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A Renaissance Audience Considered: The Nuns at S.

Apollonia and Castagno's "Last Supper"


Author(s): Andre Hayum
Source: The Art Bulletin, Vol. 88, No. 2 (Jun., 2006), pp. 243-266
Published by: College Art Association
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25067244
Accessed: 11-12-2015 20:40 UTC
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The Nuns
Considered:
Audience
and Castagno's
Last Supper

A Renaissance
at S. Apollonia
Andr?e Hayum
It is not difficult

to explain why, until relatively recently,

to Florence

visitors

routinely

tourist

attraction

during
who

Vasari,

the

course

refers

to a

at

Castagno

the

of

fifteenth

con

Nuova,

on the subject of the S. Apollonia


version, which does not
in
the
literature
before
the
1870s
and, at first, without
appear
secure

attribution.2

use

as a

of

space

refectory

for

this

the

of

time

its

the
military.3
Benedictine

former

suppres

was put to

in 1866, S. Apollonia

institution

warehouse

storage

at

Furthermore,

sion as a religious

even

Yet

once

the
was

establishment

Via

and

was

S. Gallo

the complex
has been
Lately,
it
been
transformed
having

for the perennially

inaccessible

periodically
and

renovation,

repair,

undergoing

further
into

overcrowded

and

of

portions
classroom

space

of

facilities of the University

If they did not actually see it firsthand,


in art history

training

art

in American
once

cially

it

form

textbooks

history

to appear

began

several

a textbook

do's

much

count,

play

more

role

fresco,

of

revisions
in

began

the

treating
same

to alert

to's Arena
Florence,

principal

cycles

a more
a

to

of

Chapel.
the Last

scene

refectories?something,

later,

his

gno's

nious

of

mode

l'oeil

particular

the

subject had

Life

An

scholarly
specialized,
contextual
setting

and

Passion

important
was

Supper

and focus

long formed

shift occurred

of

the

has

it,

that

began

its
the

backing

Castagno's

chronological

position
on
perspec

treatise

of

of

in Giot

and

It

seems

at

first

and

now,

By
as

patrons

Stewart
younger

to be
and

of

as well

sure,

the

that

however,

say,

contemporaneous
were
more
engaged
women
and
artists,
past
of
ingredients
to
in
appeal
is very differ

the

situation

collectors?from

turning
as

con
to art

the

iconographie
patrons
by male

of

generation

after the

patronage
more
central
to

fair
fuel

Gardner?are

productively

ceremonies

a decade

not

and

much

in

and,

which

inquiries,
identities

by manifestly
even
if determined

Isabella
A

not

feminist

viewers.8

study.

book,
to become

be

was

work

avant-garde

of

than

should

substantial

into. Within
issues

more

religious
a

such

relevant

art,

female

stylistically

art were

was

definitively

That

of Vertova's

of

or

has been

1350 with Taddeo Gaddi's fresco at S. Croce (Fig. 1). There,


the gabled end wall is covered with a representation
of Christ

inge

Apollonia."7

so

she further delved

careers

the

Sant'

of

commissioning

investigations.
concerns
did

part of

about

Casta
its

scene, with

measuring

its

ta Alberti's

patrons

estimation,

something

to

of

had done.

for

present,

of monastery

of
in

revetments

Vertova,

Battis

nuns
these

responsible
Vertova's

male

when,

Leon

after

scholars

works

in

nature

standpoint,

of marble

refectory";
in terms

Benedictine

by

to become

monumentalized

for the end walls

consensus

as

of Christ,

a formal

tive, intriguingly puts it this way in her book / Cenacoli fioren


tini: "the first [fully] Renaissance
Florentine
refectory is that

the

this

like

.6 In this line of thinking,

innovative

of the illusion of a projected

here

decade

of

for

conditions
scholars

phenomenon

the

from

rendition

for

Suppers
achievement

emergence

literature

the

(Fig.
seemingly palpable presence of Christ and the Apostles
2). Thus, Gilbert refers to it as "the first of our familiar Last

ac

representa

least

sharpening

that

radical

to reflect

less
the

about

agreement
at
example,

those

human

with

dining

ent. Women

type of Last Supper. The


narrative

universal

room?is

arrangement

for Christ and the Apos

del Sarto, S. Salvi, 1511-27)

historical

theme.

time,
us

In

the middle

the more

by
superseded
some
staged
fifty years
and
tradition
iconographie
the

was
Supper
of Leonar

table"-like

"high
or

more

meant

publication
text of works

stays in the mind


Last

formulation)

was

most

later

pages

Supper

decoration.

Identifying

eloquently
in the
veining
to an Abstract

point
in Milan,

toward

painted

is

century,

At

Andrea

espe

of H. W.

vantage

example

its

were

Castagno's

retrospective

celebrated

1960,

hundred

Leonardo

drama

tion

the

Castagno's

fifteenth

is the

audience
from

made

editions

in such a global gallery of art. But what most


to

Castagno's

around

in successive

accessible

canvas,

Expressionist

of

of

idea

of the fresco
Janson's
of Art.5 Aspects
History
as
such
the
marble
characterized,
"explosive"
is sometimes
which
compared
background,

made

those with

however,
an

after his Last Supper at S. Apollonia

formal power
debut

could

of Franciscan
image
across
the entire
hor

extends

in terms
and Creighton
Gilbert examined
in the course of the
tradition that develops
ca. 1447, and
fifteenth century (Castagno at S. Apollonia,
now
at
S. Maria Nuova, completed
Ghirlandaio
lost;
1457,
S. Marco, 1477-80, and Ognissanti,
and
continues
well
1480)
into the sixteenth (Franciabigio, Convento della Calza, 1514;

mere

Florence.

basic

a favored

of Life,

Last

Luisa Vertova
of a Florentine

trompe

restoration.4

fragmented,

office

the wall

tuting

there

opened to the public in 1891 and after it officially became a


in 1911, the building that sits between Via
Castagno museum
S. Reparata
it was
while

The

tles?obviously
of the actual

by
painted
is silent

Supper

S. Maria

of

complex

as the Tree

(to use Eve Borsook's

Giorgio

century.1

Last

cross

the

izontal field at the bottom frame, forming, in effect, a giant


predella for an implied triptych format of the scenes consti

at S.

and

on

iconography.

of the city became

of monasteries

the

now-destroyed

nearby

few

Casta

works

Ang?lico's

in the north

its concentration

in

dense

notably
vents

Fra

containing

this neighborhood

Marco,

del

the fresco is hardly off the beaten


two blocks from that more publi

gno's Last Supper, although


track at S. Apollonia. Only
cized

see Andrea

to

went

Isabella

the

subject

historians

and

its attention
literary

and

of
art

d'Est?
intensive

historians

to the histories

artistic

production

of female religious orders of the late medieval


to late Renais
sance periods, exploring the role of the visual arts in the lives
of

women

such

shedding
art
still

and,

commissioned
a

frequently

through

archival

light on the choice of artists employed

tendency

in

female
communities.9
by these
to
these
works
studies
employ

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research,

and types of
Yet

there

of

art more

is

ART BULLETIN

244

VOLUME

2006

JUNE

LXXXVIII

NUMBER

1 Taddeo Gaddi, Last Supper with Tree


ca. 1350,
Other Scenes,
S. Croce,
Florence,
refectory
in the public
domain;
(artwork
and

of Life
fresco.

provided by Alinari/Art

photograph

New

Resource,

ysis of
as with
be

rather

it comes

when

tile,
in

of

quality?products
not
necessarily
the important
Given
and

and

indeed,
by
of Renaissance

now

and

per,

of

even

a canonical

this mural
of

visual
for

issues

sustained

visual

monument?

major

in our

point
remarkable

Sup
audience

seems

thus

study

Last

to an

related

in this

stimulated

of

all

the

endeavor

to be a recur
has proved
of women
artists
the
since

representations,

the

interventions

in the 1970s right up to

From

the

time

teenth

century,

lenged.13
became

one

artist's

For

style,

frescoes

this
the

of

name

Castagno's

the S. Apollonia

modern

student,
considered
from

being

has

attribution

the works
though,

started

associated

in the later part of the nine

the

in

remained
fact,

most

Last

representative

perspective
seem
an

del
may
study, Andrea
Castagno
to choose
for a group
of women
religious

the

unchal

of my

unlikely
as their

Supper
of
present

candidate
artist.

Here,

of

portrayal
Domenico

colleague
and

jealousy
even
if

cannot

rage,

to death
but

help

evidence

documentary

as a murderer,

Castagno
Veneziano

of

1461.

the

plague,
as the

Insofar

seem

would

our
this

proved

beat

professional
perception,
dis

account,

Lives of theArtists, to be
young in 1457 during an

Vasari's

through Giorgio
false.14 Castagno died relatively
in

who

in

affect

later

seminated

and

to follow
obvious

four

styles

before

years
a

has

story

Veneziano's
of

ring

truth,

from distinctions,
to

also

representational
sive contouring,

of

the modern
two

these

it

sharply drawn

by

between

viewer,

the

inci
Castagno's
earthen
tonalities

painters:

and

death
however,

dense,

rugged
figures,
the traits of a dominant,
up
conjuring
aggressive
personality
when
effect
the delicate
of Veneziano's
pitted
against
pastel
hues
of form.
the
and
Furthermore,
optical
transparencies
come
to mind
extant
that first
when
personages
reviewing
works
from
short
from
this Last
career,
apart
Castagno's
are

Supper,

whether
neighbor

other

even

assertive,

militant

male

figures,

the equestrian
da Tolentino,
portrait of Niccol?
to Uccello's Sir John Hawkwood
in the cathedral of
or

Florence,

the

condottiere

Pippo

from

Spano,

the

"Huo

Famosi" cycle of the Carducci family villa at Legnaia


(Fig. 3). But just as Meyer Schapiro in his essay "Freud and
Leonardo: An Art Historical
Study" supplied evidence of

mini

Leonardo
ments

present.

with

the

be

focus.11
on

out

the

that

words,

dramatic

Vasari

marginal

exclusive

the
his

outbreak

(manuscript
in material
(tex

and/or

viewers,

of the feminist movement

beginning
the

even

may

convent

by

the theme of the Last Supper, that proto


in our mind's eye by its
assembly exemplified

famous
target

ring

female

newly
More

in which

typical male
most

reference

Castagno's
would
have

lying

in other

as

in a

scale

to

piety,
on
a

reflection

examples,
in fact,
can,

output

carried

being

interroga
the anal

patrons.10

in

culture,

women's

critical

comprised
exclusively
more
We
pressing.12

by ways

female

themselves

research

art?such

how

altarpiece,
interest

impermanent
in purpose

visual
lent

aspects

of

of

group

occasional

have

analysis

main

embroideries),

papier-m?ch?),

gender

the

Pertinent

to
artistic
possible
is often
miniature

production

illustrations,

with

form.

like

their

association

women,

of

types

picture

conventional,

identified

deserving
drawn
from

consequences
structures

inherent

certain

themselves

objects

interpretative

their

over,

as

than

illustratively
with

tion,

York)

da

well

form

to be
featuring
figures

interest
scenes

in
of

Leonardo's

fueling

human

singled
female
are

some

out

for

deformity,
in order

violence

feminine

output,

a Castagno

to invoke

seemed
pieces
mosi"

and

of a predominantly

notion

Freud's
and

Vinci's

of warfare,

so,

who

during

his

narrative

subjects.15
of the first

Among
monumental

instru
to redress

ideal of subject
we

conversely,

his own

do

lifetime

and
cycles
the "Huomini
renditions

altar
Fa
of

and biblical heroines, Queens Tomyris and Esther


celebrated Mary
(Fig. 4). A lost fresco from S. Annunziata

classical

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THE

2 Andrea

del

and

Magdalene

Martha.

The Death

mosaic
Venice's

Last

Castagno,

The

was

impressive
We
will

much

lauded

rendition

of

never

its convents

and

depended
a matter
of much

been

ties?connections
In this

part.

vein,

the

its own

links
come

to

the

or

commission

S. Apollonia

played
of artists

networks"
with

their
may

Castagno

for

lately
reali

practical

of

by way

expansion,

link worth
the

further

high

Tarasio
suggests
the

paintings

between

investigation

these
of

degree
That

tives.21

residing

the

the Venetian

Chapel
their
nuns'

convents,

direct

role

decision

executed

and

frame
the

bears

of

names
in

this

making

by Neri

evidence

however,

the main
of

the

the

altarpiece
abbess
and

commission.22
is affirmed

di Bicci

in the

At
in

assess

to

Neri

of
room

its

subject

iconographie
a

says,

Ma

central

prioress
S. Apollo
case
of
the

the

nuns

the

standing

single,

in later

presence
To

convent.25
on

figure

had

by

judge

the

frontis

of rules of the Benedictine

edition

as well

as her

conspicuous

pair

in Filippino Lippi's sizable panel of


ing with Saint Benedict
in
church of S. Ponziano
about 1483 for the Benedictine
these

Lucca,

S.

Andrea

the

honored

del

no

initiating
for

payments

convent,

if

extant

from

name

plans,

the

major

cloister

large
actual

Castagno's

early

his

patrons

1420s

and

Cecilia

abbess,

and

that

documents

oversee
to

additions
and

the
time

working

at
into

di Pazzino
and

agreements,

forging

to be

saint

(Figs. 6, 7).26

with

the

renovations

the

including
Even

rule

transactions

records,

repeatedly

female

principal

comparable

Castagno's

convent

Apollonia,

Donati,

are

there

While
discuss

images

at the time with Benedictine

associated

space.27
S.

for

to women,

pertaining

and
a

as

Alexandria

is a recurring

done

to

from

Benedictine

martyr

Observant

of a 1529 printed

piece

direc

frescoes

appearance

as

1470s, only

us

and

virgin
of

in 1339,

and

the mid-1440s,

in the

Ricor

Conversazione

at S.
Apollonia
in a small

housed

they want,"

settlement

dedicated

conveys

abbess's

nuns

the

and

enabling

third-century

this

order

him

a Sacra

for

is now

"in which

altarpieces

earliest

makes

abbess

In his

there.

employed

commission

and layout in light of the nuns' reported

the

lonia,

her

possible
well
have

his

domain;

and Child and two pairs of flanking saints: Benedict


on the right (viewer's left), Apollonia
and
and Ludovico
Catherine, on the left (viewer's right) (Fig. 5).24 Saint Apol

ing

self-determination
carved

refectory,

been

the time of its architectural


in Florence,

altarpiece

the

commissions.20
of

both

during

was

he

Florentine

At

nia,

especially

when

Florence."25

whom

extant dated work (inscribed 1442), likewise for an observant


Order of Benedictine
the Gothic
nuns, when he decorated
vault of the S. Tarasio Chapel at S. Zaccharia in Venice with
the figure of God the Father flanked by the Evangelists and
two Old Testament
the Venetian
Prophets.19 Considering
of
his
active
of
the convent
IV,
support
Pope Eugene
origins
of S. Apollonia,

the

His

instructions,

this

has

"from

to

the

245

donna

art

if, rather,

agents

Certain

along

and

of

issuing

matter

An

of

was

of

danze,

in the public

SUPPER

Florence)

Castagno

writes

adjacent

Whether

or

artists

intermediaries

has
been
patrons
explored,
to Medici
influence.18
Thus,

and

in

Neri

LAST

CASTAGNO'S

(artwork

refectory

Fotogr?fico,

after

generation

as

cycle

artist's

choice

the works

convenience?undoubtedly
idea of "Benedictine

the

lost

our

for

refectory.

discussion.17

and

Mary's
depicting
how
much
aesthetic

influenced

handpicked
on male

in

death.16

iconographie
for the S. Apollonia
drea
del Castagno
nuns
of
itself
commissioned
community

former

Florence,

the

Chapel

but

especially

sure

considerations

of

Castagno

for S. Maria Nuova

executed

for

know

to

of debate,

by Vasari,
the scene

S. Apollonia,

AND

AT S. APOLLONIA

per i Beni Artistici e Storici, Gabinetto

in the Mascoli

a matter

be

may

of the Life of the Virgin

process

fresco.

