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HistAntArtSI - Historical Memory, Antiquarian Culture, Artistic Patronage: Social Identities in the Centres of Southern Italy between the Medieval and Early Modern Period
news 22/03/2012

HistAntArtSI at the Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America, Washington DC

Washington D.C., 22–24 March 2012



Organizer: Bianca de Divitiis (ERC / Università degli Studi di Napoli)

Chair: Julian Gardner (University of Warwick)

Respondent: Caroline Elam (Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center)



SESSION I (n. 10111)



Grand Hyatt, Constitution Level,Constitution D


Bianca de Divitiis (ERC / Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

Historical Memory, Antiquarian Culture, and Artistic Patronage in the Centers Renaissance Southern Italy



The paper introduces the first official presentation of a five-year project funded by the European Research Council, hosted by the University of Naples “FedericoII” which has the final aim to establish a balanced view of southern Continental Italy between the late medieval and early modern period, in order to reintroduce to the study of European history an element of comparison which has in effect been lost. The paper will discus how the use of textual sources and of local antiquities influenced the methods of self-representation adopted by elite individuals and local communities in theKingdomofNaples. By illustrating cases, such as Nola,Capua,Gaeta, andSalerno, the paper will examine the conscious and strategic use of sources and of the antique in the composition of new texts and in the commissioning of artistic and architectural works.


Francesco Senatore (Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

Literacy and Memory in Cities of Southern Italy in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries



During the Renaissance life in Southern Italian cities was characterized by written records, produced for every economic, cultural, political activity by private people, city officers, kingdom officers, and notaries. Such documents were normally preserved by families, city governments, central archives of the kingdom. They were often used and manipulated in order to build the identity of families and cities in different contexts: request for privileges and fiscal exemptions, nobilitation; trails; historiography and literature. Which were the forms of such documents? Are they similar across the entire kingdom? When and how were the local archives organized? Are there analogies in the use of archival sources in the local histories? Although the topic is vast, it is possible to find general tendencies and similarities thanks to some examples from different Southern Italian cities.


Lorenzo Miletti (ERC / Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

Ambrosius Leo’s De Nola (1514): Between Antiquarian Culture and Local Identity



This paper will focus on the antiquarian literature produced in the most prominent towns of the Kingdom of Naples from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and will briefly examine a work in particular, namely Ambrosius Leo’s De Nola, a book that set a model for the following local historiography of the Italian peninsula. In De Nola, printed in Venice in 1514, Ambrogio Leone describes and praises the Roman antiquities of his birthplace, the Campanian town of Nola, discussing in detail Greek and Latin sources, and elaborates — with the aid of the painter Girolamo Mocetto — some noteworthy maps of both the ancient and the modern Nola, which constitute the combined result of his own autopsy and his use of literary sources. The paper will illustrate how Leone’s antiquarian and philological skills, along with the pride of the Nolan identity, concur to produce an encomiastic portrait of the town.



SESSION II (n. 10211)



Grand Hyatt, Constitution Level,Constitution D


Fulvio Lenzo (ERC / Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

The Seggi in the Kingdom of Naples: Architecture, Antiquities, and Identity



Since late-medieval times and until the end of the eighteenth century, the Seggi or Sedili were the expression of the autonomous power of the towns throughout theKingdomofNaples. Almost every town had one or more Seggi where the most ancient families used to meet in order to make decisions for the community. The word Seggio indicated at the same time the institution and the seats used by the nobles for their meetings. These buildings were often composed as an open arcade and covered by a dome or a cross vault. The Seggi were also the preferred places for locating antiquities and ancient inscriptions of the towns, and were object of interest of foreign travelers since the sixteenth century. This paper will look at the surviving buildings of the Seggi both as architectural documents of the antiquity of the local families and as expression of civic identity.


Fernando Loffredo (ERC / Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

Artistic Patronage of Feudal Families in Campania between the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries



During the early modern period some important families in theKingdomofNaplesdeveloped a desire for self-representation in the centers of their fiefs. Sometimes these overlooked projects reached an outstanding ambition. This is the case of Nola, where the Albertini erected a group of tombs in San Biagio’s apse, and commissioned a marble copy of the Ordoñez’s Epiphany. Other examples are the Cristoforo Caetani tomb in Fondi, inspired by the Donatello’s Brancaccio monument, and the Carafa chapel in Montecalvo Irpino, typologically close to the Carafa di Santaseverina chapel. This paper aims to examine the monumentalization of private memory by the feudal élites, as well as the patterns used in such process. It will also analyze the architectural language and the works of art, considering the relations between sacred spaces and pantheons. This comparative approach seeks to set a methodological example for research on traditionally overlooked centers ofSouthern Italy.


Francesco Caglioti Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II)

Renaissance Marble Chaples in the Kingdom of Naples: A Comparison between the Capital and Calabria



The paper is focused on three exceptional and hitherto overlooked marble chapels built between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in the Duchy of Calabria: the Correale Chapel originally in the Church of Santa Caterina d’Alessandria in Terranova di Calabria Ultra, the Carafa Chapel in the Cathedral of Castelvetere (actual Caulonia), and the Galeota Chapel in the Cathedral of Squillace, one of the most ancient diocese of the Kingdom. For each of these chapels, founded by members of the élite from the capital (Carafa), or by families migrated from the province to the court (Correale), or by the high clergy (Vincenzo Galeota), the presenter will propose different comparisons with Neapolitan models from the Aragonese and early Vice-royal periods. Significant points of contact and distance will emerge, which derive from the effort of transplanting the architectural and sculptural forms conceived for a peculiar and lively “center” in a political and cultural “periphery.”

Census of Antique Works of Art and Architecture Known in the Renaissance
Warburg Institute