Domestic Devotions in Early Modern Italy


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Domestic Devotions in Early Modern Italy illuminates the vibrancy of spiritual beliefs and practices which profoundly shaped family life in this era. Scholarship on Catholicism has tended to focus on institutions, but the home was the site of religious instruction and reading, prayer and meditation, communal worship, multi-sensory devotions, contemplation of religious images and the performance of rituals, as well as extraordinary events such as miracles. Drawing on a wide range of sources, this volume affirms the central place of the household to spiritual life and reveals the myriad ways in which devotion met domestic needs. The seventeen essays encompass religious history, the histories of art and architecture, material culture, musicology, literary history, and social and cultural history.

Contributors are Erminia Ardissino, Michele Bacci, Michael J. Brody, Giorgio Caravale, Maya Corry, Remi Chiu, Sabrina Corbellini, Stefano Dall’Aglio, Marco Faini, Iain Fenlon, Irene Galandra Cooper, Jane Garnett, Joanna Kostylo, Alessia Meneghin, Margaret A. Morse, Elisa Novi Chavarria, Gervase Rosser, Zuzanna Sarnecka, Katherine Tycz, and Valeria Viola.
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Maya Corry is College Lecturer in Early Modern History at Oriel College, University of Oxford. She works at the intersection of history and the history of art, and has published on gender, religion, the body and Leonardo.
Marco Faini is Marie Skłodowska Curie Fellow at the Universities of Venice and Toronto. He was Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at Villa I Tatti. The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies and Research Associate at the Department of Italian, University of Cambridge.
Alessia Meneghin is Ahmanson Fellow at Villa I Tatti. The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence. She has published a monograph on the Misericordie, and many articles on the Arti Minori, and on Renaissance Florentine economy and society.
“This volume makes a substantial contribution to the redefinition of religious identities in early modern Italy […] The volume excels at challenging the enduring notion of an evenly shared Catholic religiosity, administered and regulated rigorously through institutions. The early modern household, so well presented here, reveals itself to be a complex network of devotions and cults, mixing vivid images and icons with pouches of seeds, holy scrolls, herbs, rosaries, and, most importantly, ideas.”

Marco Piana, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts in Renaissance and Reformation 42.3
List of Illustrations
Notes on the Editors
Notes on the Contributors

Maya Corry, Marco Faini and Alessia Meneghin

Part 1: The Unbounded Nature of Domestic Space

1 Singing on the Street and in the Home in Times of Pestilence: Lessons from the 1576–78 Plague of Milan
Remi Chiu

2 The Ex Voto between Domestic and Public Space: From Personal Testimony to Collective Memory
Jane Garnett and Gervase Rosser

3 Spaces for Domestic Devotion in the Noble Residences of Palermo in the Age of Catholic Reform
Valeria Viola

4 Music and Domestic Devotion in the Age of Reform
Iain Fenlon

Part 2: Domesticating the Divine

5 Domestic Portraiture in Early Modern Venice: Devotion to Family and Faith
Margaret A. Morse

6 Domestic Religion and Connected Spaces: Isabella della Rovere, Princess of Bisignano (1552–1619)
Elisa Novi Chavarria

7 “And the Word Dwelt amongst Us”: Experiencing the Nativity in the Italian Renaissance Home
Zuzanna Sarnecka

Part 3: The Materiality of Devotion

8 Religious Subjects on Sixteenth-Century Deruta Piatti da Pompa
Michael J. Brody

9 Investigating the ‘Case’ of the Agnus Dei in Sixteenth-Century Italian Homes
Irene Galandra Cooper

10 Material Prayers and Maternity in Early Modern Italy: Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Katherine M. Tycz

11 Devotional Panels as Sites of Intercultural Exchange
Michele Bacci

Part 4: Prayer and Meditation

12 Creating Domestic Sacred Space: Religious Reading in Late Medieval and Early Modern Italy
Sabrina Corbellini

13 Delight in Painted Companions: Shaping the Soul from Birth in Early Modern Italy
Maya Corry

14 Literary and Visual Forms of a Domestic Devotion: The Rosary in Renaissance Italy
Erminia Ardissino

Part 5: Conflict and Control

15 Domestic Prayers and Miracles in Renaissance Italy: The Case of Savonarola and His Cult
Stefano Dall’Aglio

16 Private and Public Devotion in Late Renaissance Italy: The Role of Church Censorship
Giorgio Caravale

17 Contested Devotions: Space, Identities and Religious Dissent in the Apothecary’s Home
Joanna Kostylo

Index Nominum
Academics and students interested in the history of the early modern family and home; religious devotion; Catholicism; Italy; and the relationship between humans and the sacred.
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