1447,

attribution

of the Virgin

S. Marco

Florence

ca.

Supper,

provided by the Soprintendenza

photograph

NUNS

the

refectory
took

place

the subsequent abbess, Apollonia


di Piero Firenzi, in
the latter half of 1447, as seems to be the case, it is likely that

under
Cecilia
part

Donati
of her

increasing

first
overall

numbers

extended
plans

for

the

expansion

by the middle

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

to

commission
of

the

Castagno

convent,

of the fifteenth

as

whose

century

ART BULLETIN

246

3 Castagno,

Pippo

2006

JUNE

ca.

Spano,

LXXXVIII

VOLUME

fresco

1448,

detached

NUMBER

from

loggia

of Villa Carducci, Legnaia. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence


(artwork in the public domain; photograph provided by
Alinari/Art

New

Resource,

4 Castagno,

York)

the daughters of some of the most prominent


families, such as the Strozzi and the Portinari.28
the motivations
Whatever
and dynamics
involved in the
of

commissioning
tain?within
seen

more
strictures

the

gathering
place
fresco
daily?indeed,

stressing, especially
awareness

precise
on

nuns'

concomitant

convent/church

to deliberately
such

as

the

Once

precincts.29
the S. Apollonia
confrontation
frame

of

structuring

signed

corresponds

several

one
the

thing
nuns

times

is cer
would
This

day.

in light of the growing


literature
in liturgical
late medieval

the

concerning
proceedings
and

which

architecture,

and

could

and
early
be

altarpieces
inside
the

contained
vast
an

and

within

their

unobstructed

inhabitant

could

i Beni

e Storici,

Artistici

Last
whose
Castagno's
Supper,
to the
viewer's
level
eye
standing

the

fresco

end

of

the

room.30

Within

the

escape

confines

the

the

funerary.

loggia

Gabinetto

of

purposes,

At

ranging
of

death

to frame

in order

days

to

others

the

the church itself and


from the alimentary to

a sister,

the

absence

her.31

for

the

example,

nuns

the

at

S.

the

rules

for

his
have

fresco

of

the

would

as a

compelling
and
tangible

and

its horseshoe

year

to conform

always

have

extent,

moreover,

familiar
step

or

especially
to
reader

daylight

platform

arrives

vivid

evo

imagine.32
those

throughout
hours,

Casta

visible.33
the work

the

the

during

adjusted

to

remained

realm:

nun,

done

for

the Medita

of

a Franciscan

of silence when, with mealtimes

seasons

a space

author

in an

must

Apollonia

create

and

When

contemplate
the Life of Christ,
addressing
Lord's
he engages
Supper,
of all aspects
of this scene

the

So

her

on

tions

gno's
To

8).

apart from

as

functioned

refectory

specify that her place at the table be set and served for thirty

periods
of

bottom
(Fig.

principal public
fulfilled multiple

cation

sacred

the

furthermore,

chamber

de

Seated, the nuns would most likely have faced in from the far
side of two long, narrow tables placed at either long wall
toward

from

Florence)

convent,

at

space
not

the

Re

cut off or permit only a partial view of

refectory,
with

Supper,
for meals,

recent

in

participation

naissance

works

Last

Castagno's

this

isworth

point

the

detached

include

Florentine

have

fresco

1448,

Tomyris,

per

Soprintendenza
Fotogr?fico,

would

Queen

of Villa Carducci, Legnaia. Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence


(artwork in the public domain; photograph provided by the

presents

foreshortened
mirrors

itself
flooring

the

refectory's

own; the brick red tiles of the sloping roof that caps the
chamber of the Last Supper in the mural mimics the convent

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

THE

architecture's

actual

Life-size

roofing.

are

figures

NUNS

AT S. APOLLONIA

AND

LAST

CASTAGNO'S

SUPPER

247

spread

nearly the width of the bottom half of the picture space, each
with clearly differentiated
hair types, features, and gestures:
Andrew

and

next

Bartholomew,

to each

the

other

dark

whereas

brown,

chestnut-colored

is

hair

hair

right,

next

the

Apostle

(Fig. 9); Matthew's


to

back

pushed

our

the one gray-white,

Thaddeus,

over, is beardless with cropped

on

other,

both have long hair and full long beards,

reveal

wavy,

smooth,

shaven profile at the left end of the table (Fig. 10). With arms
and hands opening outward and grayish brown beard, James
the Less, at the right head of the table, could be responding
to Matthew, his counterpart at the other end (Fig. 11). The
enumerates

latter

a discussion

of

points

as

the

of

fingers

his

left hand touch the table's top edge. Philip, who looks at
next to him, holds up his hands, palms facing
Matthew
as

forward,

if

to Matthew's

surrendering

argument

10).

(Fig.

Such details must have become part of an ongoing dialogue


with whoever was in the fresco's orbit. Though
the work is
forceful as a totality, Castagno's precise edging of figures in
to

relation
a

and

the

ground,

uniformly

sharp

and

to
response
as
gesture,
might
the Greater,
James

by
character

occasion:

one

in

part,
or

or

have

that

the

to hold

toward

Benedictine

their

section

to

the

when

hands

in the

and

the

of

side

his

in a gesture

face

of

as

Viewed

13).

a whole,

that shoot
marble

the

earthen
of

admixtures

oranges,

the Apostles'

through

have

panels?would

but

intense

with

gray

and

a visual

to

counterpoint

the black over white of the nuns' own habits as they filed
to

Access
from
the

the
end

the

central

evidence

make

convenient

and

trecento

posed
flanked

on

Resurrection
a

under

tions,

to

read

where

and

scenes

of

of

the

abraded

section

This

and damaged
eliminated

Last

of

the

emphasis
Passion

on
of

is superim

Supper

the

Christ.

one

side

remained

it was

until

is often

three

cov

(Figs. 8, 15). As in

on

Entombment

other.

whitewash

Castagno's

the

the

scenes

(Fig. 1). At S. Apollonia,

edges of its architectural chamber.


tier, it is not simply to redress
because

of

room

the most

also provide

uncovered

condition,
in

is cut

Mary

Magdalene

right
a manifest

(Fig.
level

would

in these
embraces

the

supports

Marys

Magdalene

15).
of

is the

close

to his

witness

often

be

the Gospels
followers

his women

of

and

Resurrection,

represent

to

Christ at the time of his death, ministering


first

of women.

it may

central

the

consti

personae

For while

representations,
association

at

group

audience

dramatis

history.

primary
tall, the

personages

to our

the

16).

(Fig.
a

stands
the

bracketing
these

relevance

of religious

of Mary

figure

Together,

of

space
as

refectory
reappears

foreground,

in visual

to

to him, bearing
of

the word

spreading

his divinity, news that was received by Christ's male disciples


with varying degrees of doubt and belief. With their particu
lar

vantage

convent's

scenes

these
of

community

female

Matthew

"many
the

distance,

of

and

women"
same
looked

for

the

narrative

who

"were

women
after

the

who

in addition,

accounts
set

example,

the

be

of

the
for

stage

the perspec

by positing
there,
had

the

tier,

upper

might,

to Gospel

and Mark,

portion

of

viewers

of as a living parallel

thought

Galilee

onto

point

of

it is diffi

other

the

cloaked

treatment

this

tive

about

closest

the

hidden

two

the

toward
the

heavily
to the

climactic

reproduc
to the
framing

protagonists

tute
Nor

forward

and

mourner,

this

Ifwe begin with the upper


its frequent neglect, but

female

faces

it is

and

of

Entombment,

Crucifixion;

textbook
down

and
the

not

archi

the

a Crucifixion

in S. Croce,

the
of

layer

1890.36 In much
cult

view

and

plans

.35 Entering

14)

doorway would

the Last Supper


scenes

by

(Fig.

tier of the frescoed wall

example

over

clear

space

In

underplayed
themselves

initially

one

while

cross,

a distortion

at
doorway
to the
indicated

ground

early

encompassing

the upper

ering

through
as the

on

cloister

the original

through

the

large
nave-shaped
it is today,
but
the fresco,
opposite
as

wall,

of
right
tectural

was
refectory
a central

the

side,

the

into

room.

the

provided

grieving Madonna. An unusual garbed female figure, possibly


the third Mary, sits hunched on the ground to the right of the

figure
extreme

greens

and the painted

draperies

formed

tonalities?

violets

S. Apollonia,
1472.
Conversazione,
in the public
domain;
photograph

Resource, New York)

by Alinari/Art

cross

consternation

that the artist had previously used for his grieving Madonna
in the frescoed Crucifixion for S. Maria degli Angeli
(Figs. 11,
umbers,

Sacra

(artwork

at

the mensa;34 Thomas, his left hand aimed at supporting his


chin, head cocked back in wondrous
contemplation
(Fig.
12) ;or Simon, at the right, the palm of his opened right hand
spanning

di Bicci,

the

drank

they

5 Neri
Florence

instructed

fact,

vessels

light,
the

Supper
individual

pertinent
both
left,

the chalice
in

of

Last

other

the

rules,

earthenware

this

the
been

his cup as a priest would

holding
manner

overall

clarifying
each

throughout
to address
viewer

the

encourage

composition
part

nuns

consistent
focus

watching
followed
Jesus

from

from

. . ,"37

him.

As for the Last Supper, this fundamental


theme telescopes
the central tenets of Christian history, theology, and liturgy.
But for our purposes, we should consider this subject in light
of
en's

recent

research

piety.

Scholars

interrelated
ical

perspective

into

late medieval-early
such as Caroline
Walker

fields of inquiry ranging


of women's

worldly

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

Renaissance
Bynum,

wom
probing

from the anthropolog


role

as

food

preparers

ART

248

BULLETIN

2006

JUNE

LXXXVIII

VOLUME

NUMBER

7 Filippino Lippi, Saints Benedict and Apollonia, ca. 1483,


tempera glazed with oil on panel, 62 X 23% in. (157.5 X 60
6

to

Saint

Apollonia,
frontispiece
Patre nostro, Venice,
Benedetto

1529

New

York

the

Collection,

Spencer

The

cm).

del Sanctissimo

Regula

by
(photograph
provided
Public
As tor, Lenox
Library,

Norton

earlier version

and Tilden Foundations)

showing

of the subject
meals

en's

to a

providers
devotion,

ence,

were

have

shown

and

psychology

religious
how

imagination,
food-related

of wom

phenomenology
and
mystical
and

practices

Martha

experi

characteristic

for

of Hungary.39

Elizabeth
prominent
lactation

for men?and

charity
distinction

in
of

the

Lidwina

such

of

to

Louvain

and

are

"feeding" miracles

Similarly,

of women:

hagiographies
of Schiedam,

route

this

explained
as Ida

cases

the

multipli

of food for the hungry by Margaret of Faenza, the


raining down of food from Heaven for Agnes of Montepul

cation

ciano.40

Food-related

characterizations

abound

metaphors
own
their

of

in
of

experience

the "food of spiritual


spoke of receiving
God."
James of Vitry referred
"devouring
ecstasies

of Mary

Historians
also

S. Onofrio

with

dealing

with
begun
number
of early
women's
convents,

as

of Oignies
new

such

Last

di Foligno

as

reading" and of
to the religious

the

to

Suppers
fine
example

in Florence,

the

register
that

have

considerable

were

made

tions

ican

nun

by Perugino

itself substituting

for

for an

convent

Benedictine

in

of S. Anna

lives

quotidian

of members

of Le M?rate,

in Florence,

Last

contemporaneous
nearly
Plautilla
Nelli,
painted

on

reports

Supper
by
convent
her

for

ence

of

Last

refectory
surely
female

Franciscan

tertiary

structurally

strategic

Suppers,
further

needing
donor
at

who

the
presence

of

investigation
in the
the

of

of

S. Cate

Taddeo

namely,

kneels

foot

the Domin

ifwe go back to our first

rina da Siena hear S. Marco.44 And

garments

cross,

female

Gaddi's
is the

along
in
saints

with
the

pres
a

of

the
small

diamonds
studding the illusionistic frame of the Last Supper
there (Fig. I).45
In considering
the important role of food in terms of
piety,

the Eucharistie
along

religious,
for

of

and Saint

to Vasari for a Last Supper, albeit in


the 1546 commission
oils, for its refectory.43 In his Lives of theArtists, Vasari men

women's

"inebriation."41

the visual arts of the period

awareness

refectory

women's
holy
the divine:
Ida

convent

the Franciscan

at

(Marriage

community."42 A 1597 chronicle

renowned

of
example
in S. Croce,

the miraculous

spontaneous

the

at

Kitchen)

accompanying

preparation

of Saints Mary and Martha,

"commemorations

of the female

piety.38 Already during the


Middle Ages, preachers apparently associated the charitable
distribution of food with women?almsgiving
being the more
charismatic

as

Foligno

metaphors

to women's

fundamental

in Her

and

Supper

food

and/or

di Bicci. Domi

there by Neri

a Last

Cana, Christ in theHouse


and

Pasadena

Foundation,

characterizes

Rigaux

nique
scenes

Simon

scholars

motif
with

have

it to

related

in the lives of female


devotions

to

the

body,

the

dominance

of

saints and women


the wounds,

and

the blood of Christ.46 At S. Apollonia, we see this illustrated


in a fresco now detached
from a wall of the upper loggia.
Painted

by

possible

teacher

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

of

Castagno,

Paolo

Schiavo,

it

THE

NUNS

AT S. APOLLONIA

AND

CASTAGNO'S

LAST

SUPPER

249

I01

former
S. Apollonia,
del
frescoes
by Andrea

refectory

with

Castagno

(artwork in the public domain;


photograph by Ralph Lieberman)

I^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^HB^^^a
^^>___^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^n^^^^?^g
*i?E.i^^^H^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Bf?w
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^H?

