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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    This probing analysis of three of Giotto’s major works and the patrons who commissioned them goes beyond the clichés of Giotto as the founding figure of western painting. It traces the interactions between Franciscan friars and powerful bankers and illuminates the complex interactions between mercantile wealth and the iconography of poverty.

    eISBN: 978-0-674-06097-5
    Subjects: Art & Art History, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-xiv)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-16)

    Bowled over by a pig being driven from the monastery of Sant’Antonio to the market beside San Lorenzo in the Via Cocomero (the present-day Via Ricasoli, which runs between the Piazza San Marco and the right flank of the cathedral of Florence), Giotto is recorded as picking himself up and remarking, “They are right of course: I’ve made thousands using their bristles for my brushes and they never got as much as a bowl of soup from me.” The literary legend of Giotto di Bondone is of a man of rapierlike repartee, humorous, notably unprepossessing, but widely esteemed.¹ Respect, indeed,...

  5. ONE Giotto at Pisa: The Stigmatization for San Francesco
    (pp. 17-46)

    Bernard of Besse, secretary to the Franciscan minister-general Bonaventure, devoted a whole chapter of his Mirror of Discipline, intended for novices in the Franciscan Order, to presumption. I have read it attentively, and it strikes home.¹ When the subject of this book, first delivered as lectures in memory of Bernard Berenson in the idyllic surrounding which he created at Villa I Tatti, concerns three episodes in the career of Giotto di Bondone involving Franciscan themes, the scale of my presumption becomes truly daunting. Discussion of Saint Francis is unending, and on Giotto di Bondone, the greatest of Florentine painters, almost...

  6. TWO Giotto among the Money-Changers: The Bardi Chapel in Santa Croce
    (pp. 47-80)

    In preparation for the Council of the Church at Vienne, Pope Clement V called together the leaders of the self-styled “Community” of the Franciscan Order and the dissident friars for discussions which he hoped might resolve the internecine debate on the interpretation and proper observance of the Rule.¹ One assertion, made in August 1311 by Fra Ubertino da Casale, a spokesman for the spiritual Franciscans, who had himself been a lector at Santa Croce between 1287 and 1289, was uncontested. “No [Franciscan] building,” he claimed, “could be put up without the agreement of the provincial minister.” It was thus common...

  7. THREE The Lull before the Storm: The Vele in the Lower Church at Assisi
    (pp. 81-112)

    Pope Clement V attempted to halt the virulent dispute on ownership and ascetic use (usus pauper) within the Franciscan Order through the bull Exivi a Paradiso of May 1312.¹ The attempt foundered, although the principal reasons for its failure were accidental. In April 1314 Clement himself died, to be replaced, only in August 1316, by a choleric and authoritarian seventy-two-year-old lawyer, Jacques Duèze, a former counselor to Charles II d’Anjou, who took the name of John XXII.² Shortly afterward the Aragonese ambassador wrote to Jayme II: “It was believed, on his election, that he would prove to be just and...

  8. Conclusion
    (pp. 113-128)

    The Franciscans, who, as the patrons of Giotto, have played an important role in the preceding pages, were in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries intensely local. This was particularly true of Florence, where many of the friars were also members of the leading civic families.¹ It meant in practice that the internationalism of the Order was marked by local preferences and traditions. Yet fourteenth-century Florentines themselves were also, and to an extraordinary degree, international. Boniface VIII remarked that they constituted a fifth element after air, fire, earth, and water.² Yet of the three episodes of patronage described in the preceding...

  9. APPENDIX: Inscriptions of the Vele
    (pp. 129-132)
  10. Chronology
    (pp. 133-138)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 139-226)
  12. Index
    (pp. 227-240)