Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4332
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Heller , Ena Giurescu.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Access to Salvation: The Place (and Space) of Women Patrons in Fourteenth-century Florence [The author provides a case study of Monna Andrea Acciaiuoli's patronage of her husband's family chapel in Santa Maria Novella. She commissioned the glass windows and the altarpiece. Heller raises the question of whether Monna Andrea and other female patrons had access to these family chapels beyond the rood screen. Title note supplied by Feminae.].
  • Source: Women's Space: Patronage, Place, and Gender in the Medieval Church.  Edited by Virginia Chieffo Raguin and Sarah Stanbury.  State University of New York Press, 2005.  Pages 161 - 183.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Essay
  • Subject (See Also): Acciaiuoli, Andrea, Widow of Mainardo Cavalcanti Burials Chapels Commemoration Dominican Order Ecclesiastical Space Florence- Church of Santa Maria Novella Patronage, Artistic Patronage, Ecclesiastical Widows
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 14- 15
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  • Illustrations: Five figures. Figure One Photograph of the facade of Santa Maria Novella, Florence. Figure Two Plan of Santa Maria Novella, Florence in the fourteenth century. Figure Three Photograph of the interior view of the sacristy of Santa Maria Novella, Florence. Figure Four Giovanni del Biondo, "Anunciation and Saints," tempera on panel, ca. 1385 (Florence, Accademia). Figure Five Fresco, Italian School, "Apparition of St. Michael," detail, 1330s (Florence, Santa Croce, Velluti Chapel).
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  • Abstract: Ena Giurescu Heller's chapter, like French's, is also the result of exhaustive archival research. examining data from the time of the building construction of Santa Maria Novella in Florence as well as records of subsequent historians. Noting, as does Corine Schleif in her earlier work on patronage in Nuremberg, that it was obligatory for the laity to engage in largess directed toward religious edifices, Heller, "Access to Salvation: The Place (and Space) of Women Patrons in Fourteenth-century Florence," also shows how the record of that largess has been skewed through later assumptions about gendered practices of donors and patrons. Although she makes little explicit reference to theoretical work on space, Heller demonstrates that the habitus can elucidate practices of patronage in fourteenth-century Florence as well as later paradigms for reading the historical records, which would take as axiomatic that important gifts are preforce male. In the early records of Santa Maria Novella, Heller has discovered significant documentation of female presence in civic and religious spheres. However, visible public markers and later historical records - from the seventeenth century to the present - have systematically overlooked the role played by women, such as Monna Andrea Acciaiuoli, widow of Mainardo Cavalcanti, who was the effective patron in the building of a new sacristy in the Church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence. Most documents mention only the founders of chapels or monuments and rarely mention the contributions of widows who went on to execute the legacy after the founders' death; and even where the contribution is documented, public acknowledgement of the gift, both contemporary and later, invariably highlights male patronage. The evidence Heller has assembled, dramatizing the importance of reexamining historical documents, offers a compelling case study of ways that historical records have significantly misrepresented women's gifts and women's lives.[Sarah Stanbury and Virginia Chieffo Raguin, "Introduction" Women's Space: Patronage, Place, and Gender in the Medieval Church, p. 15] [Reproduced by permission of State University of New York Press].
  • Author's Affiliation: Museum of Biblical Art, New York City
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2005.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 0791463656
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