Shaping A New Identity For The Trinci Signoria: Ambitions And Image-making In The Early Quattrocento Court Of Foligno.

Roberts, Sarah (2022). Shaping A New Identity For The Trinci Signoria: Ambitions And Image-making In The Early Quattrocento Court Of Foligno. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00014f8b

Abstract

This thesis concerns the decorations of the Palazzo Trinci in Foligno, dating from the early fifteenth century. This early period of court art is relatively neglected, and the frescoes have received little scholarly attention since a 2001 collection of essays in Italian, focussing largely on attribution and the identification of immediate sources.

The thesis extends this earlier research, placing the cycle within the social and political context of the period and showing how it reflects the contemporary process of cultural exchange. Close study of frescoes in the palazzo’s surviving decorated spaces (two large reception rooms, a landing, and a bridge) shows how the Trinci’s dynastic ambitions underlie the scheme. It demonstrates the influence of humanists who were present in Foligno, arguing that humanistic ideas about the nature of leadership, virtue, learning, and time frame the future signoria in new ways. Referencing other works of art in various media and contexts over a wide geographical area, it examines how the artists concerned interpreted these ideas, using chivalric, civic, and religious imagery. Considering the physical nature and likely use of the four spaces, the thesis investigates ways in which contemporary viewers may have perceived the frescoes. It examines the suggestion that one room (the Camera delle Rose) was an early studiolo, proposing, for the first time, that it is unified by the theme of ‘the active and contemplative life’.

Created at a time when other courtly decorations were still often light-hearted and ‘chivalric’, the Palazzo Trinci frescoes are unusually serious in tone. This thesis contends that they occupy an important position in the development of the art and culture of early Italian courts, exemplifying a time when families such as the Trinci were searching for new, more acceptable, identities, and pointing ahead to the more confident ‘magnificence’ of later courts.

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