Sanctity Pictured Symposium: Pray for Us: Tomb Patronage in Mendicant Churches (Part 3)

Sanctity Pictured Symposium (Part 3)

Presented by Dr. Anne Leader, Webmaster and Blog Editor, Italian Art Society on January 10, 2015

Prayer was a key feature of Dominican and Franciscan life, and many laypeople believed that mendicant prayer was the most efficacious. Over the course of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, donations of all kinds poured into Dominican and Franciscan communities as a means of requesting prayers for the living and the dead. In addition to funding altarpieces, fresco programs, stained glass windows, and church furnishings, thousands of Italians requested burial in mendicant houses during the Renaissance with graves decorated with stone slabs and other markers. While it is often claimed that Franciscans appealed more to the working classes and Dominicans conversely to the merchant class, tomb patronage demonstrates that elites sought their final rest with both orders. A comparison of the tomb patronage at Florence’s Franciscan Santa Croce and Dominican Santa Maria Novella raises interesting questions about the social profile of those who chose to await the Final Judgment in the care of the mendicants.

This presentation was part of a symposium held in conjunction with the exhibition Sanctity Pictured: The Art of the Dominican and Franciscan Orders in Renaissance Italy, on view at the Frist Art Museum from October 13, 2014 through January 25, 2015.

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