Recent Publications

Villa I Tatti Series

San Lorenzo: A Florentine Church
Gaston, Robert W., and Louis A. Waldman, ed. 2017. San Lorenzo: A Florentine Church.Abstract

This comprehensive, interdisciplinary collection illuminates many previously unexplored aspects of the Basilica of San Lorenzo’s history, extending from its Early Christian foundation to the modern era. Brunelleschi’s rebuilt Basilica, the center of liturgical patronage of the Medici and their grand-ducal successors until the nineteenth century, is today one of the most frequently studied churches in Florence. Modern research has tended, however, to focus on the remarkable art and architecture from ca. 1400–1600. In this wide-ranging collection, scholars investigate: the urban setting of the church and its parish; San Lorenzo’s relations with other ecclesiastical institutions; the genesis of individual major buildings of the complex and their decorations; the clergy, chapels and altars; the chapter’s administration and financial structure; lay and clerical patronage; devotional furnishings, music, illuminated liturgical manuscripts, and preaching; as well as the annual or ephemeral festal practices on the site. Each contribution offers a profound exploration of its topic, wide-ranging in its chronological scope. One encounters here fresh archival research, the publication of relevant documents, and critical assessments of the historiography. San Lorenzo is represented in this volume as a living Florentine institution, continually reshaped by complex historical forces.

The Medici: Citizens and Masters
Black, Robert, and John Law, ed. 2015. The Medici: Citizens and Masters.Abstract

The Medici controlled fifteenth-century Florence. Other Italian rulers treated Lorenzo the Magnificent (1449-1492) as an equal. To his close associates he was "the boss" ("master of the workshop"). But Lorenzo liked to say he was just another Florentine citizen. Were the Medici like the kings, princes and despots of contemporary Italy?  Or were they just powerful citizens? This book takes a novel, comparative approach.  It sets Medici rule against princely states such as Milan and Ferrara. It asks how much the Medici changed Florence and contrasts their supremacy with earlier Florentine regimes. The contributors take diverse angles, focusing on politics, political thought, social history, economic policy, religion, the church, humanism, intellectual history, Italian literature, theater, festivals, music, imagery, iconography, architecture, historiography, and marriage. This book is perfect for students of  History, Renaissance Studies, Italian Literature, Art History or anyone keen to learn about one of history's most colorful, influential and puzzling families

The Bernard and Mary Berenson Collection of European Paintings at I Tatti
Strehlke, Carl Brandon, and Machtelt Brüggen Israëls. 2015. The Bernard and Mary Berenson Collection of European Paintings at I Tatti.Abstract

.The Bernard and Mary Berenson Collection of European Paintings at I Tatti surveys the 149 works assembled by the Berensons for their home in Florence from the late 1890s through the first decades of the twentieth century at the time that they were making their mark on the world as connoisseurs. The catalogue presents a privileged window on the Berensons' intellectual interests through the objects they owned. The entries, written by an international team of art historians, take full advantage of the extensive correspondence from the Berensons' friends, family, and colleagues at I Tatti as well as the couple's diaries and notations on the backs of their vast gathering of photographs. All the entries are lavishly illustrated with full scholarly and technical accountings of the objects. There are also 17 illustrated reconstructions of the original contexts of panel paintings. The catalogue includes essays on the progress of the Berensons' collecting, their love for Siena, the Sienese forger Icilio Federico Joni, the critic Roger Fry, and René Piot's murals at I Tatti, as well as a listing of 94 pictures that were once at I Tatti including donations made to museums in Europe and America.

For the complete index, click here.

I Tatti Studies in Italian Renaissance History

Clerical Households in Late Medieval Italy
Cossar, Roisin. 2017. Clerical Households in Late Medieval Italy. Harvard University Press.Abstract

Roisin Cossar brings a new perspective to the history of the Christian church in fourteenth century Italy by examining how clerics managed efforts to reform their domestic lives in the decades after the arrival of the Black Death.

Priests at the end of the Middle Ages resembled their lay contemporaries as they entered into domestic relationships with women, fathered children, and took responsibility for managing households, or familiae. Cossar limns a complex portrait of daily life in the medieval clerical familia that traces the phases of its development. Many priests began their vocation as apprentices in the households of older clerics. In middle age, priests fully embraced the traditional role of paterfamilias—patriarchs with authority over their households, including servants and, especially in Venice, slaves. As fathers they endeavored to establish their illegitimate sons in a clerical family trade. They also used their legal knowledge to protect their female companions and children against a church that frowned on such domestic arrangements and actively sought to stamp them out.

Clerical Households in Late Medieval Italy refutes the longstanding charge that the late medieval clergy were corrupt, living licentious lives that failed to uphold priestly obligations. In fashioning a domestic culture that responded flexibly to their own needs, priests tempered the often unrealistic expectations of their superiors. Their response to the rigid demands of church reform allowed the church to maintain itself during a period of crisis and transition in European history.

The Avignon Papacy Contested: An Intellectual History from Dante to Catherine of Siena
Falkeid, Unn. 2017. The Avignon Papacy Contested: An Intellectual History from Dante to Catherine of Siena. Harvard University Press.Abstract
The Avignon papacy (1309–1377) represented the zenith of papal power in Europe. The Roman curia’s move to southern France enlarged its bureaucracy, centralized its authority, and initiated closer contact with secular institutions. The pope’s presence also attracted leading minds to Avignon, transforming a modest city into a cosmopolitan center of learning. But a crisis of legitimacy was brewing among leading thinkers of the day. The Avignon Papacy Contested considers the work of six fourteenth-century writers who waged literary war against the Catholic Church’s increasing claims of supremacy over secular rulers—a conflict that engaged contemporary critics from every corner of Europe.

I Tatti Renaissance Library