Medieval communes consolidated their power by implementing civic rituals where the clergy, the ruling class, and the citizens participated in the celebration of locally venerated saintly figures. This paper investigates the ritual celebrations of patron saints implemented by civic governments in two cities of the southern area of Tuscany, as documented in their fifteenth and sixteenth-century statutes. It focuses on celebrations for the Virgin of the Assumption in the cathedral of Grosseto and in the church of Santa Maria in Campagnatico. The cathedral and the parish church emerge as the focal points for the affirmation of the power and authority of the commune and its elite, where citizens were both participants and spectators. The city statutes and later chronicles provide an insight to civic celebrations of saints, the political use of the cult and the commissions for artworks related to it, such as the altar of the Madonna delle Grazie in Grosseto. Recently discovered archival material relating to Grosseto also suggests that ritual offerings by the commune in the cathedral were by no means limited to celebrations of religious cult, but could take place in order to re-affirm the importance of the civic authorities within the city. The payment of the census to the cathedral of Grosseto on such occasions by nearby communities sheds new light on the relationship between Siena and its contado, and suggests cultural exchange with the dominant city of Siena.
|Title of host publication||Art and Identity|
|Subtitle of host publication||Visual Culture, Politics and Religion in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance|
|Editors||Sandra Cardarelli, Emily-Jane Anderson, John Richards|
|Publisher||Cambridge Scholars Publishing|
|Number of pages||26|
|ISBN (Print)||978-1-4438-3628-9, 1-4438-3628-1|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2012|