The rise of the mendicant orders in the later Middle Ages coincided with rapid and dramatic shifts in the visual arts. The mendicants were prolific patrons, relying on artworks to instruct and impress their diverse lay congregations. Churches and chapels were built, and new images and iconographies developed to propagate mendicant cults. But how should the two phenomena be related? How much were these orders actively responsible for artistic change, and how much did they simply benefit from it? To explore these questions, Art and the Augustinian Order in Early Renaissance Italy looks at art in the formative period of the Augustinian Hermits, an order with a particularly difficult relation to art. As a first detailed study of visual culture in the Augustinian order, this book will be a basic resource, making available previously inaccessible material, discussing both well-known and more neglected artworks, and engaging with fundamental methodological questions for pre-modern art and church history, from the creation of religious iconographies to the role of gender in art.
’[The] bibliographic survey is especially useful since some of the scholarship, much of it published in Europe, is not accessible as it should be... This admirable collection is an indispensable reference for anyone seeking to understand the diversity of the order's artistic programs...’ Renaissance Quarterly ’The series of essays in this volume raise thought-provoking and important questions about how the Augustinians negotiated their intellectual and spiritual commitment to the ideas of St Augustine, including his image theory, with their choice of style, iconography and subject matter for the works of art that they commissioned. Within the larger context of the great rise of the visual arts in this period and the contingent shift in the style and content of images, the authors of this volume provide innovative and varied interpretations of the relationship between art and institutions.’ Journal of Ecclesiastical History