Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 4906
  • Author(s)/Creator(s):
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  • Title: Viewing and Commissioning Pietro Lorenzetti's Saint Humility Polyptych
  • Source: Journal of Medieval History 26, 3 (September 2000): Pages 269 - 300.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Abbesses in Art Art History- Painting Clare of Assisi, Saint in Art Florence- Church of San Giovanni Evangelista- Humility Polyptych Hagiography Iconography Lorenzetti, Pietro, Painter- Humility Polyptych Miracles Umilta of Faenza, Mystic and Saint Women
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 13- 14
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  • Illustrations: Twenty-two figures. Figure One Diagram of the Saint Humility Polyptych (based on the reconstruction given by Boskovits, "Frühe Italienische Malerei, 320). Figure Two The Santa Chiara Dossal (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Figure Three Bishop Guido of Assisi offers Clare a palm on Palm Sunday, detail of the Santa Chiara Dossal (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Figure Four Saints Clare and Francis, detail of the Santa Chiara Dossal (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Figure Five The Funeral of Saint Clare, detail of the Santa Chiara Dossal (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Figure Six Humility (Rosanese Negusanti) persuades her husband, (Ugolotto del Caccianemici) to allow a separation so that she can lead a religious life, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Seven Humility watches her husband take the religious habit, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Eight Humility reads to the nuns in the convent of Santa Perpetua despite being illiterate, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Nine Humility miraculously leaves the convent of Santa Perpetua crosses the river Lamone with dry feet, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Ten A monk refuses to have his gangrenous leg amputated, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Eleven Humility heals the monk with the gangrenous leg, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Twelve Humility leaves Faenza and arrives at the gates of Florence, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Thirteen Humility resuscitates a dead child, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Fourteen Humility helps to build the church and convent of San Giovanni Evangelista, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Fifteen Humility dictates her sermons, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Sixteen Humility cures a nun of a haemorrhage, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz Gemäldegalerie). Figure Seventeen The miraculous discovery of ice in August, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Preussischer Kulturbesitz Gemäldegalerie). Figure Eighteen The translation of the body of Humility on 6 June 1311, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Nineteen The multiplication of the bread, detail from the Santa Chiara Dossal (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Figure Twenty Humility with kneeling donor, detail of the Humility Polyptych (Florence, Uffizi). Figure Twenty-one Benedetta Crucifix, (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Figure Twenty-two, detail of the Benedetta Crucifix.
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  • Abstract: The early fourteenth-century polyptych representing the life of Humility of Faenza (Florence, Uffizi, and Berlin, Gemäldegalerie), and ascribed to Pietro Lorenzetti, places its subject within the medieval tradition of strong, independent abbesses. This characterisation of sanctity is dramatically different from that shown on the earlier (1281- 1285) "Santa Chiara Dossal" (Assisi, Santa Chiara) where Saint Clare is set up as an example of a new type of female saint typified by her obedience to the male ecclesiastical hierarchy. The article examines the reasons for the iconographic choices made in the Humility Polyptych using, in the first section, the evidence of the polyptych itself and, in the second section, evidence concerning its location. The emphasis on the way in which Humility circumvents the constraints placed on her because of her sex and on her thaumaturgical powers indicates a strong relationship between iconography, commissioner, location and audience. [Reprinted from Journal of Medieval History (at http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jmedhist), Volume 26, Cordelia Warr, "Viewing and commissioning Pietro Lorenzetti's Saint Humility Polyptych," p. 269. Copyright 2000, with permission from Elsevier Science. See also the ScienceDirectTM Homepage at http://www.sciencedirect.com].
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  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2000.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 03044181
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