Painted Processional Crosses in Late Medieval Italy (c. 1250–1400):  Movement, Mediation and Multisensory Effects

Stephanie Wisowaty, M.A.

This dissertation explores the materiality and mobility of bilaterally painted processional crosses in late medieval central Italy. Characterized by their elaborate carpentry, painted surfaces, and incorporation of precious materials, these objects fuse a tradition of metalwork reliquary crosses with the distinctly central Italian phenomenon of monumental croci dipinte. By providing the first comprehensive study of painted processional crosses, the dissertation considers how their material complexity and dynamism invited medieval beholders to participate in an embodied, multisensorial and imaginative devotional process. As highly visible, symbolically charged and mobile objects that moved between sacred spaces and urban landscapes, painted processional crosses offer new insights into the artistic innovations and identity-building practices of the mendicant orders in central Italy.

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