9 Castagno, Last Supper, detail of center


York)

(artwork in the public domain; photograph

provided by Scala/Art Resource,

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

New

ART BULLETIN

250

2006

JUNE

LXXXVIII

VOLUME

NUMBER

10 Castagno, Last Supper, detail of left side with Saints


Matthew and Philip (artwork in the public domain;
photograph provided by the Soprintendenza per i Beni
Artistici e Storici, Gabinetto Fotogr?fico, Florence)

to

dates

same

the

as

years

the

Last

11 Castagno, Last Supper, detail of right side with Saints Simon


and

nuns

(Fig.
lives

holy
of the
parcel
of women

creation

nourishment

and

of

spread

devotions

special

cussed

Florentine

to

in respect

extensively
can also
ties. One

find
as

milieu,

evidence
at

the

surrounding

such as the feast of Corpus

has been

Christi,

Belgian
for this

dis

communi

religious

in the
phenomenon
another
Benedictine

S. Ambrogio,

convent with strong links to S. Apollonia. Although


she does
not deal with it in terms of gender, Eve Borsook explains the
motivation
for its artistic commissions
during this period to
be

the

interrelated

"long before
Christi

and

cults

they
the

Immaculate

official

the Last Suppers of both


(Taddeo Gaddi and even Leonardo)
and/or
the

to

viewer

Eucharistie

and wine,
carafes
over,

the

tablecloth

take full measure


ing

in

his
the

delicately
table

effect

of

form

of

reflecting
(Figs.
of

of the items displayed


asceticism

foods

to
mainly
dinner
rolls,

glasses

and

More

9-11).

the mensa?and
of

band

ability

that
to

on the table, further


even,

that

is

significant

of

domain;

public

per i Beni

other

alimentary

were

of men,

the

identity

of

worldly

of fasting.50 Within

to

pertaining

the

female

the
and

part

renunciation

the practice

in

prevalent

frequently
to
central

feature

namely,

through

more

much

miracles,
than

religious,

Florence)

Fotogr?fico,

women

structure

narrative

sainthood,

the

fasting

the miracle
of surviving on the
often served to highlight
Eucharist alone. In Raymond of Capua's life of Saint Cathe
rine,

he

says,

profound
the Blessed

"All who

and

knew

Sacrament

were

Catherine
reverence

characteristic
of

the

strength
Benedictine
and

the

. . .without

for

rhythms

such

toward
It was

Lord."

receives Holy
"kept up her
as

Insofar

food."51
to

attempt

fasting,

our

of

of her

devotion

Catherine
lived and

other

any

taking
for women

rules

aware

well

and

Body

popularly reported that "the maiden


Communion
every day," and she

should

regulations

the

intake

food

regulate

be

seen

extremes
of potentially destabilizing
against the background
of renunciation.52
Similarly, the privilege granted by Pope
Eugene
often
their
(about

the

white

a viewer's

overhang?limits

spareness,

of

opulence
selection

length

sharp
foreshortening
of
starkness
the horizontal

the

the

the

punctuate

relative

restricts

staples?bread,

through

earlier and later artists


tilt the tabletop toward

artist's

dominant
marks

Castagno

visible

that

demonstrate

tableware,

there,

of Corpus

sanction,"

Conception.48

While

the

celebrated

"precociously"

received

Gabinetto

Eucharistie

2).

kneel on either side of the crucified Christ while angels above


extend their chalices to catch the blood that issues from his
chest wound
(Fig. 17). That women were important in the
Eucharist,

in the

(artwork

provided by the Soprintendenza

e Storici,

Artistici

Resident

Supper.

the Less

James

photograph

they wished
convent
church,
seven

well respond
so

frequently
To
rehearse

broadly
work

nuns

IV to the
as

based
in which

years

at S.
Apollonia
to be allowed
and
recorded

before

to take

in a document

Castagno's

fresco

was

some

the
facets

tendencies
to

consider

lives
of

of
these

female

in

the Host

dating
begun),

to the virtual craving for the Eucharist


marked

as

Communion

to reserve

to 1439
may

that had

saints.53

documented
and
broadly
an
new
frame
provides
important
the original
of Casta
reception

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

THE

12 Castagno, Last Supper, detail of left side with Saints Thomas


and

the Greater

James

e Storici,

Last

gno's

ence
of

Gabinetto

a discussion

Supper,

to the distinctiy

Saint

Before

ishment of death by burning


of pagan

idols,

her

identifying

with

of

dentists

feature:
tongs,

and
that

granting
a more
have

for
religious
scious?outlined

pointed
some

representation
appeal
the

of

cisive, even harsh mode

audience?
tional

setting
Before
was

mode

should admit
ible in works
picture

types,

decoration.

phasis,
the complex

to characterize
we

conclude

patron

But

Supper
were

into

deep

sharp
that Castagno's
by his

be

it altarpiece,
this
Presumably

sharp

own

distinctions

of this

brown
with

of
overall
artist

was

witness

employed
between

was

or

to

forms

the

explain

the

and

simply

pursuing

even
his

own

of

this

on
for

exempla
the

constant,

safeguard
Saint
Catherine's
as when

characteristic,

the

female

virtue

as

virility
aware
of

us

she

states

Catherine

instance,

"like
"she

was

the

devil

if

the

to

of
faith.
fre

urges

the

"virily,

account.58

apocryphal

history

as well

Tomyris

and

battle,

murdered

was

was

This

for Mary

prototypes

of

suicide,

she

Testa

"Since you be

and Esthers
to

that

Old

strengthened,"
that Castagno

the Judiths

committed

Ida of L?au

and

type

women
as the
exemplary
Lucretia?who
stood
up
and

life of

set the standard.


heart

your

is described

seizing
weapons"
in a
womanly
way."57

not

fear

appropriate

in constancy."

a man

like

a man,

like

man

strong

like Judith

heroines

haved

came

that

"renders the soul virile."56 Ida of Louvain

fact to portray at Legnaia:

secular

catego
em
linear

Yet

another

fought

or
and ground,
figure
in space
that seemed

achievement.55

as

for

is,

makes

invocation

the

extension,

sur

starts

discourse

Renaissance

almost
that

one

the moment

For

there.

encounters,

Mattioli

of God

ment

we

perceived
critical

nuns

need,

being
claims

same

here,

patrons

the

late medieval-early
heroine
and,
by

one

as

facial

that

representa

monument,

coherence
time;

foreshortenings
Castagno's
our
that

civic

New

Resource,

recipient of one of her letters to be "like a virile knight,


fighting virily for the praise and glory of God's name." In

in

Castagno's

relief,

quent

women
uncon

his depiction

piety,

virility?the
Umberto

could

and

reconcile

characters,

teeth

the mouth.54

who

to
the

Christian

saint

Last

the

Former

(artwork in the public do

by Alinari/Art

provided

251

a well-established
topos for
stylistic bent at S. Apollonia,
female sanctity would have rendered his presentation
highly
veying

became

the high degree of stylistic coherence discern


done by this artist for varying situations and

in Castagno's
Renaissance
writers
the

we

determined

actually

that

the

spectators

do

to argue

try

affirmed
ries

of

features

we

of

of portrayal,

cast

masculine

her

photograph

fresco.

detached

1442,

di S. Maria degli Angeli

relevant

pun

to the worship

reasons?conscious

how

meeting

tearing out of her

of
to

refer

exclude

torture

the

rendering
diseases

for

above,

their

voluntarily

the brutal

ultimately

such

not

for her resistance

intercessor

main;

ca.

Crucifixion,

LAST SUPPER

CASTAGNO'S

York)

in the story of the life

underwent

Apollonia

of

pair

ruggedly
shadows

per i Beni

should

"oral" component

herself.

Apollonia

that

13 Castagno,

Florence)

Fotogr?fico,

AND

AT S. APOLLONIA

Convento

domain;

provided by the Soprintendenza

photograph
Artistici

in the public

(artwork

NUNS

says
was

in

of Jewish

antiquity?Queen
went

authority,
in their

the

turns,

into
be

herself.59

In his study on the new brand of refectory Last Supper,


characterized
its illusionistic
Gilbert perceptively

Creighton
mirroring

of

the

actual

space

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

as a

playing

out,

in

particularly

ART BULLETIN

252

LXXXVIII

VOLUME

2006

JUNE

NUMBER

,??:

Y?i
1 ::
a;?:?'-??lc?Ca;7?,???""""
""""""""?P-"U?Y"I~^"rs?::?

?':

:;4?
3i3?S
?-:

i?i)?
14 Convent

of

S. Apollonia,
plan,
Stato,
Florence,
c.l
82, m.207,
Soppressi,

Archivio

1741.
Convenu

di

in

(artwork

the public

Renaissance

of

can,

the moral

no

be

course,

rationalized

monastery
fact

the

by

convent

and
at

that

from

Supper

the

are

1970s

in

least,

to be

provocations,

art world and its institutions

the more

mural

18),

and

is a

Supper

herself

nude,

theless,

these

logical
inclusion
nuns

charge,
that

when

must

also

they

personages
emotions

may
their

images,

be

seen

artists

precise

intuit

our

such

or

yearning

of
ac

its
and

to

us: an early trecento gold-ground panel of a distaff Last Supper


(Fig. 20), a school of Amiens Priesthood ofMary (dated 1438,
Fig. 21), the Crucifixion of a Female Saint (circle of Hierony
mus Bosch, Fig. 22)?paintings
substitute
that conspicuously
women for liturgical roles and canonical
themes habitually
embodied by male protagonists.60 These should be weighed
the

certain

who

to pursue
the

gamut
religious

women,
holy
could
become

formed,
others

with

along
within

disguised
the monastic

legendary

(the most

freaks

of

in

cross-dressing
sphere:
as Thecla
such
who,
a follower
themselves
life of
of

famous among

nature,

of

Saint

in men's

the

or

of

lives

thus

only
Paul,

trans

the many

clothing
extreme
More

learning.61
the bearded,

them being

transvestism

female

involving

legends

in order

female

Saint Wilgeforte),

the

part

they
sacred

and

to
as

cases

eccentric

that

their

explain
in

topoi,
of
issue

the
was

sphere

in

marriage
these women.62

of

evidence

reveal

religious

more

a male

by
Christian

"virile

their

gender
to some

always

to be

perceived

beginning

stricter,
are

not

says

monastery,"
instinct
is to resist

lance

council
of

the

of

its

the

form,
fundamental

might

pi

that

the

from

concomitantly,
of

than
the

leave

is

the

women,

for men.63

those

of

confinement
If my

for women.64

the
literally
S. Apollonia

the
own

clausura"

"perpetua

the

documents,

in 1421 for surveil

in Florence

its convents

for

enclosure

rule

too
of

virginity was the sine qua

to

the wish

demonstrates

convents
that

and
the

was
sometimes
of nuns
and protection
The
of outside
determining
aggression.
was
that woman,
the
idea
sure,
however,

sexual

which

a more
also had
virility
state
of virginity,
her
guard
There
of constant
vigilance.

to

of
the
pillaging
meant
inhabitants

saints

of

the more

of

it.65

enforcing

had evil or demonic

one

and
idea

to

unrelieved

established
of

the

projection?with

rules

permitted
the Benedictine

security

keep
actively
of
Records
rape

to

and

produced
more

taking
in one

prescribed

special

for

in need

woman

holy
were

unfailingly
"The nuns

also

things
was
certainly

that from the beginning,


the

for

with

identification

the divide.

aim:

defensive

of

considered,

exhortation

this

for women,
and

All

vehicles

could bridge

agreement
non

god.
heroine"

strategies?or

specific
state

terms

human

fundamental

were

the

the

and

gift

and

extent problematic and ripe for fantasy revisions. This applies


to the worldly politics of church hierarchy as well as in the

Yet
for

these

transgression

within

viable

apposite
historically
viewers
unknown

intended

collective

of

think

ous women

psycho

drives

or

sex

of

martyrdom
religious
we
for
realistic
search

existence

the

they beheld

Indeed,
certain

the

as miraculous

perceived
renunciation

self-willed

on

Whether

acceptance

presents

instances

these
the

of

and

community
even
as,

fresco,

aspirations,

exemplars.
to invest

Cox

the

Castagno's

conventional

as moral

to

impelled

race

of

agent

Last

(Fig. 19). None

ambivalence,

have

confronted

us

help

examples
emotional

the

to more

cording

photographic
decorum
the expected
American
artist
Ren?e

in the central place of Christ


notable

(Fig.

Yo Mama's

to

challenge
the African

as

gender,

recent

in

sure,

terms of the contemporary

in

favor

The
this goal transcended
gender boundaries.
principle,
modern feminist works to which I alluded at the outset of this
essay are revealing in this regard. Judy Chicago's Dinner Party
and Mary Beth Edelson's Some Living American Women Artists/
Last

in

beard

the Imitatio Christi. That

between

distinction

to Christian

central

striving

of holiness,

its pursuit

made

Gilbert

of

form,

piety and

domain;

by K. Dahab)

photograph

forces
at

any

time

importance

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

of

become
these

for

this

to real

linked
motivation
as

raging within

and

abduction

the

need

daughter

security

dangers
for enclo
of Eve,

herself, which,
unleashed.

notions

to

Beyond
the Chris

in

THE NUNS

15 Castagno,

end

wall

of

the

of

refectory

S. Apollonia

above (artwork in the public domain; photograph

with

the Last

ingly
Malleus

into

the

implicated
maleficarum,

nature

of

women.
whose

evil

and

the

It culminated,
successive

demonic
as we
printed

and

Supper

AND

the Resurrection,

LAST

CASTAGNO'S

Crucifixion,

and

SUPPER

253

Entombment

provided by Scala/Art Resource, New York)

tian interpretation of the Creation story in the Hebrew Bible,


of
the period of Castagno's Last Supper saw a groundswell
inquiry

AT S. APOLLONIA

that
know,
editions

increas
in

the

from

1486 on quickly made


this text familiar and authoritative,
on
as
it
the heretical
role women
did
centering
played
one might well
witchcraft.
and
Accordingly,
through sorcery
ask
ations

how

the
about

ethical
women's

extremes
nature

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

that
within

characterized
a Christian

consider
universe

254

ART BULLETIN

JUNE

2006

VOLUME

LXXXVIII

NUMBER

16 Castagno,
of
of

refectory

detail

of

end

wall

the

portion

the upper
of the
with

S. Apollonia

the

Crucifixion (artwork in the public


domain; photograph provided by
Alinari/Art

have

would

an

affected

New

Resource,

of

audience

female

York)

in

religious

its

of a subject such as the Last Supper, whose drama


perception
on
its
moral polarities. Certainly, Castagno brings such
pivots
to

tensions

the

terms

formal

and

S. Apollonia,

the

much-noted

frames

the

through
backs

expressively

at

surface

dramatic

slab
Peter

node

in

them

signaling
"marble"

that

Judas

its eruption of thick, high-contrast


ripples of
(Fig. 9). Most striking is the artist's unforgettable
veining
of Judas. Judas's right hand holds up the sop
rendition

Christ with

from

received
tures

that

ing?and
His head
truding

the most
17 Paolo Schiavo, Crucifixion with Nuns
detached

fresco.

S. Apollonia,

domain; photograph
York)

Florence

inDevotion, 1447-49,
(artwork

provided by Alinari/Art

in the

public

Resource, New

art?here
for

crisscross

when

Satan

beard,

long,

biting
actually

to have

associated
enclosure

hooked

follows
palpably

which
from
conveyed

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

ges
bless

refers us to this

entered

and

nose,

the

satyr's

of Judas

embodiment

with

hand

betrayer.

its pitch black hair and pro

characterizations
is the

right

of Saint John
was

of

choreography

good?Christ's

in sharp profile, with

"incarceration"

originally
enon
of

elaborate

evil.66 The Gospel

moment

crucial

in an

Christ

thus

of
the
his

Satan.

notion

ear?one

of

in the history of
The
of

presence,
by Castagno's

necessity
was

clausura
this

phenom
foreshort

THE

18 Mary Beth Edelson,


Women

Some Living

Artists/Last

AND

CASTAGNO'S

-v-ts*

Supper,

**?;^^-^?^^^crs^^"^E|?^^S:??Lp:

SUPPER

255

***
^?ff^?A^^M?^

;^%*'^^^#^>';

provided by the

1972 (photograph

LAST

-::%?

American

AT S. APOLLONIA

NUNS

artist)

ened chamber with the airtight


impression made
by its
all'antica marble facing (Fig. 15).67
To identify Judas by placing him on the viewer's side of the
table had of course become
and would
(Taddeo Gaddi)
remain

Leonardo's

(until

the

example)

conventional

way

of designating
his lapsed moral status, but at S. Apollonia,
deviates
from convention
the profile
by flipping
Castagno
view of Judas so that he appears to the (viewer's) left of
to a

center.68

Ascribing

this

part?a

convenient

way to ensure

and

purely

on

the

artist's

the full visibility of Christ

as

insufficient

John?seems

move

formal

an

the

given

explanation,

intensity of this portrayal of Judas and once we attend


of

"moralized

geography"
Christ's
Entombment

scenes

of

dically

related

to

the

central

the

upper

zone.

and

Resurrection

to the
two

the

There,
are

viewer's

confirmed

by
of

quence

frescoed
stool

on

that

light

receding

which

nuns
ations

Judas

tine

the

that

scene would

consciousness.
convent

of

found
scriptions
when
en's
orders:
judged
and water

to warrant
to be

general

The
the M?rate
in

the

eaten

from

on

not

own.

For

refectory's
have
triggered
room was
sometimes

could

humiliation
and

rigor

have done

of

from

and

elaborates

Benedictine

rules

the

the

refectory.69

the

have

by
a

is also

there

means

of

and bodily

the

of Alberti's

a matter

as significant
and

and

precision
the

being

his

about

Casta

Floren

was

On

to

with
spot

unmistakable

and

the

table,

on

the

it is John's

visual

given

field,
the

the

strict

seem

position
central

symmetry

au

particular

I refer not to

13:23-26),

Jesus'

I had

that

to

in response

which,

in visual representations
the

been

its apparent
context.
This

of John.

