In fifteenth-century Florence, the phenomenon of religious theatre and ritual performance, promoted by adult and youth confraternities throughout the city, reached an unparalleled popularity, transitioning from the realm of devotion to that of the spectacular. The highlight of these performances was the materialisation of a multi-sensory heaven on stage and the appearance of its living angels (young Florentine boys) in their dazzling costumes. Painters living in the Santo Spirito quarter, where most of these activities took place, were actively involved in the creation of the apparatus for sacred plays. They were sometimes even members of the confraternities that produced the plays, as was, for example, Neri di Bicci, one of the most successful Florentine painters of the period. This talk aims to explore the connections between painting and the theatrical experience of heaven which shaped the visual culture of fifteenth-century Florence.
The seminar will be delivered before an audience and livestreamed. Separate booking links are posted on Eventbrite for each form of attendance.