Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 6868
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Wood , Jeryldene.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Perceptions of Holiness in Thirteenth-Century Italian Painting: Claire of Assisi [The author describes the thirteenth-century historiated dossals (Italian panel paintings that were hung in front of or behind an altar) of Saint Francis and Saint Clare in the church of Santa Chiara in Assisi, Italy. The author argues that the papal codification of sainthood through canonization during the thirteenth century and the hagiographical writings of Thomas of Celano influenced the visual representations of Francis and Clare. The Santa Chiara Dossal at Assisi was the first thirteenth-century painting dedicated to a female monastic; its depiction of Clare as an active and determined woman stands in marked contrast to images of humble and submissive brides of Christ. Title note supplied by Feminae].
  • Source: Art History 14, 3 (September 1991): Pages 301 - 322.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Art History- Painting Assisi, Perugia, Italy- Church of Santa Chiara- Dossal Painting of Saint Clare of Assisi Canonization of Saints Clare of Assisi, Saint in Art Francis of Assisi, Saint in Art Franciscan Order Hagiography Monasticism Poor Clares Order
  • Geographic Area: Italy
  • Century: 13
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence: Painting; Assisi, Church of Santa Chiara, dossal painting of Saint Clare of Assisi, dated to the 1280s.
  • Illustrations: Nine Figures. Figure One Santa Chiara Master, "Santa Chiara Dossal," 1280s (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Painting depicts Saint Clare of Assisi dressed in the plain habit of the order she founded; she is represented as the traditional bride of Christ with other female monastics. The painting also features eight episodes from the life of Clare, taken from the "Legenda Sanctae Clarae" by Thomas of Celano: Clare’s conversion, Clare’s secret flight to joins the friars, Clare’s investiture, Clare’s refusal to return to her family, Clare’s sister Agnes professing her vows, Clare’s miracles, and Clare’s obsequies. Figure Two Bonaventura Berlinghieri, "Saint Francis Dossal," 1235 (Pescia, San Francisco). Painting portrays Saint Francis of Assisi displaying his stigmata. It also depicts six events in his life as narrated in the "Legenda Sancti Francisci" by Thomas of Celano: among them Francis receiving the stigmata, Francis preaching to the birds, Francis curing local inhabitants and Francis exorcising demons. Figure Three Anonymous, "Bardi Saint Francis Dossal," 1250s (Florence, Santa Croce). Francis points with his foot to a depiction of himself receiving the stigmata; the painting also depicts twenty episodes in his life. Figure Four Magdalen Master, "Magdalen Dossal," 13th century (Florence, Galleria della Accademia, n. 8466). Painting depicts episodes in the life of Mary Magdalen: her repentance, miracles associated with her faith, her preaching and her ascetic life, and her funeral. Figure Five Santa Chiara Master, "Santa Chiara Dossal" (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Detail of painting before restoration depicts the investiture of Saint Clare: Saint Francis cuts her hair and clothes her in a rough habit. Figure Six Santa Chiara Master, "Santa Chiara Dossal" (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Detail of painting before restoration depicts St. Clare resisting her family. Figure Seven Santa Chiara Master, "Santa Chiara Dossal" (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Detail of painting depicts Saint Agnes joining her sister Clare at the convent of Sant’Angelo di Panzo. Figure Eight Anonymous, "Saint Clare and the Madonna," vault fresco, 13th~~century (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Painting depicts Saint Clare and the Madonna and Child flanked by kneeling angels. Figure Nine Anonymous, "Agnes of Assisi and Agnes of Rome," vault fresco, 13th century (Assisi, Santa Chiara). Painting depicts Saints Agnes of Assisi and Agnes of Rome~~in the company of early Christian brides of Christ.
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  • Abstract:
  • Author's Affiliation: University of Arizona
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1991.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 01416790
  • Material/Technique :
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