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Alberto Aringhieri and the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist

Title: Alberto Aringhieri and the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist: Patronage, Politics, and the Cult of Relics in Renaissance Siena.
Name(s): Smith, Timothy B., 1969-, author
Freiberg, Jack, professor directing dissertation
Pietralunga, Mark, outside committee member
De Grummond, Nancy, committee member
Neuman, Robert, committee member
Department of Art History, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2002
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: The reliquary chapel of Saint John the Baptist in Siena Cathedral, built between 1482 and 1504, provides valuable insight into an important cultural and historical moment in late fifteenth century Italy. This dissertation explicates the meaning of the chapel and its multi-media decoration on three levels: the viewpoint of the patron, Alberto Aringhieri; the significance for the city of Siena; and in response to the knightly Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. For Aringhieri, the chapel continued a tradition of commemoration on the part of his family. The portraits painted by Pinturicchio depict Aringhieri and his son Luzio underscore the dynastic content of the monument while stressing the membership of these figures among the noble ranks of the Knights of Rhodes. The chapel's civic significance is revealed by reference to the ancient Roman and early Christian heritage of Siena. The all' antica façade is related to the codification of the Siena's Roman past by local humanists, and the presence of Saint Ansanus, baptizer of the Sienese, in the interior makes clear the city's venerable place in the history of Christianity. Another level of civic meaning in terms of Siena's politically-turbulent relationship with Florence is suggested by the importance of Donatello's bronze statue of the Baptist, which could have been read both as a confirmation of Sienese supremacy over their traditional rivals and as supportive of the Florentine government. Alberto and Luzio Aringhieri's membership in the Order of Saint John (Knights Hospitaller of Rhodes) is directly relevant to the decoration and function of the chapel. The Knights' devotion to John the Baptist and their interest in relics of this saint are vital for understanding the chapel's meaning for its patron and other local members of the Order. The traditional role of the Hospitallers as protectors of sacred relics and is continued by the painted Aringhieri Knights that flank the chapel entrance on the interior. The enduring importance of the chapel was underscored in the mid-seventeenth century by Pope Alexander VII who used the monument, which he refurbished, as a model for his new Cappella del Voto located in a pendant position across the transept. The pope's interests in the chapel reflect the same familial, civic, and knightly issues important for the original patron, Alberto Aringhieri.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-1673 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Art History in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Fall Semester, 2002.
Date of Defense: November 1, 2002.
Keywords: Siena, Alberto aringhieri, Art history
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory committee: Jack Freiberg, Professor Directing Dissertation; Mark Pietralunga, Outside Committee Member; Nancy de Grummond, Committee Member; Robert Neuman, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Art -- History
Architecture -- History
Archaeology -- History
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

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Smith, T. B. (2002). Alberto Aringhieri and the Chapel of Saint John the Baptist: Patronage, Politics, and the Cult of Relics in Renaissance Siena. Retrieved from