Bent, George R.

Dr. George R. Bent is a member of the faculty at Washington and Lee University and co-founded the institution’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies program, chaired the Art Department, and served as Associate Dean of the College. He received both his M.A. and Ph.D at Stanford University. A two-time Fulbright award winner, he has written and lectured publicly on Italian art of the fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries.

Monastic Art in Lorenzo Monaco's Florence
2006 0-7734-5968-5
Locked inside the walls of a severely cloistered monastery, monks from the Camaldolese house of Santa Maria degli Angeli had access to some of the most innovative paintings produced in Florence between 1350 and 1425. Leading painters of the day, like Nardo di Cione and Lorenzo Monaco, filled manuscripts and decorated altars with richly ornamented pictures that related directly to liturgical passages recited – and theological positions embraced – by members of the institution. In a city marked by wealthy and sophisticated ecclesiastical communities, the one at Santa Maria degli Angeli had few peers.

Dependent on the benefices of a powerful network of patronage, the monks in Santa Mara degli Angeli counted among their staunchest allies families associated with the most important political alliances in Florence, and by 1378 the monastery was considered by many to be closely linked to the city’s most potent families. Monks executed a variety of tasks and obligations which took place throughout the year. Among these was a lengthy and solemn procession, held on specific feast days, that took the community to every altar and altarpiece in the monastic complex. The route they took and the images they saw caused each participant to see his collection of images in sequence, and thus encouraged him to consider the altarpieces in his environment both individually and collectively. The culmination of this procession came to be the extraordinary high altarpiece produced by Lorenzo Monaco in 1413, the Coronation of the Virgin, which summarized both the entire program of monastic imagery in Santa Maria degli Angeli and the importance of individual patronage in Europe’s most progressive and potent city-state. This work examines and explains the appearance, function, and uses of painting in one of the day’s most important cultural centers.

Because of the size of the book and the large number of photographs, this book is priced at $179.95.