(John

back

has
not

intention

arrangement

considering

of him

"leaning

it. Rather,
on

derives

theoretical

the figurai

on

asleep

to all the

illusionistic

is the placement

description

Jesus"

that

before

long

over,

slouching

of

organization

is faithful

which

from

for this fresco

the biblical

tant

its realization,

a feature

case,

speculated

dience

of

coherence

reli

harmonious

perspective?as
literature?does

as the fact of Castagno's

nature

the

in the

to

its women

by Castagno's

for

enacted
seems

that

a more

his fresco

and

community
the combi

subjugation

and

suggested

prescriptions
discussion

some

of

of

for

message

was

men

both

a chastisement

Benedictines

gentler

identification

for

goal?significantly,

was

space

refectory
reserved

been

gious.
But

away

bread

of

of food deprivation

made

or defiant
behavior
slovenly,
was
to a diet
restricted
of
floor

nation

standard motif

pre
wom

the

silence,

banish

meals

sense

sustaining
the

within

associ

on

the

was

rules

she

facedown,

scheduled

in the Benedictine
to

the

little to keep at bay

chronicle

recurring

women?testimony
even
in
that,

that,

re

leashlike

floor.70 While

from

confinement

solitary
censure

next

and punish

severity

to

the refectory

that

specify
or
neck

victim's

her body on

prostrate
ment

further

to the

attached

on

for

general

it, a nun

wooden

furthermore,

to the

surviving
reiterates

careless,

the

the table but just below,

as the site for public

threat

right

se

of

side

three-legged

him,

grounds

that supports

analogous
visually
at S.
this
Apollonia,
image
to the way
their own dining

gno's projected
from

sits

tile floor

to function
ment,

panels

to be

in the

slivers

the

(Figs. 2, 11). The

the step platform


the

at

seems

that

reading
two open

penetrates

marble

chamber

orientation,

earthly

be

details

like the blessed in a Last Judgment?at


the (heraldic) right of
at the left (Fig. 15). By contrast, in
center, the Entombment
to
the lower level of the Last Supper, Judas' s (dis) placement
our left shifts the moral contrast between left and right sides
to the

straint

of his spatial stage. Whether

heral

the Resurrection?

Crucifixion,

accounts

these

occasion,

"reclining

until Leonardo
at

the most

axis,

an

created

became

breast,"

did

axis

impor
that

by

the

is
six

marble panels backing the figures (Fig. 2). In such a compo


sitional system, this placement would be enough to signal his
primary significance, which is further expressed by the dra
matic
inflection of the principal protagonists,
Christ and
we have
turn
to
who
their
attention
him
Once
9).
Judas,
(Fig.
the

nuns

at S.
Apollonia

in mind,

an

aspect

of John's

persona

widely popularized
through texts like the Legenda ?urea and
the subject of popular devotions becomes
the likely motiva

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256

ART BULLETIN

2006

JUNE

VOLUME

LXXXVIII

NUMBER

print, 30 X 150 in. (76.2 X 381 cm)

19 Ren?e Cox, YoMama's Last Supper, 1996, cibachrome


provided by Robert Miller Gallery, New York)

tion for the central placement

of this sleeping

hair
and
smooth-skinned
long, wavy
rations
for Mary's
Jacobus
obsequies,

between

exchange
bearer

to John,
fitting
entire

of

the

de

which

palm,

youth with his

ends

prepa

Describing

with

shall be

the

awarding

it

Peter

"for thou wert chosen a virgin by the Lord; and it is


that the Virgin's palm be carried by a Virgin!"71 If the
illusionistic field of the S. Apollonia
Last Supper stim
nuns

ulated

the

culine

virtue,

breach

of

Sexual

in

faith,

the person

to

themselves

project
chaste

the

of John

aggressiveness

vigilance

center

presents

as prototypical
and

into
against
innate

the

of mas

guise

temptation
sexual

in women

may

and
in

purity

have

been

considered endemic; at the same time, feminine purity, the


virtue embodied by John the Evangelist, was, not surprisingly,
as mirroring
understood
that defining feature of Mary's own
of the Death of the Virgin, her
sanctity. Representations
Assumption,

Pentecost,

and

Christ's

Ascension

had

by

motifs

in
her

then

made Mary a familiar sight in the company of Christ's Apos


tles, so John's centrality in this Last Supper, with his epicene
youthfulness and gentle passivity, could hardly have failed to
conjure up the idea of Mary for this convent audience, just as

the

(artwork ? Ren?e Cox; photograph

fresco

would,

presence.73

visual

by

For

accompany

those

lecterns

and
as

Incarnation,

Domenico,

her

the

in

scenes

as

in Donatello's

by Fra Damiano

the

on

to

pertaining

Annunciation
or

Parma)

the

Garofalo

by

in

sixteenth-century

da Bergamo
in

Furthermore,

Bologna).74

the ends of the


that contain or

throne,

in

prie-dieux
the
painted

classicizing,

(Fig. 23), or especially

in Padua

Nazionale,

tarsia version

of

sides

Mary?the

in the Santo

example

have

association,

example,

sphinxlike guardian figures that punctuate


Apostles' bench often embellish furnishings

(Pinacoteca

virgin youth.72

excess

other

suggested
an

relates

Vor?gine

over who

and Peter

John

virgin's

face.

(Basilica di S.
the

S. Apollonia

fresco, flowering plants pattern the cloth that lines the Apos
tles' bench and hangs on the wall behind Christ and his
disciples (Figs. 9-12). Defined by somewhat more thinly and
loosely applied strokes of paint than are the figures and
these

architecture,
backdrop

or,

at

flowers

times,

to

appear

to grow

from

from

sprout

out

of

the

glass

their

dark

vases

that

rest on

the table, evoking a fertile field that viewers here


to representations
would also have connected
of the Virgin
or the
be
it
the
enclosed garden of the Annunciation
Mary,
within
the
tomb left empty by her
spontaneous
flowering
was
a popular image and
The
latter
this
time
Assumption.
by

20

Pistoian

painter,

Scenes from

the

Life of Saint Irene, 1325-30. Private


collection,

New

York

(artwork

public domain; photograph


by Sotheby's)

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

in the

provided

21

School

of Amiens,

The Priesthood

1438. Mus?e

ofMary,

du Louvre,

Paris (artwork in the public domain; photograph provided by


R?union

one
of

des Mus?es

Nationaux/Art

that Castagno
the

almost

treated
at

frescoes

S. Apollonia

Resource,

New

immediately
in
when,

the

contrast

too,

were

with

the marble

signifiers
a
chastening

suggested,

the

for

revetments
convent

completion
now
panel

above.

in

These,

as we

with

empanelization,

which

have
Alesso

also sealed off his presentation


of the Virgin
Baldovinetti
in the Chapel of the Cardinal of Portugal at S.
Annunciate
Miniato
(Fig. 24).
of Christ
incisive delineation
Indeed, in spite of Castagno's
and

the

demanding
our
way
panels,

field

their

disciples,
a viewer's
eyes
which

as do

Didi-Huberman's

inevitably
actually

diverse
scrutiny,

ages,
we must

gravitate
as

occupy

the all-important
discussions

large

and

types,
also

toward

figures
of

hair

take
those

an

area

of

of

faux

marble

the

pictorial

fictive

of Hieronymus
Venice

Palace,

marble

just
cance

the

the

in

figure
netti's

the

areas
angular
the monastery's
traces

of

ulate

colors

visual
on.77
of

the

Crucifixion
in the public

a Female
of
domain;

have

SUPPER

From

257

Saint.

touch

of

the

so-called

culture
The
contrasting

are
and

of Venice,
square

signifi
intercon

By

colorful

where

Castagno

frameworks

coloration

at

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All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

S.

enclosing
Apollonia

they

in

manip
the
us

engages

marble

had

central

l'oeil

facing
to

worked
serial
also

to

allowed

in the trompe
was

architecture

key
rect

four

replicating

Castagno

inherent

white

Ang?lico
as

at

attempt

that
of

brush

they

in Baldovi

the Shadows

of
Fra

his

contrast,

reminded
interior

of

gestures
over
any

material.76

We

Madonna

is the way

corridor

as

perspective,
of those

the monks/viewers

prevail

their
the

Incarnation,

Didi-Huberman's

and

(completed

to

of

Markers

the

the sense of tangibility

exterior

us

of the birth and death of Christ,

on

east

S. Marco

sensitized

context.

scenes

below

to

stone

rendition.
the

in

example.
effects
possible

actual

Bosch,

at neighboring

Castagnos)
Christian

especially

the

LAST

(artwork

bodily extremes

nected

CASTAGNO'S

by Osvaldo B?hm, Venice)

before

through

gestures

stock

(Figs. 9, 15). Georges

comparable

School

panels by Fra Ang?lico

on

just

22

AND

AT S. APOLLONIA

photograph

York)

audience,

NUNS

Doge's

Berlin, he tellingly clothed Mary with wimple and black man


tle, as if in nun's habit.75 In his Last Supper, this organic
treatment of flowers and foliage is all the more striking given
the

THE

on
the

early
panels

bring

to

ART BULLETIN

258

2006

JUNE

LXXXVIII

VOLUME

NUMBER

beige hatching
against a blue background
hairline
white
veining produces a calmer
interspersed with
at
stone
in
Saint Andrew's place (Fig. 9). Where
the
effect
is marked by
and Thaddeus
Bartholomew
sit, the marble
allover

Christ;

of

striations

veins

(Fig.

white,

the far right,


antico

verde

approaching

written

descriptions?from

vored

the

qualities

rhetorical

us

to orient

"marble"

at S.
Apollonia,

panels

they are not mere


separate

and

copius

in which

ekphrases

marble

natural

the

heavens.79

into

the

more
23
del

Santo,

and

Madonna

Donatello,

Padua

(artwork

provided by Alinari/Art
some

mind

of

the

early

domain;

Chiesa

altar,

photograph

and
aesthetic

powerful
as

at

S.

presbyterial
additions
Saba

on

work

marble

Cosmatesque

churches,

of main

church

enclosures?
to

Rome's

S. Lorenzo

and

fuori

Surveying

Castagno's

fresco

from

left

to

right:

uniformly

James;

lets

color

dramatic
the

square

red-orange,
of marble

black,

white,
at

the

level

and
of

gray
Judas

rivu
and

two

a bearded

fifteenth

stars

toward

in his Treatise

Filarete,
at prayer

in

the

to

envoy

veins
At

S. Marco.80

Spanish

in

well

gravitate

in Venice's

century,

verbally
or

continuing

readings,
sometimes

the

decorative

the

clouds,

rivers,

hermit

of marble

slabs

of

Pro

passages,

are transposed

formed hallucinations:
sees

by

classic

patterns

could

century,

but constitute

the

Sophia

that

the

the
east,

Ruy Gonz?lez de Clavijo, beheld in the natural markings and


veining of certain white marble panels at Hagia Sophia "the
most
Blessed Virgin Mary, who holds our Lord Jesus
. . ."81 Given

Christ.

that

on

a wall
battles,

Castagno's

audience
ary

a viewer's

in Leonardo's

affirmed

animals,

dark bluish green panel is associated with Saints Matthew and


Philip; next comes the porphyry-like slab near Saints Thomas
and

precisely

stains

le Mura.

fifteenth

the

and

colors

meadows,
phenomena:
Such
metaphoric

on Architecture,
connecting
turn of

Resource, New York)

thrones

furnishings?bishops'
were
such
that
medieval

Child, detail
in the
public

facing

into

the

at the Hagia

the

note

Accounts

contain

Silentarius

Paulus

of

potential
once
we

them.

above

context,

Byzantine

especially

zone

discrete

and

sa
Another

stone.78

for the figures

backing

panel.

Vasari?that

actual

rich
in the
especially
to the
transformational

tradition,

serves

of

first

the

remind us of the many

through

varieties

and

blue

greenish

of

color

in the panels
Pliny

by white

interrupted

a darker

the

echoes

visible distinctions

These

black

and

orange,

15). At

the

helping

so

and
revetments

on?we
provided

on

stimulated

further

and optically mesmerizing

24 Alesso

Baldovinetti,

trait
random

heads,
envisage
can
appreciate
convent
the

field and springboard

something

tual level by repetitive

to

artist/viewer

landscapes,
"marble"

with a meditative

experience,

imaginative
propensity?a
comments
about

well-known

for vision
a percep

patterns

Annunciation,

fresco, Chapel of the Cardinal of


Portugal.

S. Miniato,

Florence

(artwork in the public domain;


photograph provided by the
Soprintendenza per i Beni Artistici e
Storici,

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Gabinetto

Fotogr?fico,

Florence)

in

THE NUNS

AND

AT S. APOLLONIA

CASTAGNO'S

LAST SUPPER

259

111

ca. 1455,
Saint Julian,
Castagno,
fresco.
SS. Annunziata,
Florence
in the public
domain;
(artwork
25

provided by Alinari/Art

photograph

New

Resource,

York)

the painted architecture,


white horizontal slabs on
eight design in the frieze
the marble
Traversing
of John the Evangelist in
at

the

tier

upper

can

level

upper

(Fig.

be

such as the shuttling black and


the ceiling or the undulating figure
just below.
panels vertically through the figure
the Last Supper, we arrive once again

15).

For
as

perceived

one

when

stands

the

back,

a dream

if it were

or

vision

that issues from the sleeping John. The central axis of the
juncture of marble panels behind him is aligned with the
base

of

the

cross

above,

version

straightedge

of

Castagno's

tendency to display a visionary object directly above its earthly


subject, seen in such other works as the Vision of Saint Jerome
and

the

Saint

Julian

scene,

both

at

frescoes

(Fig. 25). As basic as the ideas about death


were

to

the

Catholic

at

community

large,

SS.

Annunziata

15).

parallel
Venerable's

visual

link

sometimes
letter

between

clausura

and

at

the

occasion

as in Peter
of

Peter

Eastern

the
Abe

learned

discussions

enclosure

that

to

traditions

his

explain
bearded

to Christ's

compared

number
been

both

the monastic

likens

of

her

Western

invoke

face

clean-shaven

countenance

in the Last

Supper below (Fig. 15).83 Castagno may well have drawn on


these disparate iconographie
traditions. But just as the large

Christ

entombment

invoked by theologians,
to H?lo?se

when

reveals

was

he

several

of

subject
versus

and resurrection
Castagno

where

death,

of
a

Christ,

their more specialized meaning


for this audience by employ
ing the same marble
facing for the tomb of Christ in the
upper zone that he uses for the enclosed chamber below (Fig.
This

lard's

to a body buried alive and that awaits


religious community
the glory of the Resurrection.82
Interestingly, the only figure
that looks directly out at the viewer in the upper zone is the
Resurrected
Christ to our left (Fig. 26). He has been the

female

of

the

in

protagonists
reminder

comforting
so the choice

of

the

Resurrection,

the

of

upper

tier would

women's

youthful,

beardless

through

its

closer

solidarity
Christ

have
with
a

for

resemblance

to the sleeping Saint John and to the female viewers,


the promise of
expressed with immediacy for this audience
transcendence.
In

a more

itant
these

of

mundane

manner,

too,

level could provide mental

the upper

the

scenes

convent.
reveal

In
a

spatial

frescoes

Castagno's

liberation

of
their
abraded
spite
is the
ambience
that

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in

to the inhab
condition,
obverse

of

ART BULLETIN

260

JUNE

2006

VOLUME

LXXXVIII

NUMBER

_i
-i:iI

I:

i
:r

26
r

the sharply delimited


Supper chamber below,
zone

upper

was

at what

chamber

landscape,

look

must

up

have

are

to

terrain

comparable
tombment,
breathing
Apollonia.85
far and wide,

situated

frequently

a nature bathed

by unifying

that
fields
and

the

roof

an

been

the

Resurrection
the

for

There,

on

and

deep

sunlight
the

whose
encompassing

horizon's

Crucifixion,
afforded

restricted

a nun's
basis,
daily
the distance.
into

eyes

by
Piero

of

far back
Those
En

imaginary
at S.
viewers
could

pressed
come

narratives
initial

roam

of

in
as

Accordingly,
sive actions

the

patrons

Supper began

Even

up

of

a shock

to

"nuns"

and

features
of women

for

the

such

as

in

the

York)

were
never

commis

see

inac

been

our

to punctuate
were

passing
context

original
the
preponderance
scenes
of
upper

es

that,

of Renaissance

to a decade

and the Entombment seemed germane


new

New

symptomatic

development
and
viewers

literature.

something

provided by

S.

is nonetheless

the

the upper
of the

the
with
S. Apollonia
in the public
(artwork

Apollonia
has
religious

female
It

of

female

wall

Resource,

at

frescoes

this Last

when

pecially

of

end

domain; photograph
Alinari/Art

information.

