January 10, 2015 – 10:30 am

SYMPOSIUM: Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy

  • Symposium Introduction. Presented by Dr. Susan Edwards, Frist Center Executive Director, and Trinita Kenndey, Frist Center Curator

  • The Abbey Bible: An Early Mendicant Moment Captured. Presented by Dr. Christine Sciacca, Assistant Curator, Manuscripts Department, The J. Paul Getty Museum

  • Pray for Us: Tomb Patronage in Mendicant Churches. Presented by Anne Leader, Webmaster and Blog Editor, Italian Art Society

  • Fragmentary Lives: Narrative Scenes from Renaissance Altarpieces in Sanctity Pictured. Presented by Donal Cooper, University Lecturer in Italian Renaissance Art and Fellow of Jesus College, University of Cambridge

  • Fashioning Female Sanctity: The Significance of Clothing in Giovanni di Paolo’s Catherine of
    Siena Predella (ca. 1460). Presented by Holly Flora, Associate Professor, History of Art, Tulane University

Frist Center Auditorium
10:30 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
$40 non-members; $30 members; $20 students and university faculty. Registration fee includes gallery admission and a boxed lunch.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER.


The Frist Center will hold a public symposium to coincide with the major exhibition Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy. The all-day event will bring together art historians from America and Europe whose research focuses on the role of the Dominicans and Franciscans in the great flowering of art and architecture in Italy during the period 1200 to 1550.


Symposium Program:

9:30 a.m.       Registration

10:30 a.m.     Director’s Welcome
                      Susan H. Edwards, Executive Director and CEO, Frist Center for the Visual Arts

10:35 a.m.      Introduction
                      Trinita Kennedy, Curator, Frist Center for the Visual Arts

11:15 a.m.     The Abbey Bible: An Early Mendicant Moment Captured
                      Christine Sciacca, Assistant Curator, Manuscripts Department, The J. Paul Getty Museum

12:00 p.m.      Lunch and Self-Guided Tour of the Exhibition

1:30 p.m.       Pray for Us: Tomb Patronage in Mendicant Churches
                      Anne Leader, Webmaster and Blog Editor, Italian Art Society

2:15 p.m.        Fragmentary Lives: Narrative Scenes from Renaissance Altarpieces in Sanctity Pictured
                       Donal Cooper, University Lecturer in Italian Renaissance Art and Fellow of Jesus College,
                       University of Cambridge

3:15 p.m.        Fashioning Female Sanctity: The Significance of Clothing in Giovanni di Paolo’s Catherine of
                       Siena Predella (ca. 1460)
                       Holly Flora, Associate Professor, History of Art, Tulane University

 

Sanctity Pictured Symposium Abstracts

The Abbey Bible: An Early Mendicant Moment Captured
Dr. Christine Sciacca, The J. Paul Getty Museum
The site of the first university in Italy and the foundation of the Dominican Order, Bologna and its scriptoria supplied texts to both the academic and preaching communities throughout central Italy. A resplendent product of this context is the Abbey Bible, one of the most remarkable illuminated books of scripture produced in Bologna in the late thirteenth century and on view in Sanctity Pictured. The manuscript’s initials and margins teem with biblical narratives and playful vignettes, including portraits of Dominican friars, sometimes side-by-side with Franciscans. The pages of the book offer insights into the types of texts and images desired by these communities and reveal the kinship between the two orders at this early moment in their histories as they pursued the mendicant life.


Pray for Us: Tomb Patronage in Mendicant Churches
Dr. Anne Leader, Webmaster and Blog Editor, Italian Art Society
Prayer was a key feature of Dominican and Franciscan life, and many laypeople believed that mendicant prayer was the most efficacious. Over the course of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, donations of all kinds poured into Dominican and Franciscan communities as a means of requesting prayers for the living and the dead. In addition to funding altarpieces, fresco programs, stained glass windows, and church furnishings, thousands of Italians requested burial in mendicant houses during the Renaissance with graves decorated with stone slabs and other markers. While it is often claimed that Franciscans appealed more to the working classes and Dominicans conversely to the merchant class, tomb patronage demonstrates that elites sought their final rest with both orders. A comparison of the tomb patronage at Florence’s Franciscan Santa Croce and Dominican Santa Maria Novella raises interesting questions about the social profile of those who chose to await the Final Judgment in the care of the mendicants.


Fragmentary Lives: Narrative Scenes from Renaissance Altarpieces in Sanctity Pictured
Dr. Donal Cooper, University of Cambridge

Sanctity Pictured brings together narrative scenes from some of the most important altarpieces commissioned by Franciscan and Dominican patrons in fifteenth-century Italy. In several cases, we can confidently reconstruct the altarpiece ensembles from which panels displayed in Nashville originate, reuniting these fragments (at least virtually) with companion pictures in other collections. For others, we are less certain and need to weigh competing hypotheses. This lecture focuses on the works in the exhibition by Spinello Aretino, Taddeo di Bartolo, Sassetta, Bartolomeo da Foligno, and the degli Erri brothers. It analyzes their narrative content in the light of the larger altarpieces of which they formed a part and considers the broader role of narrative in mendicant altarpiece design during the Renaissance.

Fashioning Female Sanctity: The Significance of Clothing in Giovanni di Paolo’s Catherine of Siena Predella (ca. 1460)
Dr. Holly Flora, Tulane University

Giovanni di Paolo (ca. 1399–1482) painted at least ten scenes from Catherine of Siena’s vita for a lost altarpiece possibly intended for the Hospital of Santa Maria della Scala in Siena. Two of the surviving panels, Saint Catherine Invested with the Dominican Habit and Saint Catherine and the Beggar, both of which are on view in the exhibition, depict episodes in which clothing is fundamental to the portrayal of Catherine’s sanctity. This lecture argues that these episodes contribute to the series’ overall characterization of Catherine as an ideal Dominican and an exemplary visionary. Further, my study situates Giovanni’s emphasis on Catherine and clothing in the context of the traditional emphasis on dress in female hagiography.

 

Sanctity Pictured is organized by Frist Center Curator Trinita Kennedy and is on view in the Upper-Level Galleries from October 31, 2014, through January 25, 2015.

 

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