The Network of Cassinese Arts in Renaissance Italy
From the late 15th to the mid-16th century, an impressive corpus of architecture, sculpture, and painting was created to embellish monastic sites affiliated with the Benedictine Cassinese Congregation of Italy. A religious order of humanistically trained monks, the Cassinese engaged with the most eminent artists and architects of the early modern period, supporting the production of imagery and architecture that was often highly experimental in nature: from Raphael's Sistine Madonna in Piacenza to Andrea Riccio's Moses/Zeus Ammon, from Andrea Palladio's church of San Giorgio Maggiore (Venice) to the superbly crafted choirstalls of San Severino and Sossio (Naples). Applying a network framework to the congregation's infrastructure of monasteries makes clear that the circulation of sophisticated Renaissance art and architecture constituted only a segment of the monks' investment in the arts. Monks also served as custodians of an antique monumental heritage and popular votive images, assuring the survival of ancient buildings and artifacts of limited aesthetic value that supplied opportunities for early modern masters to confront an array of artworks for the reinvention of reformed Christian art and architecture. Text in English, Italian and German.