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The Roman Crucible

The Artistic Patronage of the Papacy 1198 - 1304

Throughout the thirteenth century, the Roman Catholic papacy played a predominant role in the patronage of the arts, importing works from all corners of Europe to the Latium region. With The Roman Crucible, Julian Gardner offers a comprehensive and carefully researched overview of the role of the papacy in artistic patronage and the enormous impact of its program of acquisition in the rise of the Latium region as an important center for European art.
In addition to tracing the history of commissions approved by the church’s governing body, the Curia, Gardner’s research scrutinizes the complex relationships between artists and popes, cardinals, and other members of the church, with detailed accounts of individual’s stylistic and iconographic peculiarities. Gardner demonstrates how, through these interactions, Rome and the neighboring papal summer residences of Anagni, Orvieto, and Viterbo emerged as some of the most innovative artistic centers in Europe and melting pots for various artistic styles and techniques.

520 pages | 393 halftones | 8 3/4 x 11 3/4 | © 2013

Art: European Art

Culture Studies

History: European History

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“Gardner is an authority on the art and architecture of Rome between the pontificates of Popes Innocent III (1198–1216) and Benedict XI (1303–04), making this volume a welcome addition to the literature on the subject. There is a particularly interesting overview of surviving personal seals, small privately commissioned works, which not only indicate the artistic taste of their patrons and the varying styles of the time but also provide a well-dated body of evidence, which can be used in some instances to further one’s understanding of more monumental works of art and architecture.”

Catholic Historical Review

Table of Contents


1. The Preconditions of Patronage

2. The Curia in the Thirteenth Century

                Popes as Patrons

                                Innocent III

                                Honorius III

                                Innocent IV

                                Nicholas III

                                Nicholas IV

                                Boniface VIII

                Some Thirteenth-Century Cardinals as Patrons

                                Raniero Capocci

                                John of Toledo

                                Ottobuono Fieschi

                                Matteo d’Acquasparta OFM

                                Giacomo Caetani Stefaneschi

3. The Earthly Frame: Architecture in Rome

4. Novus Ordo: The New Architectural Style in Rome and Central Italy

5. French Patrons and Italian Art in the Thirteenth Century

6. The Revival of Monumental Sculpture in Rome

7. Submerged Evidence: Texts and Wreckage

8. Roman Readers

9. English Embroiderers

10. Mosaic and Painting in Rome 1198-1276: Innocent III to Gregory X

11. Pope Nicholas III and the Birth of Modern Painting in Rome

12. The Final Flowering: Roman Painting before Avignon

13. Other Romes: The Hill-Stations

14. Romans and Greeks: The Relations of the Papacy and Byzantium During the Thirteenth Century

15. Onera Romanorum

16. Home Thoughts from Abroad

17. Conclusion



1. The Papacy and Cardinalate 1198-1304

2. Late Twelfth- and Thirteenth-Century Cardinals’ Seals

Bibliography and Abbreviations


1. Names

2. Places

3. Objects

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