Art and the Observance in The Oltrarno: The Early Visual Culture of Four Female Religious Communities in Quattrocento Florence
My thesis will examine the early artistic patronage of four female religious houses in the Santo Spirito Quartiere of Quattrocento Florence: San Vincenzo d'Annalena, Santa Chiara Novella, Santa Monaca and Santa Maria degli Angeli. These communities, each associated with a different mendicant order, were all founded within half a square mile of one another over a period of little more than a decade during the mid-fifteenth century. This project will provide an in-depth study of the artistic legacy of the individual foundations as well as an analysis of the relationships and connections that existed between them. Specifically, the thesis will articulate the kinds of networks that formed among the communities of devout women and the spiritual leaders, artists and benefactors who were associated with them in their early years. Ultimately, it will ask how such networks reflected, and indeed informed, the spiritual character of each community and thus the visual language of their artistic programmes.