The Last Judgement scene in central Italian painting, c.1266-1343 : the impact of Guelf politics, papal power and Angevin iconography
The dissertation recontextualizes the iconographical developments of the Last Judgement scene in Central Italian mural painting in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries by exploring the theological and political contexts in which these scenes were produced. Two striking events mark the evolution of the Late Medieval Last Judgement scene: first, the revival of the 'complete' Last Judgement after a period of contraction, and second, the separation of Heaven and Hell from the Last Judgement. Both of these features reflect an increasing anxiety about the fate of the soul in the afterlife: a fate which, by the end of the thirteenth century, had moved from the end of time itself to the moment of an individual's death. The first chapter concerns Pietro Cavallini's fresco in S.Cecilia in Trastevere (c.1293), its place within the Roman tradition of Last Judgement scene, and its role as the earliest surviving monumental example of the 'complete' Last Judgement. Chapter II concerns the frescoes of S.Maria Donnaregina in Naples (c.1317-23), patronized by the Angevin queen, Maria of Hungary. In 1266 the Papacy conferred on Charles I of Anjou the Kingdom of Naples in exchange for defense of the Papal States, and the Angevins became the chief administrators of civil and penal justice throughout the Papal States and independent Guelf city-states. A discussion of Angevin iconography establishes a connection between Angevin self-image and the Last Judgement scene. Chapter III is devoted to Giotto's Last Judgement at the Arena Chapel in Padua (c.1305) and its imitator at S.Maria Maggiore in Tuscania (c.1320). The chapter includes a discussion of thirteenth-century papal decrees concerning the fate of the soul in the afterlife, the appearance of the penitent patron at the foot of the cross, and the possibility of a Papal-Angevin-Guelf influence on the production of both of these frescoes. Chapter IV on the "Angevin Connection" begins with a reinterpretation of the iconography of the Florence Baptistery mosaics (c.1271-1330) in terms of their patronage by the Church and the exclusively Guelf Guild of the Calimala. The first instance of the separation of Paradise and Inferno from the Last Judgement, in the Magdalen Chapel of the Bargello in Florence (c.1322), is discussed in light of the civic function of the chapel and of Angevin control of the office of podesta. The relief panels of the façade of Orvieto Cathedral (c.1290-1330) are also considered in view of Papal and Angevin domination of that city. In Chapter V the influence of the Magdalen Chapel's separation of Heaven and Hell is linked to the increasing secularization of the Last Judgement scene as evidenced in the Campo Santo, Pisa (c.1330) and the nave of S.Croce, Florence (c.1330). The revival of the 'complete' Last Judgement scene in Late Medieval Central Italy was the result of theological changes concerning the afterlife, the rise of the penitential movement, and the formation of the Papal-Angevin-Guelf alliance for whom the triumphant scene of judgement became emblematic. The individual's anxiety about the fate of his soul at the moment of death and the appropriation of the Last Judgement for use in secular contexts affected the separation of Heaven and Hell from the Last Judgement and brought about the secularization of a traditionally sacred scene.