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The arts and society of the anghiarese men of arms


The rich Florentine society of the fifteenth century offered various possibilities for commissioning works of art. Alongside those of the greatest and most celebrated masters, there were others who by imitating and reusing their styles were able to secure a considerable slice of the market, aimed above all at the small and middle bourgeoisie. The social need to obtain prestige through art was thus commensurate with the finances of the client who could secure a valued work for domestic use or for a dedicated altar in a religious building. Works of this kind, but also more demanding commissions, are mentioned in the documents concerning the Anghiarese men of arms. Furthermore, as if to underline the importance of Florence as a social, economic and cultural reference, it should be noted that all the Anghiarese artistic commissions were made in that city. For example, Giusto Giusti commissioned Giovanni di Francesco del Cervelliera to paint a panel of St. Nicholas the Bishop; Matteo Taglieschi an altar with the Holy Virgin Mary and St. Matthew sculpted by the stonecutter Santi da Settignano; Gregorio di Vanni had a painting made by the unknown Florentine painter Piero di Lorenzo. Unfortunately all these works have disappeared. But just these reports, added to others, indicate the cultural fervour of these men of arms. 

The wooden tabernacles presented here, the small Madonna with Child by the so called Maestro di San Miniato and the tabernacle by Pseudo Pier Francesco Fiorentino, are extraordinary examples of the devotional works that represent that cultural fervour which was widespread amongst the nobility of the time, who loved to enrich their domestic environments with the latest innovations but at a sustainable cost. 



On display