Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4633
  • Author(s)/Creator(s):
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  • Title: An Abbess and a Painter: Emilia Pannocchieschi d'Elci and a Fresco From the Circle of Simone Martini
  • Source: Renaissance studies : journal of the Society for Renaissance Studies 14, 3 (September 2000): Pages 273 - 300.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Abbesses Art History- Painting Augustinian Order Monasticism Noble Women Pannocchieschi d'Elci, Emilia dei, Abbess Patronage, Artistic Patronage, Ecclesiastical Siena, Siena, Italy- Church of Santa Marta- Nuns' Choir- Fresco Paintings- Funeral of Saint Ma
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 14
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  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations: Twelve figures. Figure One Attributed to Domenico Manetti, Emilia dei Pannocchieschi d'Elci Presenting the Convent of Santa Marta to the Bishop of Siena (Siena, Palazzo Pubblico, Sala del Sindaco). Figure Two The Funeral of Saint Martha (Siena, Santa Marta, nuns' choir). Figure Three An Allegory of Death (Siena, Santa Marta, nuns' choir). Figure Four The Martyrdom of Saint James Intercisus (Siena, Santa Marta, nuns' choir). Figure Five Saint Augustine Giving the Rule (Siena, Santa Marta, nuns' choir). Figure Six Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata and a Bishop Saint Writing (Siena, Santa Marta, nuns' choir). Figure Seven Lippo Memmi, The Maestà (San Gimignano, Palazzo Comunale, Sala del Consiglio). Figure Eight Detail of Lippo Memmi, The Maestà, Nello di Mino dei Tolomei, Saints and Angels. Figure Nine Attributed to Simone Martini, The Blessed Agostino Novello and Scenes of His Miracles (Siena, Pinacoteca). Figure Ten Attributed to Bartolommeo Bulgarini, The Nativity and Adoration of the Shepherds (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Museums). Figure Eleven Saint Victor (Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst). Figure Twelve Saint Corona (Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst).
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  • Abstract: A recent campaign of restoration in the nuns' choir of the disused conventual church of Santa Marta, Siena, has revealed the remains of a series of fourteenth-century fresco paintings. Of these, the stylistic idiom of "The Death of Saint Martha" is hightly suggestive of a painter familiar with the work of Simone Martini. No historical record of the commissioning of this painting survives, but the original foundation documents identify the founder and first abbess of the convent as Emilia Pannocchieschi d'Elci. They also reveal how, as a member of a prominent noble family, she secured the powerful support of Donusdeo dei Malavolti, bishop of Siena. Other sources indicate that her branch of the family was closely related, by marriage, to the prominent Sienese family of the Tolomei, long recognized as patrons of Simone Martini and his circle. In addition, the paintings of "Saint Victor" and "Saint Corona," attributed to an associate of Simone Martini and from the mid-fourtheeth-century altarpiece for the altar of Saint Victor in the catheral of Siena, bear a striking stylistic resemblance to "The Funeral of Saint Martha." Since the patronage of the altar of Saint Victor belonged to Emilia's powerful ecclesiastical mentor, Bishop Donusdeo dei Malavolti, these paintings provide further circumstantial evidence that Emilia Pannoccieschi d'Elci was hightly influential in the commissioning of the earliest surviving fresco for her conventual church. [Reproduced by permission of the Society for Renaissance Studies and Oxford University Press.].
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  • Year of Publication: 2000.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 02691213
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