"convent"

foreground
views

edge.

sioned

the

panoramic

and stretching

Castagno's
for a group

modern

enclosed

Veneziano,

Castagno's
must
have

otherwise

the

That

cessible

fenestra

vistas developed

Baldovinetti,
against

of

impressive

Domenico

at

undulates
surrounding

space

over

to those distinctive

similar

colleagues
Castagno's
painter
and Alesso
della
Francesca,
figures

by

uninterrupted

(Fig. 15).84 As the nuns did then, so the

can

viewer

especially

originally

tion it now contains


modern

of the Last
projection
if, as I think can be argued,

architectural

detail
the

of
refectory
Resurrection
ii

the

Castagno,
of

portion

style,
sup

generally

it could

ago,

to

reference
of

this
and

the

work.
expres

Crucifixion

to think about from this

with
the conviction
I, for one,
proceeded
a difference
and would
surely made
gender
to consider
be a fruitful
this
work
way
by Castagno.
striking
a female
order
would
have
Does
that patronage
this mean
by
or
even
most
in
the
of
the
determined
choices
all
artist's
that

perspective;
the issue

of

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THE NUNS

of this project? If ingrained traditions of person


ification for John the Evangelist, combined with the compo
sitional choice for his location on this frescoed wall, do not
to this gendered context, it is
suffice to convey his pertinence

realization

a devotional

that

noteworthy
tracted
from

Last

the

Supper

female

within

popular

arm

Granted

such

enfolds

direct

artist

and

this
to

appeal

patron

cherished,
the

youngest

disciple.86
at S.
Apol
as
themselves

convent-viewer

obviously

positioned

well in terms of the burgeoning


artistic role the Last Supper
was coming to play, especially as it had been developing
within the representational
spotlight of the Florentine mon
astery

refectory.

Looking
strictly

I have

speaking,

of women
to

and

artistic

beyond

(religious)
the

phenomena:
and
virile

of

even the projected


to

reiterate

mean

both

the

key
nuns

the

only

sense. With

its broadest

features.

Of

could

have

a painting

Renaissance

the

the

of

opposite
polar
times
in Erwin

eral

the

Apollonia
them

among

realization
our

leaves

may

be

illusion

spatial
that must

in viewers,
more

needs
from,

apart
structured

theological
we wonder
how

by

certain

respect
neously
impact

preparedness
a Renaissance

on

aisle
to

of

its

signals
of an

realization
notion

of
of

creasingly
sense
of his

an
to

the

common

artist

Castagno's

dealt

in
the

and

First
of

power

and facilitated

with

the

Duomo

the

presents

However,
accessibility.
us not
to be too literal
immediate
a

project,

ideal,

especially
even

this

because,
future
or

community
by
areas
at S.
"living"
Apollonia?in
where
upper-story
loggia,
pious

the

nuns

such

com

contrast

expectations

artistic

reception

extensive

of

intention
this

in

simulta

comparison

by

in

da Tolentino

the
and

period,
seems

the
in

artist's

unconsciously?an

the

that

S. Apollonia

is the sheer affirmation


evinced

time,

the
given
clausura
have

obvious

in our
on

audience

broader,

finally,

an

fact

of

the

cultural

same

words,

stricture
to

of

ground
At the

In other

approach

inform?consciously
own
output.

Remarkable,
Benedictine

at

issues.

force

in its audience.

be publicly
accessible.
how would
the
context,

to bear

side

seeing
an "ex

frescoes

Castagno's

mission? His fresco of the equestrian Niccol?


the

but

in

in the scale of the


recognize
a
toward
composition
geared
a visceral
re
provoke
bodily
as conduit
and
also
to, those

not

would

conventual
come

of

incapable

contemplating
the
conceptual

We

in this

and

a work

how

reception.

effect

sponse

in

sustained
us

sev

"Studies

anything

Supper

very

impulse
to the

challenge

would

have

lowered

its women

while

the
as

the

from
table

assertive

works

to

and

mealtimes?87

imagery
and
the

appeal

paradox
which

inclined,

place,

at S.

a
order,

their heads

during

presence

Last

such
Benedictine

place

toward

imperative

indisputably

of

keeping

proceeding
at
when

on

the
readings
the manifest

to commission
rules

not

Does

Apollonia,
of a work

commitment

eyes

focused

and
such

to a more

suggest
Castagno's
Supper,
on the
and flexible
attentiveness
part of its audience
vigorous
a
nuns
and
conviction
about
what
these
would
be destined,
motivated

to

take

in?

isprofessor of art history atFordham University. She

articles
and books on both northern
of several
art. Her
book The
Isenheim
Altarpiece:

and
God's

Italian
Med

icine and the Painter's Vision (Princeton University Press) won


the Charles Rufas Morey Award in 1991 [Department ofArt History
and Music, Fordham University, 113 West 60 Street, Room 423,
New York,N.Y.

10023].

one

invoked

essay
is

of

(school

Notes
I want, first of all, to express my appreciation
to colleagues
and friends at
Smith College
"five colleges") who provided
such a
(and at the surrounding
and stimulating forum for me when, as Ruth and Clarence Kennedy
welcome
in the Renaissance
Professor
of 1995, I first
the spring semester
during
lecture. On the occasion
of her
many of these ideas in a public
presented
I also want to acknowledge
Elizabeth
C. Parker, my longtime
retirement,
in art history at Fordham University's
and
Lincoln Center Campus,
partner
our dialogue about this and many other
readers
subjects. The two anonymous
for The Art Bulletin have my gratitude
for their thorough
and insightful
many aspects of which they will, I hope, find reflected here.
commentary,
Unless otherwise
translations are mine.
specified,
1. See Richard

with

and

reactions

bushman"

who

Last

in

be thought of as

in these frescoes have both demanded

concern

figures
dramatic

also

the

floor

Last Supper,

contemporary

seminal

Panofsky's
other
viewing

as that
Iconology":
in a
of
representation
dinner
cited
party."
The
level of achievement
S.

"Australian

in the

Renaissance

not

does

this work

like Castagno's

and

public

ical

is author

rugged
ele

these Apostles,
this

within which my study is taking place might

the main

di Jacopo Franchi), which shows Saint Apollonia


a
nun?as well as in destination points
Benedictine
blessing
at the convent like the church and the refectory. Should we

Andr?e Hayum

given

the

understood

Crucifixion fresco, or in the


on

doorway

261

images

of

course,

interior

SUPPER

Rossello

indeed,

decorative
participants,
or the marble
revetments,

hanging

an

LAST

CASTAGNO'S

audience

these

perceptions
meal
itself,

space that tightly encloses

certain

that

its male

floral

an

what

have drawn from

particular
communal

sacred

typology
as the
such

ments

nuns'

directives,

patron's

to consider

sought

might

the

identify

or

intention

over

lunette

AND

in Paolo Schiavo's

ing in devotion

see

mainly

orders north

whose

lonia,

ex

sculpture

became

of the Alps; the typical


religious
shows John leaning familiarly against the figure of

example
Christ,

in wooden

type
scene

AT S. APOLLONIA

of identity this
decorations

passageways,
were
shown

such
kneel

as

C. Trexler,
The Nuns of
"Celibacy in the Renaissance:
in The Women of Renaissance Florence, vol. 2
Florence,"
reprinted
(Asheville, N.C.: Pegasus Press, 1998), 6-30. See also Saundra Lynn
and the
Weddle,
"Enclosing Le M?rate: The Ideology of Enclosure
of a Florentine
Architecture
vol. 1 (PhD diss.,
Convent,
1390-1597,"
Cornell University,
1997), esp. 84-105.

2. Giorgio Vasari, Le vite de'pi? eccellenti pittori scultori ed architettori, ed.


Gaetano Milanesi
(Florence: G. C. Sansoni,
1878), vol. 2, 673. This ref
erence occurs in a combined
and Domenico
chapter on Castagno
Veneziano
In an inventory
(667-82).
(Ufficio Catalogo,
Soprinten
denze alle Gallerie)
compiled
by Carlo Pini in January 1863, at the
time of the final suppression
of monasteries
and convents by the Ital
no. 80 refers to the Last Supper in the refectory of
ian government,
S. Apollonia,
but no artist is named.
3. Legislation
in
the suppression
of monasteries
and convents
affecting
Florence began with Grand Duke Pietro Leopoldo,
the next,
1770-85;
more
of religious houses was
thoroughgoing
phase of the disbandment
initiated by the French government
in 1808 (S. Apollonia
appears in
Archivio
di Stato, Florence
[hereafter ASF], Corporazioni religiose sop
were rein
presse dal governo francese, vol. 136, no. 82). The Benedictines
stated at S. Apollonia
in 1824, but by 1866 the Italian government
fi
nalized
the suppression
of this convent. See also Piero Roselli and
Osanna Fantozzi Micali, Le soppressioni dei convenu a Firenze (Florence:
Librer?a Editrice Fiorentina,
1980), 82-83.
Of the streets that now form the boundaries
of this complex,
the
called Via del Campaccio
in docu
(sometimes
parallel Via S. Reparata
ments of the 1840s) and Via S. Gallo are
original. The current en
trance to the museum
is on the Via XXVII Aprile, a street that was cut
Piazza S. Marco and the
through in the nineteeth
century, connecting
This was in the planning
newly created Piazza della Indipendenza.
now in the Archivio
in documents
stages in 1841 and 1842, as revealed
Storico del Comune
di Firenze
(hereafter ASCF) Affare Convento

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ART BULLETIN

262

JUNE

2006 VOLUME

LXXXVIII

NUMBER

Santa Apollonia
of demol
1842, no. 40) that discuss the consequences
side in order to create the
ishing part of the convent on the northeast
street. However,
to judge by contemporary
this project was
guidebooks,
realized only in late 1849 or early 1850. Up through the fifth edition of
the Nuova guida di Firenze (Florence: Editore Angiolo Garinei,
1849),
the maps
included do not yet show the new street, whereas
it
L289d,
in
the
Guida
di Firenze of the following year (Florence: Editore
appears
Vincenzo
it was re
Bulli, 1850), L290. Initially called Via S. Apollonia,
in April 1889 to commemorate
events of April
named
the revolutionary
Stradario storico biogr?fico delta
27, 1859. See also Demetrio
Guccerelli,
citt? di Firenze (Florence: Vallecchi,
1929), 493.
4.

In the course of 1890, the refectory space was made


ready for its open
took place on April 1, 1891. Arte e Storia 9, no.
ing to the public, which
16 (June 25, 1890): 126; no. 24 (September
20, 1890): 182; no. 30 (No
vember 20, 1890): 231; 10, no. 7 (March 31, 1891): 54ff. Articles
in Arte
e Storia 30, no. 3 (March 15, 1911): 90; no. 4
(April 15, 1911): 125, and
a second stage of organization
La Nazione document
of the refectory
into a Castagno museum,
where other works by
space of S. Apollonia
the artist, such as the frescoed Crucifixion from S. Maria degli Angeli
and eventually
the Villa Pandolfini
frescoes, would also be displayed.

5. The

fourth edition of Helen Gardner, Art through theAges, ed. Sumner


Brace and World,
1959), 304, seems to
Crosby (New York: Harcourt,
to reproduce
be the first American
textbook
Last Supper.
Castagno's
it was included,
from the first edition on, in H. W. Jan
Subsequently,
New York:
son, History of Art (Englewood
Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall;
1962), and Frederick Hartt, History of Italian Renais
Harry N. Abrams,
sance Art (New York: Harry N. Abrams,
1969).

6. Eve Borsook,
The Mural Painters of Tuscany, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford
See especially Luisa Vertova, / Cenacoli
Press, 1980), 42-43.
University
Italiana, 1965); and
(Turin: Edizione Radio-Televisione
fiorentini
"Last Suppers and Their Refectories,"
in The Pursuit
Gilbert,
Creighton
in Late Medieval and Renaissance Religion, ed. Charles
ofHoliness
Trinkaus
and Heiko A. Oberman
The
(Leiden: Brill, 1974), 371-402.
of this subject, as destined
for the monas
history of the representation
in Florence,
has,
tery refectory context and in terms of its development
in turn, provided
the orientation
for such later studies as R. Scott
Walker, Florentine Painted Refectories (Ann Arbor, Mich.: UMI, 1979);
in Cristina Acidini Luchinat
and with full-dress colorplates
and Ro
sanna Caterina Proto Pisani, La tradizione florentina dei Cenacoli (Flor
ence: Scala, 1997).
7. Gilbert,
"Last Suppers," 377; Vertova.
I Cenacoli, 31: "II primo refettorio
rinascimentale
florentino
? quello delle monache
benedettine
di Santa
See also Martin Wackernagel,
The World of theFlorentine Re
Apollonia."
naissance Artist, trans. A. Luchs
Press,
(Princeton: Princeton University
1981), 127.
to a
8. Jaynie Anderson
takes stock of these questions
in her introduction
special issue of Renaissance Studies 10, no. 2 (June 1996) that is devoted
to the subject women patrons of Renaissance
David
art, 1300-1600.
"Woman as Artist and Patron in the Middle Ages and the Re
Wilkins,
in The Roles and Images ofWomen in theMiddle Ages and Re
naissance,"
of Pitts
naissance, ed. Douglas Radcliff Umstead
(Pittsburgh: University
Isabella d'Est? and Gioanna
de
burgh Press, 1975), 107-31, highlights
Piacenza as exemplary
female collector and/or patron of the arts, in
an essay that the author called, at the time, "a prolegomena
for further
study" (107).
9. Key to these developments
has been the work of several European
his
see Anna Benvenuti
torians. For the later medieval
Papi. whose
period,
are collected
in "In Castro Poenitentiae"
essays starting in the mid-1970s
(Rome: Herder Editrice e Librer?a, 1990). Gabriella Zarri is important
not only for her own publications
since the early 1970s on female sanc
tity and female religious communities
through the late Renaissance,
in the Bolognese
but also as a catalyst for further re
milieu,
especially
search by other scholars, through organizing
conferences
and editing
several significant anthologies.
Jeffrey Hamburger,
placing
special em
set an
phasis on the visual culture of nuns in the medieval
period,
in The Rothschild Canticles (New Haven: Yale Uni
important precedent
versity Press, 1990). For a brief overview of this general
subject, see
"La donna,
la fede, l'immagine
Dominique
Rigaux,
negli ultimi secoli
del medioevo,"
in Donne efede: Santit? e vita religiosa in Italia, ed.
Lucetta Scaraffia and Gabriella
Zarri (Rome-Bari: Editori Laterza e
orders, see Jeryldene M. Wood,
Figli, 1994), 157-75. For the Franciscan
Women, Art, and Spirituality: The Poor Clares of Early Modern Italy (Cam
Press, 1996); Gary M. Radke, "Nuns and
University
bridge: Cambridge
Their Art: The Case of San Zacear?a in Renaissance
Venice," Renais
sance Quarterly 54, no. 2 (Summer 2001): 430-59;
and, most recently,
treatment of the subject by Anabel Thomas, Art and
the comprehensive
Piety in theFemale Religious Communities of Renaissance Italy (Cambridge:
Press, 2003).
University
Cambridge
10. See Ann M. Roberts,
"North Meets South in the Convent: The Altar
in Pisa," Zeitschrifi fur Kunstge
of Alexandria
piece of Saint Catherine
"Nuns and Altarpieces:
schichte 2 (1987): 187-206; and Julian Gardner,
for Research," R?misches Jahrbuch der Biblioteca Hertziana 30
Agendas

are Filippo Lippi's altarpieces


of the
(1995): 27-58. Notable
exceptions
Annunciation
and Coronation of the Virgin for the convents of S. Ambro
in Florence,
and their treatment by Megan Holmes,
gio and Le M?rate
Fra Filippo Lippi, the Carmelite Painter (New Haven: Yale University
Press,
Le Suore. Altarpieces
for Two Floren
1999), esp. chap. 9, "Representing
tine Benedictine
I benefited
from
Churches,"
215-44;
Nunnery
Holmes's
readings of these works already as put forward in "'Frate Fi
Fra Filippo Lippi and Florentine
Renais
lippo di Tommaso
Dipintore':
sance Religious
Practices"
(PhD diss., Harvard University,
1993).
11. Kate Lowe, "Women's Work at the Benedictine
Convent
of Le M?rate
in Florence:
Suora Battista Carducci's Roman Missal of 1509," in
Women and theBook, ed. Jane H. M. Taylor and Lesley Smith (London:
British Library; Toronto: University
of Toronto
Press, 1997), 133-46.
Lowe cites such activities as
Apart from the copying of manuscripts,
fabrics, and gesso reliefs. She
producing
gold thread, linen and woolen
in her recent book Nuns' Chronicles and Con
expands on this account
vent Culture in Renaissance and Counter Reformation Italy (Cambridge:
Press, 2003), esp. chap. 8, "Convents and Art,"
Cambridge
University
318-94. Radke,
"Nuns and Their Art," refers to needlework
and certain
some of the
discusses
objects in gold and silver. Jeffrey F. Hamburger
awkwardnesses
and idiosyncrasies
of the images produced
by the nuns
to Nuns as Artists (Berkeley: University
in the introduction
of California
Press,

