Focusing on artists and architectural complexes which until now have eluded scholarly attention in English-language publications, Apostolic Iconography and Florentine Confraternities in the Age of Reform examines through their art programs three different confraternal organizations in Florence at a crucial moment in their histories. Each of the organizations that forms the basis for this study oversaw renovations that included decorative programs centered on the apostles. At the complex of GesA(1) Pellegrino a fresco cycle represents the apostles in their roles as Christ's disciples and proselytizers. At the oratory of the company of Santissima Annunziata a series of frescoes shows their martyrdoms, the terrible price the apostles paid for their mission and their faith. At the oratory of San Giovanni Battista detta dello Scalzo a sculptural program of the apostles stood as an example to each confratello of how Christian piety had its roots in collective effort. Douglas Dow shows that the emphasis on the apostles within these corporate groups demonstrates how the organizations adapted existing iconography to their own purposes. He argues that their willful engagement with apostolic themes reveals the complex interaction between these organizations and the church's program of reform.
Douglas N. Dow is Associate Professor of Art History at Kansas State University, USA.
Contents: Introduction; Alessandro de' Medici and the Florentine archdiocese at the end of the cinquecento; 'Maledictus enim homo, qui opus Dei facit negligenter': Giovanni Balducci's frescoes of the Risen Christ and the Apostles in the church of GesA(1) Pellegrino; 'Essere amorevole della casa': the sculptures of the Apostles in the oratory of San Giovanni Battista detta dello Scalzo; 'Far bene per i vivi, e morti': the frescoes of the martyrdoms of the Apostles in the atrium of the oratory of Santissima Annunziata; Conclusion; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.