Picturing the City in Medieval Italian Painting


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About the Book

Buildings and their surrounding spaces influence the collective identity of an urban population. In turn, images of buildings in paintings and other artwork can reveal much about the character of a city.
This richly illustrated text focuses primarily on Rome, Assisi, Siena and Florence from circa 1250 to circa 1390. It addresses four key issues in the study of change in architectural imagery and urban identity: 13th century Roman painting and its importance for 14th century painting in Tuscany; the Tuscan-Byzantine relationship from the mid- to late 13th century; “naturalistic” representation of medieval painting; and the meaning behind some of the stylistic changes that coincided with the bubonic plague in the 14th century.

About the Author(s)

Felicity Ratté is a professor of art and architectural history at Emerson College in Boston. She teaches from the ancient to the renaissance periods, mostly focusing on the cultures of Europe and the Middle East. Her work currently focuses on the medieval and early modern built environment and its representation.

Bibliographic Details

Felicity Ratté
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 242
Bibliographic Info: 115 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2428-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      v
List of Illustrations      ix
Introduction      1

1. Rome Rebuilt: Architectural Imagery and the Revival of Medieval Rome      17
“Reconstructing” Medieval Rome and Its Art      18
The Sancta Sanctorum and the Image of Rome      24
Thirteenth-Century Restoration of St. Paul’s and the Pilgrim Experience      33
The Portico at St. Peter’s      41
The Artistic Environment in Rome and Beyond at the End of the Thirteenth Century      47
Stylistic Diversity in Thirteenth-Century Rome      48

2. Byzantium Bypassed: Architectural Images and the Rejection of the Maniera Greca c. 1300      59
The Arena and the Kariye Compared      63
Italian and Byzantine Artistic Currents and Interchange      69
Inventing the “Maniera Greca” Relations between Byzantium and Italy, Artistic and Otherwise      77

3. Picturing Places: Trecento Painting and the Emergence of the “Architectural Portrait”      91
The Pilgrim Experience at Assisi      92
Memory Techniques and the Architectural Portraits      100
Assisi, Rome and Pilgrimage in the Late Thirteenth Century      105
Changes in Portraiture Form in the Fourteenth Century      108
Conclusion      117

4. The Celebrated City: Civic Ritual and the Language of Architectural Imagery, 1300 to 1340      119
Images of Architecture and Real Buildings      122
Continued Presence of Conventional Ways of Representing Architecture      144
Ritual Life in Early Trecento Florence and Siena      152
The Symbolic Role of Architecture in Ritual Life      155

5. Crisis and Convention: Change in Architectural Imagery in the Second Half of the Fourteenth Century      162
Changes in Images of Architecture      165
Civic Experience in the Second Half of the Century      183

Conclusion      193
Chapter Notes      197
Bibliography      221
Index      233