Politics or piety: locating Simone Martini's Saint Louis of Toulouse altarpiece.
Art History, 33(4) pp. 597–619.
Opinion remains divided about the meaning and original function of Simone Martini’s early fourteenth-century Saint Louis of Toulouse altarpiece, some maintaining that it was primarily a cult image, designed to celebrate the recent canonisation of a Franciscan saint, others that it was a dynastic image, justifying Robert of Anjou’s succession to the Neapolitan throne. One way of resolving such an issue is to establish the painting’s original location. This article explores three possible sites in Naples in terms of different kinds of historical evidence linking these locations with the altarpiece and with the Angevin royal family. It concludes that one of these constitutes the most plausible setting for the Saint Louis of Toulouse altarpiece and that such a location clarifies the relative priorities of politics and piety for this highly prestigious commission.
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