety in the Female Religious Communities of Renaissance Italy: Iconography, Space and the Religious Woman's Perspective

by Anabel Thomas


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Art and Piety in the Female Religious Communitites of Renaissance Italy is the first systematic study of the function, character, and commissions of art created and used in conventual communities. Anabel Thomas challenges the received assumptions about art works in religious establishments populated by women, among them, that such communities contained few works of art; that these works did not have gender-specific qualities; and that religious women played no role in commissioning such imagery or in influencing its design and purpose. Through case studies, she establishes that in fact artistic imagery did figure prominently in conventual communities and she also identifies its various institutional roles. Based on archival findings that are published here for the first time, Thomas' groundbreaking study contributes to a growing literature that reexamines the role and influence of gender on religious imagery in the early modern period.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521811880
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 05/01/2003
Pages: 430
Product dimensions: 8.46(w) x 10.98(h) x 1.26(d)

Table of Contents

Part I. The Social Function of the Institution: 1. Partial and impartial evidence; 2. Female religious communities characterized; 3. Issues of gender: an Augustinian view; Part II. The Spatial Dimension: 4. The architectural development of the conventual complex; 5. Plans - distinctions drawn in space; 6. Inventories and conventual chronicles - art recorded in space; 7. Visual distinctions and the demarcation of space; Part III. Art and Space: 8. Distinctive imagery in the private and public sphere; 9. Franciscan tertiaries (i); 10. Franciscan tertiaries (ii); 11. Tracking change in conventual imagery: images relocated and altered; 12. Re-assessment of conventual imagery: role of suppression documents; Part IV: 13. The politics of display; 14. A Dominican angle: San Domenico del Maglio in Florence; 15. Varying degrees of emphasis on titular saints; 16. The nature of gaze; 17. Hierarchies within the establishment: San Niccolò in Prato; 18. The resonance of time and experience: varying patterns of behaviour; 19. Communication; Part V. Perspectives on Conventual Patronage: 20. Commissioning bodies: insiders, outsiders and less familiar asides; 21. Frameworks of association.

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