The Guilds of Florence & Activating the Effigy!

Remember that Monday Dr. Manes will lead us in a discussion of the Guild system in Florence; the reading is posted on Moodle. On Weds. Hannah will lead us in a discussion of Donatello’s Pecci tomb effigy. Below are just a few questions to start the discussion.
1. Like Trexler’s article, Johnson posits an active role for the audience in the reception of the Pecci tomb. How do these authors differ in their approach to the public, as it were?
2. In what ways, if at all, does Donatello’s tomb effigy complement the funeral rituals performed at Pecci’s death?
3. Does Donatello make time stand still, as it were, in this monument? Had this ever been achieved in art before?
4. How is the viewer implicated in this tomb monument? Isn’t the viewer implicated in all sculpture, if it is effective?
5. What was considered prime real estate in the church as far as burial sites were concerned?
6. What were some of the strategies employed to garner salvation during the Renaissance?

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One response

  1. Here are my ideas about question 1:
    Trexler’s article shows how a work of art was able to influence society by supposedly performing miracles, which inspired hope. In the tomb described in Johnson’s article, humans (priests) activate a work of art by viewing it from a certain position and in a certain environment. The audience has a more active role in Johnson’s article, whereas Trexler portrays the public as something that is mostly acted upon by a work of art. Also, in Trexler’s article, the public experiences a variety of situations (weather, war, etc) through the work of art. However, in Johnson’s article the audience always encounters the work of art under the same circumstances. Donatello’s Pecci tomb facilitates a habitual memorial mass. It is also worth noting that the work described in Trexler’s article has a much wider audience than the work described in Johnson’s article. Our Lady of Impruneta was seen by the general public, including members of the lower classes. Donatello’s Pecci tomb would have been seen predominately by priests.

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