Art, diplomacy, and dynastic politics in early fourteenth-century Italy

Siena and the Angevin royal family of Naples

An illustrated talk by Diana Norman, Professor Emeritus of Art History, The Open University.

Thursday 10th March 2022 at 19:15 in Rubislaw Church Centre, 1 Beaconsfield Place, Aberdeen, AB15 4AB on the first floor. A lift is available.

Martini, Simone (1284-1344): Saint Louis of Toulouse Crowning His Brother, Robert of Anjou, King of Naples. Naples, Museo di Capodimonte

Between 1289 and 1327 the Tuscan city of Siena witnessed a series of lavish ceremonial events marking visits to the city by successive Angevin kings and princes, members of the French royal dynasty that ruled the whole of southern Italy at this date. The reason for these magnificent civic rituals was Siena’s strategic position on a major road linking southern Italy to northern Europe and its identity as a city state closely allied to the Angevin kingdom of Naples. The talk explores the nature and extent of this distinctive political and diplomatic relationship and some of the ways in which it impacted upon the production and dissemination of Sienese art during the first half of the fourteenth century. In so doing, it also discusses how this relationship not only informed the conception and resolution of a major painting for the city’s town hall, but also how it familiarized the Angevin royal family with the quality of contemporary Sienese art. This, in turn, led to the employment of Sienese artists by the Angevins and to the production of significant images that both commemorated and celebrated various members of the dynasty, including – most notably – their recently canonized saint Louis of Toulouse.

Diana Norman joined the art history department at the Open University as a lecturer in 1977; she was appointed senior lecturer in 1995 and professor of art history in 2007. She has published three monographs on Sienese art: the first focussing on late medieval art in Siena and its role in propagating a particular image of the city within its subject territories; the second dealing more broadly with the production and reception of Sienese painting in the late medieval and renaissance periods; the third investigating the history of diplomatic relations between the city state of Siena and the Angevin kingdom of Naples and its impact upon fourteenth-century Sienese art. She is also the editor of two volumes of collected essays on fourteenth-century art in Siena, Florence and Padua, to which she contributed a wide range of essays. She has written numerous articles on late medieval and renaissance Italian art, focusing in particular on the patronage of such art and the role of religion in determining its form and meaning.

This event is free of charge for Members of the Aberdeen Italian Circle. Refreshments will be provided but for this meeting only it will not include wine.

Non-members may attend by payment of £5 at the door (in cash please) to cover admission and the cost of refreshments provided.

We look forward to seeing you on 10th March.