Cover image for From Giotto to Botticelli: The Artistic Patronage of the Humiliati in Florence By Julia I. Miller and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell

From Giotto to Botticelli

The Artistic Patronage of the Humiliati in Florence

Julia I. Miller and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell

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$74.95 | Hardcover Edition
ISBN: 978-0-271-06503-8

264 pages
9" × 10"
34 color/47 b&w illustrations/3 maps
2015

From Giotto to Botticelli

The Artistic Patronage of the Humiliati in Florence

Julia I. Miller and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell

From Giotto to Botticelli presents a comprehensive study of the Church of the Ognissanti in Florence as a way to better understand the ideology and interests of the Humiliati, a religious order whose art patronage has been unjustly neglected. This fascinating study sheds new light on how the Humiliati shaped art to suit their changing goals as they moved from poverty and humility to secular pleasures and wealth. Sumptuously illustrated, thoroughly researched, and well written, this book convinces the reader of the critical importance of an order whose patronage was momentous for the history of art.”

 

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In From Giotto to Botticelli, Julia Miller and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell explore the three-hundred-year rise and fall of the Humiliati (“Humbled Ones”), a religious order infamous for its attempt to assassinate Saint Carlo Borromeo and ultimately suppressed, by papal bull, in 1571. This book focuses on the order’s artistic patronage and considers the major works by artists such as Giotto, Donatello, Botticelli, and Ghirlandaio that the Humiliati commissioned for the Church of the Ognissanti in Florence. Miller and Taylor-Mitchell reveal how the Humiliati promoted their public image through the visual arts and examine the themes and ideas in these works. The Humiliati have received remarkably little scholarly attention to date, in part because of their suppression and eradication by the Church. This is one of the first comprehensive historical studies of this important religious order and the central role the Humiliati played in the history of Italian art. From Giotto to Botticelli will appeal not only to art historians but also to scholars of history, religion, and cultural studies, as well as to members of the general public.
From Giotto to Botticelli presents a comprehensive study of the Church of the Ognissanti in Florence as a way to better understand the ideology and interests of the Humiliati, a religious order whose art patronage has been unjustly neglected. This fascinating study sheds new light on how the Humiliati shaped art to suit their changing goals as they moved from poverty and humility to secular pleasures and wealth. Sumptuously illustrated, thoroughly researched, and well written, this book convinces the reader of the critical importance of an order whose patronage was momentous for the history of art.”
From Giotto to Botticelli is a major contribution to the history of Florentine churches. Julia Miller and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell’s fascinating book elucidates how the paintings created for the Humiliati monks at the Church of the Ognissanti represented their religious ideals of charity and humility, even though their monastic order did not always adhere to its stated convictions, was often plagued by controversy, and rarely submitted to reforms.”
“In their well-illustrated and highly readable From Giotto to Botticelli, Julia Miller and Laurie Taylor-Mitchell provide the first account of the Humiliati order’s entire history in Florence. The Humiliati, a mendicant order active in the wool industry, commissioned many masterpieces for their church, the Ognissanti, including Giotto’s Madonna and Child in the Uffizi and his Dormition of the Virgin in Berlin, Donatello’s St. Rossore sculpture in Pisa, and Botticelli’s and Ghirlandaio’s figures of church fathers, still in situ. The authors’ research offers context for understanding these major works of art.”
“Thanks to an attentive, well-documented, very articulated micro-historical reconstruction of the Humiliati’s commissions between 1239 and 1561, this study offers a most rigorous scholarly attempt to identify and explain the distinctive visual features as well as the recurrent iconographies generated by the Humiliati in direct relation to their spiritual mission and devotional practices. . . . The result is very insightful research, in which the authors convincingly demonstrate how the imagery created by the Humiliati reflected and interacted with their deliberate ideological agenda. A pleasure for undergraduates and general readers.”
“Eloquently written and lucidly organized. . . . Miller and Taylor-Mitchell have made a significant contribution to our knowledge of monastic and lay patronage in Renaissance Florence.”
“An important contribution to the study of an often neglected religious order. It will undoubtedly serve as model for future studies on the visual culture of the Humiliati and hopefully, as the book’s appendix surely intends, spur future work on less-studied sites.”
“Lucidly written, logically organized, and handsomely illustrated, From Giotto to Botticelli narrates the founding, rise, and fall of the Humiliati order, specifically exploring the visual strategies used to promote a corporate identity particular to this reformed monastic congregation. Miller and Taylor-Mitchell broaden our understanding of Italian devotional life by going beyond Franciscan and Dominican spirituality, and their book is a welcome complement to recent studies on the Augustinians, Benedictines, Camaldolese, and Carmelites.”

Julia I. Miller is Professor of Art History at the California State University, Long Beach.

Laurie Taylor-Mitchell was Associate Professor of Art History at Hood College. She is currently an engaged activist for public education in Baltimore County.

Contents

List of Illustrations

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. The Origins of the Humiliati and Their Early History in Florence

2. The Beginnings of Humiliati Art in Florence: Giotto and His Shop at Ognissanti

3. Giovanni da Milano’s Ognissanti Polyptych and Humiliati Art in the Later Trecento

4. The Early Quattrocento at Ognissanti: Donatello and the Cult of Saint Rossore

5. Ghirlandaio and Botticelli in Ognissanti

6. Decline and Disgrace

Epilogue: A Damnatio Memoriae: The Afterlife of the Humiliati

Appendix: Humiliati Churches by City and Dedication

Notes

Bibliography

Index

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