2013 Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, San Diego
IAS-Sponsored Session

Situating Patterns of Patronage in the Italian Renaissance City

Sheraton Marina Tower, Lower Level – Nautilus 2
Saturday, April 6, 2013, 10:30am-12:30pm

Organizers: Anne Leader, Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta, and Saundra Weddle, Drury University

Chair: Sally Cornelison, University of Kansas, Lawrence


Anne Leader, Savannah College of Art and Design-Atlanta
“Santa Croce as Communal Burial Ground”

The church of Santa Croce in Florence has long been recognized as an important commemorative site. While many of those buried and honored within the Franciscan convent lived and died in the neighborhood, a large number of tombs at the church belonged to Florentines from other quartieri. Moreover, all who chose interment with the Franciscans were consequently rejecting their home parishes, the traditional locale of burial and commemoration, raising questions about competition between the city’s neighborhood and monastic churches. This paper explores the demography of death and remembrance at Santa Croce during the Florentine Republic to discern patterns of tomb patronage and their relationship to social networks among the living.

Douglas Dow, Kansas State University
"Confraternal Emblems in the Florentine Cityscape"

Unlike their counterparts in Venice and Rome, Florentine confraternal oratories were relatively unobtrusive additions to the cityscape, and the eighteenth-century suppression of the lay companies further eroded their architectural presence. The oratory was not the only locus of confraternal identity, however, and many companies maintained tombs in major churches and real estate holdings throughout the city. These properties were frequently marked with the emblem of the organization, thereby projecting the identity of the group beyond the walls of its seat. This paper examines a few extant examples and explores how these markers established a wider urban presence for the confraternity.

Saundra Weddle, Drury University
“Venetian Convents and the Significance of Place”

While neighborhood identities and alliances played important roles in Renaissance Florentine society, politics, and culture, their influence was less coherent and consistent in Venice. There, expressions of identity and alliance extended broadly across the cityscape, and were manifested in multiple dimensions. This paper considers both the urban patterns and discrete locations of Venetian convents and their principal benefactors as one means of exploring the dynamics of patronage.  Examining the variables of site, time, and monastic order, mapping will be used to inform a study of the ways in which women’s monastic institutions shaped Venetian urban fabric and spatial practices.

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