1997).

of main docu
12. For monograph,
raisonn?, and reprinting
catalogue
ments on the artist, see Marita Horster, Andrea del
Castagno (Ithaca,
N.Y.: Cornell University
Press, 1980). A significant
separate study of
Last Supper is Dominique
Castagno's
Rigaux, Un banquet pour l'?ternit?:
La C?ne d'Andr?a del Castagno (Paris: Mame,
1997), an extremely
treatment accompanied
and theologically
informed
thoughtful
by ex
cellent reproductions.
This monographic
essay does not, however,
dwell on the issue of gender or on the fresco's particular patronage
more
and audience
of women?the
since Rigaux did just
surprising
that in her earlier study of the stylistically more modest
in
decorations
the refectory at the convent of S. Anna at Foligno
(see n. 42 below).
Eckart Marchand,
"Monastic Imitatio Christi: Andrea del Castagno's
Ce
nacolo di S. Apollonia," Artibus etHistoriae 24, no. 48 (2003): 31-50, fol
in stressing the stimulus to contemplation
lows Rigaux
of these paint
as individual exemplars.
The essays
ings, with the Apostles
functioning
combined
in Rosanna Caterina Proto Pisani, ed., Luce e disegno negli
affreschi di Andrea del Castagno (Livorno: Sillabe, 2000), were occasioned
that spring, of the frescoes at S. Apollo
by the conservation
campaign,
nia.
13. Sir J. A. Crowe and G. B. Cavalcaselle
attribute
the work to Castagno
not in their first (1864) edition of A New History of Painting
in Italy but
in the subsequent German
translation, Geschichte der italienischen Malerei,
vol. 2 (Leipzig: S. Hirzel,
1870), 41, adding that the fresco had some
times been thought to be by Paolo Uccello.
Three years later, Susan
Horner
and Joanna Horner, Walks in Florence, vol. 2 (London: Strahan,
Cenacolo as a work by Castagno
1873), 183, include the S. Apollonia
and praise his handling
of the composition
and delineation
of figures.
Jacob Burckhardt,
by the third edition of his Cicerone, vol. 3 (Leipzig:
E. A. Seemann,
the fresco in his account of
1874), 883, also discusses
oeuvre.
Castagno's
14. Vasari,

Le vite, vol. 2, 674-79,


embellished
and, through the agency of
a murder
rendered more accessible
story already narrated by
printing,
Antonio
Billi in the later years of the fifteenth
century and relayed by
the An?nimo magliabecchiano
(ca. 1540). II libro di Antonio Billi (Le sue
(Florence,
copie nella Biblioteca Nazionale di Firenze), ed. C. von Fabriczy
1891; reprint, Farnborough:
1969); and L'anonimo
Gregg International,
ed. A. Ficarra (Naples: Florentino,
1968), 106.
magliabecchiano,

in 1956, is reprinted
15. Meyer Schapiro's
in Theory
essay, first published
and Philosophy of Art: Style, Artist, and Society (New York: George Bra
ziller, 1994), see esp. 182-85.
16. See Vasari, Le vite, vol. 2, 677, for a close description
of Castagno's
now-lost Death of the Virgin at S. Maria Nuova. Female religious, both as
patron and as subject, also had an important place in this artist's ca
reer. In addition
to S. Apollonia,
Vasari, 672, reports that Castagno
a fresco of Saint
worked for the nuns at S. Giuliano. At SS. Annunziata,
Jerome having a vision of the Holy Trinity shows him flanked by fe
male clerical saints, Paola and her daughter Eustochium.
The artist's
for the no-longer-existing
(commissioned
altarpiece of the Assumption
church of S. Miniato
fra le Torri, now in the Gem?ldegalerie,
Berlin)
in clerical garb. See Marita Horster, Andrea del
the Virgin
presents
Castagno, 34ff., 181ff., 27, 177, pis. 7, 3.
17. See Catherine

Matrons,
King, "Medieval and Renaissance
Italian-Style,"
Zeitschrift f?r Kunstgeschichte 55, no. 3 (1992): 372-93; and Kate Lowe,
in Medicean
"Nuns and Choice: Artistic Decision-Making
in
Florence,"
With and Without theMedici, ed. Eckart Marchand
and Alison Wright
Art and Piety,
1998), 129-53. Anabel Thomas,
(Cambridge: Ashgate,
Bodies:
and Less
Insiders, Outsiders,
esp. chap. 20, "Commissioning
Familiar Asides," discusses variations
in respect to responsibility
for pa
contexts.
conventual
tronage in differing

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THE NUNS

18. John R. Spencer, Andrea del Castagno and His Patrons (Durham, N.C.:
Duke University
Press, 1991), 106ff.; and Lowe. "Nuns and Choice,"
136.
19. Marita

und seine Werke der


Horster,
"Castagnos Fresken in Venedig
15 (1953): 103-34;
vierziger Jahre in Florenz," Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch
and Radke, "Nuns and Their Art."

in the S. Tarasio Chapel was commissioned


22. The main altarpiece
by the
Abbess Elena Foscari and Prioress Marina Donato
and executed
by An
tonio Vivarini, Giovanni
and Ludovico
da Forli. Inscrip
d'Alemagna,
tions on the two smaller side altarpieces
also clearly identify its nun
patrons.
23. Neri

di Bicci, Le ricordanze (1453-75),


ed. Bruno Santi (Pisa: Marlin,
1976), 393, no. 736 (June 8, 1472): "Richordo ch'el sopradetto d? i' ?
tolto a fare fare di legniame e dipigniere
dalla badessa e monache di
Santa Apollonia di Firenze una tavola. ..." (my emphasis).

24.

Ibid.: unella quale vogliono in mezzo dipinta Nostra Donna


chol Figliuolo
e Santo
in chollo e da-llato ritto Santo Benedetto
vestito biancho
e Santa Chate
Lodovicho
veschovo, da man sinistra Santa Apollonia
rina...
." (my emphasis). Neri's formulation
regarding a Coronation
of the Virgin for the convent
is further revealing
in this regard. Ibid.,
414, no. 771 (July 17, 1473), where the artist records having turned
over to the nuns at S. Apollonia the
for their
completed
altarpiece
church: "Richordo ch'el sopradetto di rendei finita di tuto alle monache di
Santa Appollonia una tavola d'altare per la loro chiesa. ..." (my empha
sis). This panel has been identified with Neri's Coronation in the Galle
at S.
r?a dell'Accademia,
is currently being displayed
Florence, which
Apollonia
along with his Sacra Conversazione.

25. A wall of the trecento church has frescoes by Cenni di Francesco with
individual scenes from Saint Apollonia's
life. See Giuseppina
Bacarelli
e una leggenda
Novit?
in?
Locoratolo,
"Sant'Apollonia:
iconografiche
dita," Paragone 33, nos. 383-85
1982): 101-7. Saint
(January-March
Apollonia,
along with Saints Lucy, John the Baptist, and Jerome,
flanked a now-lost central section of the main altarpiece
for the con
vent's remodeled
life
church, as events from Apollonia's
Cinquecento
and legend detail the surviving predellas painted by Francesco Gra
nacci in 1516-17. Christian Von Hoist, Francesco Granacci (Munich: Ver
She is also represented
in one
1974), figs. 97-107.
lag F. Bruckmann,
of the pendentives
of the cupola, frescoed by Bernardino
Pocetti
of the Virgin. At the front of the
shortly after 1600 with a Coronation
tribune was an altarpiece by Agosto Veracini with Saint Apollonia
in
below.
glory in the upper register and a scene with Saint Benedict
Paolo Pierleoni, Denti e santi, il mito di Apollonia
(Milan: Stampa Galli
1991), 13-21.
Thierry,
26. Regula del Sanctissimo Benedetto Patre nostro: Tradutta in quelle parte che con
vengono a noi monache (Venice, 1529), New York Public Library, Spencer
an apparent wing of an altar
Collection.
For Filippino Lippi's painting,
"ANew Monumental
piece, dated ca. 1483, see Millard Meiss,
Painting
attrib
by Filippino Lippi," Art Bulletin 55 (1973): 479-93. A painting
uted to Vitale da Bologna
the
Saints
in the
(George Kaftal, Iconography of
1978], 87, no. 26a, fig.
Painting ofNorth East Italy [Florence: Sansoni,
in the garb of a Benedictine
114) shows the single figure of Apollonia
nun. The other female saint sometimes
shown with Benedict
is, of
course, his sister, Scholastica.
"Per l'architettura
27. See especially Bacarelli,
florentina," who includes
contracts dating to March
of agreements made between Ce
1441/42
cilia Donati and two bricklayers for work to be undertaken
on the large
cloister of the convent, visible on the plan of the convent
(Fig. 14) and
still to be viewed from the original
on the inte
lower-story fenestration
rior long wall of the refectory.

S. APOLLONIA

AND

CASTAGNO'S

LAST

SUPPER

263

"Altre note"; Spencer,


28. Fortuna,
Castagno and His Patrons, 106; and
Frederick Hartt and Gino Corti, "Andrea del Castagno: Three Disputed
di Piero di Giovanni
Dates," Art Bulletin 48 (1966): 228-33. Apollonia
Firenze's name as abbess at S. Apollonia
has been found in documents
in February

starting
29.

20. See Giuseppe


Richa, Notizie istoriche d?lie chiese florentine, pt. 4 (Florence:
Pietro Gaetano Viviani,
1759), esp. 300ff., Lezioni 25, 309-10, Lezioni
"Altre note su Andrea del Castagno," LArte,
26; Alberto M. Fortuna,
n.s., 26, year 60, no. 3 (July-September
1961): 165-76; Giuseppina
"Per l'architettura florentina
del quattrocento:
Il chiostro di
Bacarelli,
Rivista d'Arte57, 4th ser., 1 (1984): 133-63; and Spen
Sant'Apollonia,"
IV placed S. Apollo
cer, Castagno and His Patrons, 102ff. Pope Eugene
nia directly under papal jurisdiction,
the convent by order
expanded
of smaller neighboring
such as S. Paolo
institutions,
ing the absorption
in Pinti and S. Maria a Mantignano,
the convent
and, by releasing
from certain debts and taxes and allowing for the sale of some of its
saw it increase its revenues.
properties,
"Per l'architettura florentina."
For the situation at S. Zac
21. Bacarelli,
see especially Radke, "Nuns and Their Art"; see also
charia in Venice,
Nuns as Patrons of
Mary-Ann Winkelmes,
"Taking Part: Benedictine
Art and Architecture,"
in Picturing Women in Renaissance and Baroque
and Sara F. Matthews Grieco
(Cam
Italy, ed. G?raldine A. Johnson
discus
Press, 1997), 91-110. Winkelmes's
bridge: Cambridge
University
sion of the sixteenth-century
decorations
for the Milanese
Benedictine
convent of S. Maurizio,
in another
section of the same article, is also
in its evaluation
of apparently unmediated
decisions made
important
by its nuns as patrons.

AT

6, 1446.

See the introductory


remarks by Caroline A. Bruzelius
and Constance
to special issue of Gesta 31, no. 2 (1992), and Bruzelius,
H. Berman
ca. 1213-1340,"
Clarissan Architecture,
83-91.
"Hearing Is Believing:
Here
is discussed
the evolution
of the nuns' choir, which was at first
situated in a manner
that afforded no direct line of sight to the altar.
to the growing
in response
of Eucharistie
devo
Eventually,
importance
the altar with grated openings
the nuns
tion, a place behind
permitted
to view the altar at the moment
of the elevation of the Host.
In dia
"Nuns and Altarpieces,"
and Jeffrey F. Hamburger,
logue with Gardner,
in the Guise of
and the Curia Monialium:
"Art, Enclosure
Prolegomena
a Postscript," Gesta 31, no. 2 (1992): 108-34, both of whom
emphasize
on nuns' access to the art in their convents, Radke,
the restrictions
more
"Nuns and Their Art," posits
nuanced
of "framed
possibilities
and controlled"
rather than prohibited
viewing for the nuns, a more
flexible
situation also sensitively characterized
by Winkelmes,
"Taking
of the convent of S. Maurizio
in Milan.
Part," in her discussion

30. That we do not find written evidence of the exact seating arrangement
in surviving documents
and habitual
probably reflects how accepted
such an arrangement
not in need of recording. How
was, something
are instructive in this
ever, certain depictions
regard, for example,
Pietro Lorenzetti's
panel from the polyptych of S. Umilt?, now in the
Galler?a degli Uffizi, Florence
(Carlo Volpe, Pietro Lorenzetti, ed. Mauro
Lucco
[Milan: Electa,
1989], 179, cat. nos. 141-64, fig. 144). This
panel shows nuns seated at a table running along one side of the room
as well as the front end wall, a second
long wall being hidden from our
view. A horseshoelike
format is indicated
in certain relevant Florentine
now in the Louvre, Saint
(such as a predella by Fra Ang?lico,
examples
Dominic Served by theAngels, in Gilbert,
"Last Suppers," fig. 4). The com
scene and Giovanni Antonio
this predella
positional
similarity between
treatment of the same subject in a refectory
Sogliani's
sixteenth-century
at the monastery
of S. Marco
suggests that a fresco by Fra Ang?lico
to Sogliani's depiction
may well have been precursor
(Gilbert, "Last
is visible in sev
Suppers," 381ff., fig. 3). Such a format for the table(s)
eral Last Supper scenes, such as Cosimo Rosselli's
at S. Giorgio
alia
at S. Onofrio
Costa and Perugino's
di Foligno
(Vertova, / Cenacoli, fig.
"Plautilla Nelli's Last
22, pi. 23). See comments
by Ann M. Roberts,
of Dominican
in Plau
Supper and the Tradition
Refectory Decorations,"
tilla Nelli (1523-1588):
The First Woman Painter ofFlorence, ed. Jonathan
Nelson
(Fiesole: Cadmo,
2000), 44-55.
31. Regula

del Sanctissimo Benedetto, fol. 35v

32. Meditations
(Princeton:

(38v).

on the Life of Christ, ed. Isa Ragusa and Rosalie


Princeton University
Press, 1961), 309-17.

B. Green

33. Regula del Sanctissimo Benedetto, chap, xli, fol. 22v: "A che hora sia con
veniente
che le sorelle mangino,"
where
it is advised that the evening
so that lamplight will never be needed;
meal should be scheduled
this
passage ends (fol. 23r), "Ma & da ogni tempo de lanno lhora della
cena & della refectione
sia in tal modo
che con la luce ogni
temperata,
cosa facia finita."
34.

