The chapel of Saint Catherine in San Domenico: A studyof cultural relations between Renaissance Siena and Rome

Norman, Diana (2008). The chapel of Saint Catherine in San Domenico: A studyof cultural relations between Renaissance Siena and Rome. In: Ascheri, Mario; Mazzoni, Gianni and Nevola, Fabrizio eds. L'ultimo secolo della Repubblica di Siena. Arti, cultura e societàe. Atti del Convegno Internazionale. Siena, Italy: Accademia Senese degli Intronati, pp. 405–419.

URL: http://www.accademiaintronati.it

Abstract

This essay focuses on the paintings by the early sixteenth-century Italian painter, Sodoma, for the reliquary chapel of Saint Catherine of Siena in the Dominican church of San Domenico in Siena. Noting previous scholars’ comment on the links between Sodoma’s paintings for this chapel and ancient and contemporary art in Rome, this study offers another instance of such cultural cross fertilisation – namely, the late fifteenth-century frescoes by the Florentine painter Filippino Lippi for the chapel of Cardinal Oliviero Carafa in the Dominican church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. In order to make a plausible case for such a proposal, the essay then explores the history of the relics of Saint Catherine that were housed in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, Rome, and in San Domenico, Siena, paying particular attention to their location in lavishly appointed reliquary chapels in both churches. It also explores the history of a Sienese confraternity devoted to the cult of Saint Catherine that met initially in the reliquary chapel in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, but then built a church of its own in an area of Rome where many Sienese resided. By so doing, the essay demonstrates a number of further instances of contacts between Sodoma and Sienese patrons and artists living and working in Rome.

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