Thesis (Ph.D)

Peripheral backwater or innovative upland? : patterns of Franciscan patronage in renaissance Perugia, c. 1390 - 1527


In 1400, Perugia had little home-grown artistic talent and relied upon foreign painters to provide its major altarpieces. A century later, this situation had been reversed with Perugino, Pintoricchio and Raphael all active in the city. By investigating commissioning patterns III Franciscan establishments in Perugia from 1390 to c.1527, this thesis identifies the circumstances leading to this change. It argues that artistic innovation in such peripheral places is often undervalued or automatically attributed to external factors. Focusing upon five Minorite establishments, the importance of local religious, familial and notarial networks on patronal decisions is newly evaluated. Geography-based models of the introduction and spread of ideas, particularly theories of centre-periphery and cultural exchange, are considered as a means of explaining Perugia's changing artistic status. The introduction analyses theories regarding the autonomy of peripheral patrons, the innovative potential of the periphery and the repetition of paradigms. It finds that existing models fail fully to acknowledge the periphery's contribution to artistic development which should be reappraised. Chapters 1 and 2 chart Perugian patrons' shifting preference from foreign to local painters and attribute this to changes in training, political stability, increased civic identity, and an aspirational humanist court. Chapters 3 and 4 assess the dominance of the Peruginesque style. They propose that Raphael's early success lay in his perfection of this aesthetic, along with female BaglionilOddi and Franciscan patronal support. This occurred in a temporary competitive vacuum, characteristic of places beyond the centre. In conclusion, some current theories undervalue the contribution of local patrons and fail to accommodate the innovative potential of peripheral places like Perugia. Ideas are generated in both places and influences flow between them through processes of exchange involving painters and patrons. Local patronal networks provide a matrix within which valid tastes are promoted independently of external pressures.

Attached files


Lyle, B

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of History, Philosophy and Religion
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Year: 2008

© Lyle, B
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