Ibid., fol. 23v: "bevono


con due mane
quando
chieri di vetro. . . ."

in refectorio
beveno: ma

nelle coppe di terra, tenendole


in altri luoghi possino usare bic

35. Plan of convent dated 1741, ASF, Convenu


82, m.207, cl.
Soppressi,
One can still see the imprint of the original door frame on the refecto
room (origi
ry's outside wall from what is now an enclosed
contiguous
nally the small "Cortile del Silenzio"). This and other details were re
vealed to me in a memorable
of the entire complex of S.
walk-through
several years ago in the expert company of Brenda Preyer.
Apollonia
that valuable orientation,
I now owe her a tre
Having
acknowledged
mendous
debt of gratitude
on
for last-minute Florentine
interventions
and in clearing the bureau
my behalf to secure missing photographs
cratic paths necessary
for their publication.
36. Arte e Storia
1891): 54ff.
in
windows
mento, exh.

9, no. 30 (November
30, 1890): 231; 10, no. 7 (March 31,
The 1891 notice also mentions
the closing up of the two
the upper zone. Mostra di quattro maestri del Primo Rinasci
cat., Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
(Florence: Tipograf?a Giun
tina, 1954), 141ff., cat. no. 59, refers to the 1953 restoration by L.
Tintori
in which
the sinopia drawings of the upper scenes were first
to light. I want to thank
for generously
brought
Giorgio Bonsanti
join
on one occasion,
ing me at S. Apollonia
during the summer of 1996,
to review at firsthand aspects of the present condition
of this entire
wall of frescoes.

37.

Theferusalem
27:55-56.

38. Caroline

Bible

Walker

(Garden

Bynum,

City, N.Y.: Doubleday,

1966),

62; Matthew

Holy Feast and Holy Fast: The Religious

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Signifi

ART BULLETIN

264

canee of Food
1987).
39.

Ibid., 80, 88.

40.

Ibid.,

41.

JUNE

toMedieval

2006 VOLUME

Women

LXXXVIII

(Berkeley: University

NUMBER

of California

126, 125.

Ibid., 59, 116, 124.

see Vertova,
the example by Perugino,
/ Cenacoli, pis. xxm-xxv.
at the Convent of
"The Franciscan Tertiaries
Dominique
Rigaux,
at Foligno," Gesta 31, no. 2 (1992): 92-98.
Sant'Anna
43. Cronache delMonastero
(Bibl. Naz.), Flor
(M?rate), Biblioteca Nazionale
of Vasari's Last Supper 2&
ence, II, II, 509, 139v, 176. For discussion
see Lowe, Nuns' Chronicles.
mentioned
in this chronicle,

42.

to this privilege
1439. Reference
is also found in Regula del Sanctissimo
there is good reason "se
Benedetto, fol. 21v, every Sunday or whenever
condo la licentia data alii monachi
da papa Eugenio
quarto."

Press,

For

54. The most elaborate


is in Jean Fouquet's manuscript,
representation
done within a decade of Castagno's
S. Apollonia
frescoes, for Etienne
Chevalier
ill. in Fran?ois Avril, ed., fean Fou
(Mus?e Cond?, Chantilly),
Nationale
de
quet: Peintre et enlumineur du XVe si?cle (Paris: Biblioth?que
actu
rendition
France/Hazan,
2003), 214, no. 24.46. This sophisticated
scene
of the event. The culminating
ally treats a theatrical presentation
from the life of Saint Apollonia
and its illustration
is also a recurring
as in a 1492
Sacre Rappresentazioni,
subject in early printed Florentine
version in the Bibl. Naz., Florence
(BR 189 S 614d). See also Nerida
and Other Martyred Virgins: Did Floren
Newbigin,
"Agata, Apollonia,
tines Really See These Plays Performed?"
in European Medieval Drama,
ed. Sydney Higgens
(Camerino: Universit?
degli Studi di Camerino,
1997), 175-97. It appears on one of the predella panels by Francesco
now in the Accademia
in Florence,
for the main altarpiece
of
Granacci,
an ex
the church at S. Apollonia
(see also n. 25 above). Accordingly,
tracted tooth held by Saint Apollonia
within a pair of tongs became
as we see in Neri di Bicci's altar
in visual representations,
her attribute
to the Benedictine
rules
piece for the convent and in the frontispiece
for women,
both mentioned
above (Figs. 5-7). Apollonia
is also some
times shown in disputation
with the doctors of the church, as in an

44. Vasari, Le vite, vol. 5, 79; this occurs while reviewing the works of sev
artists within
eral women
the chapter on Properzia de' Rossi, 73-81.
on Nelli
in Nelson,
See the papers from the symposium
Plautilla Nelli,
to Jonathan Nelson
for including me in
127-32, pis. 3-8. I am grateful
a small group, several years ago, for which he arranged access to see
canvas. Nelli's Last Supper now hangs in the modern
this enormous
friars at S. Maria
(not the original)
refectory used by the Dominican
Novella.
coat of arms appears on the fresco, the wife of Filippo
45. As the Manfredi
for the
Manfredi, Monna Vaggia, who died in 1345, has been suggested
not accepted,
identification
of this figure, something
however, by An
drew Laddis, Taddeo Gaddi (Columbia: University
of Missouri
Press,
1982), 172-73.
46. Caroline Walker Bynum,"Women
in
Mystics and Eucharistie Devotion
the Thirteenth
Century," Women's Studies 2 (1984): 179-214.
at the present refec
in the small anteroom
47. This work is now exhibited
in Museo
Storico To
tory entrance. A plan of the convent, formerly
now in ASCF, amfce 0394 (cass. 11, ins.
"Firenze Com'era,"
pogr?fico
contains written annotations
D), with an attributed date of 1808-10,
on the lower right that refer to this painting
still in situ, "In una p?rete
un
nella terrazza del primo piano vi esiste un fresco rappresentante
Cristo in Croce, opera di Paolo di Stefano fatta nell' anno 1442." Anna
Padoa Rizzo, "Aggiunte a Paolo Schiavo," Antichit? Viva 14, no. 6
is "signed and dated by Paolo Schiavo
(1975): 3-8, says this picture
1448." But, as noted by Luciano Berti, "Appunto su Andrea del
a San Zacear?a," Acropoli 3, no. 4 (1963): 261-92,
the chrono
Castagno
the left side, that of
logical evidence of two papal coats of arms?at
the painting must have
Eugene TV, at the right, Nicholas V?means
IV on February 23, 1447.
been begun before
the death date of Eugene
at the bottom of the
In fact, the date inscribed
in Roman numerals
appears to include four Xs before fading out at the end:
painting
1449 the latest possible
which would make
D.M.CCCC.XXXX[-],
of this work.
year of completion
48. Eve Borsook,"Cults
and Imagery at Sant'Ambrogio
in Florence," Mittei
Instituts in Florenz 24, no. 2 (1981): 147-202.
lungen des Kunsthistorischen
Documents
cited by Borsook make evident the close association
be
even in regard to practical artistic
tween S. Ambrogio
and S. Apollonia
matters
and exchanges.
See also Laura De Angelis,
"Un libro antico
della Sagrestia di Sant'Ambrogio,"
Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore
di Pisa, 3rd ser., 4, no. 1 (1976): 97-102. Blue pigment was sent from
to S. Apollonia
to be employed
Venice
by Filippo Lippi in his Corona
tion of the Virgin, the main altarpiece
for S. Ambrogio.
This painting,
on January 21,
now in the Uffizi, was, in fact, taken to S. Apollonia
it was brought
touches by Lippi, before
for finishing
1446, presumably
in January 1447?thus,
in the very
back to S. Ambrogio
seemingly,
years Castagno was at work on his frescoes at S. Apollonia.
49. On the technical
level, some of the objects on the table were treated a
secco. These passages have flaked off and thinned out over time, which
to making
the details of the table setting less than clearly
contributes
legible. Placed toward the back of the tabletop are several plates, hold
it is this de
of small, rock-shaped
objects. Presumably,
ing low mounds
tail that Hartt, Italian Renaissance Art (4th ed., 1994), 271, refers to
on the table.
salt as one of the items appearing
when he mentions
and Holy Feast, 93, 134, 165ff.
da Capua, 5. Caterina da Siena: Legenda maior, trans. P.
(Siena: Edizioni Cantagalli,
1994), 188, no. 170, 322,
Tinagli
Giuseppe
sanno con me quanto fosse
no. 312: "Tutti quelli che la conobbero,
verso il santissimo Corpo del Si
grande e sp?ciale la sua devozione
tanto che, per riceverlo
la voce che
spesso, corse fra il pop?lo
gnore,
al
Caterina
si comunicasse
ogni giorno, e con questo senza prendere
tro cibo, vivesse mantenendosi
in perfetta
salute." The original Latin of
was soon translated
into the vernacular,
and
this life of Saint Catherine
version became one of the first printed books to
this Italian-language
in
sisters of S. Jacopo di Ripoli
be issued in 1477 by the Dominican
Florence.

50. Bynum,
51. Beato

"Women Mystics,"

Raimondo

52. Regula del Sanctissimo Benedetto, chap, xxxix, fol. 22r: "Delia misura
cibi," fol. 22v: "Della misura del bevere," fols. 23, 23v.
53. ASF, Diplom?tico

lunghe

Sant'Appollonia

di Firenze,

October

18,

de

other of the predella narratives by Francesco Granacci.


Public speaking
for a female subject was exceptional. When
it was, at times, exemplified
of Siena.
by a female saint, it would most
typically be by Catherine
Given the bodily site of Apollonia's
and teeth,
torture, at the mouth
to a veritable miracle.
this capacity in her case amounts
55.

I am thinking here of the terminologies


of style used by Renaissance
writers such as Alberti and Cristoforo
Landino
(Disegnatore, Amatare delle
in Michael
Baxandall,
diff culta, Scorci, and so on) as discussed
Painting
and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford Univer
"Pictures
139-46.
and
esp.
sity Press, 1988), pt. 3,
Categories,"

"La tipologia
'virile' nella biograf?a e nella lettera
Atti del Congresso Internazionale di Studi Cateriniani,
Siena/Rome, April, 1980 (Rome: Curia Generalizia,
1981), 198-222.
n. 68.
57. Bynum, Holy Feast, 318-19
56. Umberto Mattioli,
tura cateriniana,"

58. Marina Warner, Monuments


and Maidens: The Allegory of theFemale Form
and Nicolson,
1985), 163ff.; and Yael Even,
(London: Weidenfeld
of the Female Hero,"
"Mantegna's Uffizi Judith: The Masculinization
nos. 1-2 (1992): 8-20.
Konsthistorisk Tidskrift61,
59. Creighton
"On Castagno's Nine Famous Men and Women:
Gilbert,
Sword and Book as the Basis for Public Service," in Life and Death in
Fifteenth-Century Florence, ed. Marcel Tetel, Ronald G. Witt, and Rona
Goffen
Press, 1989), 174-92. Here
(Durham, N.C.: Duke University
the interesting point that Castagno
is exceptional
Gilbert makes
among
as exemplary
in portraying women
civic models.
his contemporaries
see
and Maidens,
For Mariological
Warner, Monuments
164ff.;
meaning,
in the Renaissance
and especially Elena Ciletti, "Patriarchal Ideology
of Judith," in Refiguring Woman: Perspectives on Gender and
Iconography
the Italian Renaissance, ed. Marilyn Migiel
and Juliana Schiesari
(Ithaca,
N.Y.: Cornell University
Press, 1991), 35-70.
in the lower
central female at table, whose martyrdom
is depicted
as the
register of the distaff Last Supper (Fig. 20), has been identified
Saint in Tus
saint Irene by Brendan Cassidy, "A Byzantine
Byzantine
for the Solution of a Trecento
cany: A Proposal
Enigma," Arte Cristiana
the panel is attributed
83, no. 769 (July-August
1995): 243-56, where
to an anonymous
Pistoian painter,
interest for
1325-30. Not without
our purposes was the purchase
of this picture at auction by the pop
star Madonna
(Sotheby's, Important Old Master Paintings, New York, Jan
see
uary 17, 1992, lot 16, as "Master of 1310"). For the Louvre picture,
1400-1500
Grete Ring, A Century of French Painting
(London: Phaidon,
1949), 218, no. 158, pi. 97; and Charles Sterling and H?l?ne Adh?mar,
Mus?e National du Louvre: Peintures ?colefran?aise XTV, XV etXVI si?cles
is
des Mus?es Nationaux,
(Paris: ?ditions
1965), 16, no. 40. There
that the coats of arms and date of 1462 inscribed above
agreement
were later additions
to the picture, which was commissioned
by Jean du
in 1438.
of Puy Notre-Dame
Bos, master of the confraternity
d'Amiens,
The most recent labeling of the Sacerdoce de la Vierge, acquired by the
Louvre in 1938, refers to the "Ma?tre des Heures Collins." The cruci
as being in the
fied female saint is part of a triptych that is recorded
of the Doge's Palace already in Antonio Maria Zanetti, Della
collection
a jubilee exhibi
pittura veneziana (Venice, 1771). In the 1958 catalog of
tion at the Rijksmuseum
(150 faar Rijksmuseum: Middeleeuwse Kunst der
1958, no. 73, pi. 39), the work was
Noordelijke Nederlanden, Amsterdam,
identified as Triptych with Martyrdom of Saint fulia. For an overview of
to Bosch and con
the issues regarding
the attribution
of this painting
the identification
of the crucified female figure, also thought
cerning
see Roger H. Marijnissen,
to represent Saint Wilgeforte,
Hieronymus
Bosch: The Complete Works (Antwerp: Mercatorfonds,
1987), 260-69.

