Religious Poverty, Visual Riches
Art in the Dominican Churches of Central Italy in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries
The Dominican friars of late-medieval Italy were committed to a life of poverty, yet their churches contained many visual riches, as this groundbreaking study reveals. Works by supreme practitioners—Cimabue, Duccio, Giotto, and Simone Martini—are examined here in a wider Dominican context. The contents of major foundations—Siena, Pisa, Perugia, and Santa Maria Novella in Florence—are studied alongside less well-known centers. For the first time, these frescoes and panel paintings are brought together with illuminated choir books, carved crucifixes, goldsmith's work, tombs, and stained glass. At the heart of the book is the Dominicans' evolving relationship with the laity, expressed at first by the partitioning of their churches, and subsequently by the sharing of space, and the production and use of art. Joanna Cannon's magisterial study is informed by extensive new research, using chronicles, legislation, liturgy, sermons, and other sources to explore the place of art in the lives of the friars and the urban laity of Central Italy.
“This volume arrives with the mien of a magnum opus, prepared over many years.”—Alexander Murray, Times Literary Supplement
“[Cannon’s] careful consideration of a wealth of visual and documentary sources sheds new light on the Dominican contribution to the visual riches of the period. . . . An essential study of the art of the early Renaissance, one that is at once timely and promises to stand the test of time.”—Holly Flora, Renaissance Quarterly
“Cannon’s work is rich in its bibliography, generous in its reproductions, and masterly in its synthesis. . . . The achievement of a life’s work.”—Sacred Architecture Journal