Mosaic and Gilded Glass in Franciscan hands: 'Professional' Friars in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Italy

Claudia Bolgia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)


This article analyses the surviving evidence for the work of friar artists in Italy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Firstly, it deals with the complex question of the extent to which these friars were professionals, or were viewed as such. This involves a re-examination of their ‘portraits’, their ‘signatures’, and the terminology used to refer to them in contemporary written sources, from contracts to payment records to hagiographical accounts. I suggest that a shift away from the traditional reading of self-representation and ‘signatures’ is necessary in order to revise our understanding of major art historical problems, such as the ‘emergence of artistic identity’ and the ‘rise of the professional’.
The traditional idea of 'signature' is also questioned and revised by suggesting that a number of bold statements traditionally red as 'signatures' had in fact been dictated by patrons. The relationship between patrons and artists in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries is also consequently revised.
Published as part of a peer-reviewed major international conference, this article combines the study of hitherto neglected historical and documentary evidence with fresh visual analysis, offering an innovative model by which to approach the study of the role of religious artists within society.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPatrons and Professionals in the Middle Ages
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 2010 Harlaxton Symposium
EditorsPaul Binski, Elizabeth Ann New
Place of PublicationDonington
PublisherShaun Tyas
Pages141-166 + 9 plates
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)978-1-907730-12-2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event27th Harlaxton Medieval Symposium - Harlaxton, United Kingdom
Duration: 20 Jul 201023 Jul 2010

Publication series

NameHarlaxton Medieval Studies


Other27th Harlaxton Medieval Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'Mosaic and Gilded Glass in Franciscan hands: 'Professional' Friars in Thirteenth- and Fourteenth-Century Italy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this