60. The

61. The

early fifteenth

century was, of course, witness

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to the living example

THE NUNS

in masculine
of a heroine
guise in the person of Joan of Arc. Apart
from male dress, cutting off the hair is a frequent feature in accounts
of the transvestism of female saints. From a considerable
literature
"Female Saints in Mascu
dealing with this subject see Marie Delcourt,
in Hermaphrodite
line Clothing,"
(London: Studio Books, 1961), 84-102;
"Female Transvestite
in Early Monasticism,"
Viator 5
John Anson,
in Pagan
(1974): 1-32; and Mary Ann Rossi, "The Passion of Perpetua,"
and Christian Anxiety, ed. Robert C. Smith and John Lounibos
(Lan
Press of America,
ham, Md.: University
1984).
ou Ontcommer,"
Le
"La l?gende de sainte Wilgeforte
62. Jean Gessler,
Les
and Hyppolyte
Folklore Braban?on 15 (1936): 307-401;
Delahaye,
(Brussels: Soci?t? des Bollandistes,
1927), 44,
l?gendes hagiographiques
of Paris about
103ff., 195, 198. In the artistic and intellectual milieu
Nadar and the novelist-critic
1900, the portrait photographer
J. K.
took a particular
interest in the phenomenon
of bearded
Huysmans
women
as with a statue of the cruci
saints and their representations,
to this more
fied Saint Wilgeforte
found in Beauvais. For references
see Sylvie Aubenas,
modern
cultural context,
"Beyond the Portrait, be
yond the Artist,"
Philippe N?agu,
1995, 95-106.

in Nadar, by Maria Hambourg,


exh. cat., Metropolitan
Museum

Fran?oise Heilbrun,
of Art, New York,

and Its Effects on


63. Jane Tibbetts
"Strict Active Enclosure
Schulenburg,
inMedieval Religious Women, ed. John
the Female Monastic
Experience,"
A. Nichols
and Lillian Thomas
Shank, vol. 1, Distant Echoes (Kalamazoo,
Mich.: Cistercian
Publications,
1984), 51-86; and idem, "The Heroics
in Women in
of Virginity?Brides
of Christ and Sacrificial Mutilation,"
theMiddle Ages and theRenaissance, ed. Mary Beth Rose
(Syracuse: Syra
cuse University
Press, 1986), 29-72.
64. Regula
uscire

del Sanctissimo Benedetto, fol. 33r: "Le Monache


la clausura del monas tero."

non possono

65. ASF, Diplom?tico


di Firenze, June 20, 1435.
lunghe, Sant'Appollonia
see Gene Adam Brucker,
For Florentine
surveillance
of convents,
in
in Quattrocento
"Monasteries, Friaries, and Nunneries
Florence,"
and John Hender
Christianity and theRenaissance, ed. Timothy Verd?n
son (Syracuse: Syracuse University
Press, 1990), 41-62.
treatment of Judas within
the context of
66. For an illuminating
general
see Birgitte Monstadt, Judas beim Abendmahl
Last Supper representations,
1995), 166-78 for Castagno's
(Munich: Scaneg Verlag,
example.
"doorless chamber" as "sealed
67. Leo Steinberg
aptly describes Castagno's
an "encapsulation
of human fig
off," its "company as if enshrined,"
footnote
ures," in an extended
(n. 11) in "Leonardo's Last Supper,"
Art Quarterly 36 (Winter 1973): 297-410.
But rather than seeing in
of some contextually
relevant
these features a metaphoric
expression
such as clausura, he discusses
them in terms of a not yet
condition,
of the scene, something
that, in Steinberg's
fully developed
handling
in effect, improve oil
and other later artists would,
view, Ghirlandaio
and correct by providing
evidence of a place of entry and exit
plausible
for their figures.
68. A conspicuous
later example of this placement
of Judas at left of cen
ter, his profiled head facing to the right, is in Plautilla Nelli's
large
for her convent of S. Caterina da Siena at Piazza S. Marco
painting
one cannot help but wonder
if, as
(see also n. 44 above). Accordingly,
a woman
not Benedictine,
she
(albeit of a Dominican,
order),
religious
refec
might at some point have had access to the nearby S. Apollonia
tory.
69.

in refettorio mangi
Cronache delMonastero
(M?rate), fol. 47r: "laMattina
in terra solo pane et vino," fol. 47v: "et chi non fussi con l'altre alia
la sua parte in terra." The general for
beneditione
della mensa, mangi
in refettorio"
is repeated on fols. 47v, 48r. Re
mula "facci la disciplina
gula del Sanctissimo Benedetto, fol. 5r: "e degiuna una volta in pane e
in terra in refectorio.
..." 7r: "Ma chi contrafara
aqua, mangiando
cose degiuni
in pane e aqua in terra in refectorio
nelle preditte
totiens

quotiens."
70. Regula del Sanctissimo Benedetto, fol. 34 (37): "digiuni una volta in pane
con la correg?a al eolio."
in terra in refectorio
& aqua, mangiandolo
dica quivi in
Cronache delMonastero
(M?rate), fol. 47v: "et transgredendo
neces
penitentia
cinque Pater bocconi in terra," or "chi senza occasione
il silentio dica una volta il salmo Miserere Mei Deus
saria vi romper?
esca di refettorio"
prostrata in terra bocconi, prima che il convento
(my
for reviewing with me the termi
emphasis). My thanks to Elissa Weaver
nology as well as the customs in these cases and for steering me, all
as here: Francesca
references,
along, toward significant bibliographical
in Donna disciplina
Bianchini,
"Regola del vivere, regola del convivere,"
creanza cristiana dal XV al XVII sec?lo, ed. Gabriella
Zarri (Rome: Edi
zioni di Storia e Letteratura,
1996), 189-204.
The Golden Legend, trans, and ed. Granger Ryan
71. Jacobus de Vor?gine,
and Helmut
(New York: Arno Press, 1969), 452. I first articu
Ripperger
in one of three public lectures as Ruth and
lated these observations
at Smith College
in spring 1995.
Clarence Kennedy Visiting Professor
Birgitte Monstadt, Judas beim Abendmahl, 178, also importantly notes

John's
dolph

AT S. APOLLONIA

placement
of Saxony

AND

CASTAGNO'S

LAST SUPPER

the meditational
here, emphasizing
writings
in connection
with John's state of virginity.

265

of Lu

recent study of the phenomenon


of the virginity of
enlightening
and the theme of his kinship with Mary is Jeffrey F.
John the Evangelist
"Brother, Bride and Alter Christus: The Virginal Body of
Hamburger,
in Medieval Art, Theology
and Literature,"
in Text
John the Evangelist
und Kultur Mittelalterliche Literatur 1150-1450,
ed. Ursula Peters (Stutt
2001), 296-327.
gart: J. B. Metzler,

72. An

73. Not

treated these
only paintings but also the Sacre Rappresentazioni
see Nerida Newbigin,
"Cene and Cenacoli in the As
themes, for which,
cension and Pentecost
of Fifteenth-Century
in
Florence,"
Companies
(Kalamazoo, Mich.: Me
Crossing the Boundaries, ed. Konrad Eisenbichler
dieval Institute Publications,
such as Jean
1991), 90-107.
Theologians,
Gerson,
apparently
grappled with the thought of Mary's participation
in the Last Supper
itself. See Margaret R. Miles,
"The Virgin's One
Bare Breast," in The Expanding Discourse, ed. Norma Broude and Mary
D. Garrard
(New York: Harper Collins,
1992), 26-37; and Hilda Graef,
Mary: A History ofDoctrine and Devotion, vol. 1 (London: Christian Clas
Dan
and Sheed and Ward,
sics, Westminster
1963), 313ff. Whether
Brown's positing of an actual female figure
identified as
(although
for the John the Evangelist of Leonardo's
Last Supper
The Da Vinci Code is done with any awareness of the
associative
tradition of John the Evangelist with virgin
long-standing
of this
youth and Mary is an open question. The author's presentation
as a heretical
feature,
long suppressed by the official church, suggests
an answer in the negative.

Mary Magdalene)
in the bestseller

Annunciation
74. For Garofalo's
Parma, inv. no.
(Pinacoteca Nazionale,
372), see Anna Maria Fioravanti Baraldi, 77 Garofalo (Rimini: Luise Edi
tore, 1993), 224, fig. 154. The intarsia Annunciation was kindly brought
see P. Venturino
to my attention by Claire Renkin,
for which,
Alee, II
cow intarsiato di San Domenico in Bologna (Bologna: PDUL Edizioni
Stu
dio Domenicano,
relief by Agostino
2002), 121, pi. 40. A small marble
di Duccio, Metropolitan
Museum
of Art, New York, also shows a sphinx
at the side of the seat of a clerically garbed female figure, formerly
thought to represent Mary. This appears most recently in Keith Chris
tiansen, ed., From Filippo Lippi toPiero della Francesca: Fra Carnevale and
theMaking
Press,
(New Haven: Yale University
of a Renaissance Master
2005), 238, no. 39. The female figure joins right hands with a youthful
Christ who holds up a scroll with his left hand. James Draper's
catalog
of this subject as Saint
entry informs us of the newer identification
the rules of the order, but adds, "The
Bridget of Sweden receiving
feet endows her low throne with the authority of
sphinx at Bridget's
the Virgin Mary's Sedes Sapientiae." For general discussion
of the motif
of the sphinx, see Andr? Chastel,
"Note sur le sphinx ? la Renais
also on the so-called Ma
sance," Archivio di Filosofa 5 (1958): 179-83;
see John Shearman, Andrea del Sarto, vol. 1 (Ox
donna of theHarpies,
ford: Clarendon
Press, 1965), 48ff.; and Heinz Demisch, Die Sphinx:
Geschichte ihrerDarstellung von den Anf?ngen bis zur Gegenwart (Stuttgart:
Urachhaus,

1977).

75. See n. 16 above.


76. Georges Didi-Huberman,
Fra Ang?lico: Dissemblance
of Chicago Press,
J. M. Todd
(Chicago: University

trans.
and Figuration,
1995), esp. 28-34.

in the Baptistery of San


77. See Debra Pincus, "The Stones of Venice
Marco: Eastern Marbles
inWestern Mosaics,"
in Architectural Studies in
Memory of Richard Krautheimer, ed. Cecil L. Striker (Mainz: Philipp von
Zabern,
1997), 137-41; and Paul Hills, Venetian Colour: Marble, Mosaic,
Press, 1999),
(New Haven: Yale University
Painting and Glass 1250-1550
and Mosaics,"
23-55.
esp. chap. 2, "San Marco: Marbles
78. Pincus, "Stones of Venice," provides an important
summary of the dif
ferent types of marble,
their geographic
derivations
and possible
signif
to the ever growing
orientation
literature
icance, as well as a welcome
on the subject. I am also
to
Irina
and
Alex
Oryshkevich
grateful
Nagel
for sharing aspects of their knowledge
about the long history of de
scriptive writings on stones and gems.
79. Relevant passages from the writings of Procopius
and Paulus Silentarius
are contained
in Cyril Mango,
The Art of the Byzantine Empire: Sources
and Documents
Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall,
1972), 76, 85ff.
(Englewood
This is not the place to rehearse a comprehensive
but for
bibliography,
a few provocative
of the representation of marble,
considerations
both in
see Jurgis Baltrusaitis, Aber
and by way of written descriptions,
painting
rations (Paris: Olivier Perrin, 1957), esp. "Pierres imag?es," 47-72; John
in Late Antiquity," Art History 3,
"Abstraction and Imagination
Onians,
no. 1 (March 1980): 1-23; and Didi-Huberman,
Fra Ang?lico, 28-34 and
see also Fabio Barry, "Painting in Stone: The
throughout;
Symbolic
in the Arts of Antiquity
until the Age of
Identity of Colored Marbles
(a pr?cis of a major forthcoming
Enlightenment"
study, Center 23,
CASVA, National Gallery of Art, Washington,
D.C., 2003), 48-51.
80. Filarete's Treatise on Architecture, trans. John R. Spencer,
2 vols. (New Ha
ven: Yale University
Press, 1965), vol. 1, bk. 3, 31. This passage seems
on a similar case expounded
to depend
by Albertus Magnus, whose

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266

ART BULLETIN

influential Mineralia
teenth century.

JUNE

2006 VOLUME

was written

shortly after

LXXXVIII

the middle

NUMBER

of the thir

trans. Guy
81. Ruy Gonz?lez
de Clavijo, Embassy to Tamerlane, 1403-1406,
Le Strange
and Sons, 1928), 75. I am
(London: George Routledge
at Fordham,
to acknowledge
for
Kimberly Bowes, my colleague
pleased
me with this text by Clavijo, for generously
bib
acquainting
providing
to other such ekphrases, especially from the Byz
references
liographical
re
antine context, and for the stimulation
of our ongoing
discussions
lating to this rich subject.
litt?raires et
82. Pierre Ab?lard, Pierre le Venerable: Les courants philosophiques,
artistiques en Occident au milieu du Xlle si?cle; Actes et memoirs du colloque
international (Paris: ?ditions
du Centre National
de la Recherche
Scien
tifique, 1975), 23-27, for this letter in Latin; 29-37 for an early transla
tion into French. For this metaphoric
enclo
parallel between monastic
see also Hartt, Italian Renaissance Art (4th ed.,
sure and entombment,
Carthusian monk
1994), 270, who brings up the fourteenth-century
of Saxony in this connection.
Ludolph
83.

See, for example, Luciano Berti, "Miniature dell'Angelico


(e Altro),"
esp. 305 n. 29, for a short survey of
Acropoli 2, no. 4 (1962): 277-308,
the early history of bearded
and beardless
of Christ.
representations
/ Cenacoli, 35-36; and Borsook, Mural Paint
Also discussed by Vertova,
ers of Tuscany, 87. Rather than in terms of a strict contrast between
bearded
and beardless Christs, Marilyn Lavin, The Place ofNarrative
of Chicago Press, 1990), 146ff., sees in Castagno's
(Chicago: University
a cycle of increasing rejuvenation,
counterclock
presentation
moving
wise from the bearded Christ in the Last Supper, through the Entomb
ment and Crucifixion above, and culminating
in the clean-shaven
Christ
of the Resurrection at the upper left side of the wall.

84. Two ground plans of the convent dating to 1824 (Museo di Firenze
Com'era, ASCF, Reali Fabbriche,
2097, inserto 10; see also n. 3 above)
on the Last Supper wall of the refectory
that do show a pair of windows
were drawn up on the occasion
of the reinstallation
of Benedictine
nuns at S. Apollonia
after the convent's
suppression
by the French gov
ernment
in 1808, when
the need arose to segregate a small place for
a confraternity
been meet
the Buca di S. Antonio,
that had meanwhile
the plans dating to 1741 (see n. 35
however,
ing there. Significantly,
above and Fig. 14) do not indicate any windows on that wall of the re
at this west/northwest-oriented
of exposure
fectory. The desirability
inhabitants or for
wall, either in terms of the comfort of the convent's
is at the very least open to question,
the visibility of the frescoes,
and,
one notices
on the Via S. Reparata,
from outside
the building,
that
n.
were
at
some
two
these
windows
36 above).
point walled up (see also
The fact that their place in the original program has gone mainly un
stems from their apparent function
in separating
doubted
three dis

tinct narrative events (Resurrection,


But
Crucifixion,
Entombment).
the treatment of certain motifs within
the fresco itself suggests a uni
fied field. For one thing, the undulating
horizon
line appears to be
a feature that would be reinforced
continuous,
by the way the flying
from one side of the wall to the other across the
angels are distributed
in fact, wind up
entire width of the sky. The existing arched windows,
two of those six angels atop voids or negative areas. Addition
stranding
the tombs in the Resurrection
squares that comprise
ally, the marble
zones
and Entombment,
rather than fitting neatly into their respective
on either side of the windows,
are actually interrupted
at the window
of the
level, certain photographs
edge (where, on an archaeological
section, as if the wall had
sinopias reveal a highly uneven,
damaged
been broken roughly). Seemingly
of
unconcerned
with the presence
these windows
and dealing
rather with the chronology
of the frescoes,
in Hartt and Corti, "Castagno: Three Disputed
Frederick Hartt,
Dates,"
nevertheless
sheds light on what the intended
rationale and effect of
the scene as a whole might have been: "a continuous
narration before
.. .": in other words, a mode
a vast, open landscape.
of presentation
related to Masaccio's
in the Tribute Money in S. Maria del Carmine,
where successive moments
of the story coexist within one coherent
space.
terms about the pure
"Taking Part," speaks in parallel
in murals decorating
the chapels that radiate from the
landscapes
nuns' passageway
along the outside of the choir at the Benedictine
convent of S. Maurizio
in Milan. Her interpretation
has merit
in its
to the conventual
technical
context, even if subsequent
responsiveness
later date for
analysis of these landscape murals has suggested a much
their completion.
See Sandrina Bandera
and Maria Teresa Fiorio, eds.,
a Milano: Gli
Bernardino Luini e la pittura del Rinascimento
affreschi di San
Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore
(Geneva: Skira, 2000), 115-16.

85. Winkelmes,

86. Reiner Haussherr,


Zum Prob
"?ber die Christus-Johannes-Gruppen:
lem 'Andachtsbilder'
und deutsche Mystik,"
in Beitr?ge zur Kunst des
Mittelalters: Festschrift f?r Hans Wentzel, ed. R. Becksmann,
U. D. Korn,
and J. Zahlten
and
(Berlin: Gebr?der Mann Verlag,
1975), 79-103;
in Mystik am
Ewald M. Vetter,
"Das Christus-Johannes-Bild
der Mystic,"
im Breisgau
Oberrhein, exh. cat., Augustinermuseum,
Freiburg
Karl Schillinger,
1978), 37-50, nos. 1, 2.
(Freiburg: Druckerei
87. Regula del Sanctissimo Benedetto, fol. 9r, speaks of demonstrating
humility
through the body itself, in whatever place in the convent and in what
ever attitude: "sedendo, andando,
stando, stia sempre con el capo incli
de suoi
nato, con li occhi defixi in terra, estimandosi
sempre culpevole
In the Cronache del Monastero
(M?rate), fol. 47v: "Chi non terra
peccati."
li occhi fissi in su lamensa
..."
rizzisi in pi?, et dica un Ave Maria.

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