Carlo Saraceni, Das Wunder des heiligen Benno, S. Maria dell'Anima, Rom (Foto Bibliotheca Hertziana, Enrico Fontolan)

Santa Maria dell'Anima

Social Plurality and Art Patronage in the Age of the Reformation

At the time Martin Luther posted his theses on the cathedral portal in Wittenberg in 1517, the German national church of Santa Maria dell'Anima in Rome was in the process of complete renovation. The hospice associated with the church, run by a confraternity, was a contact point for people from the lands of the Holy Roman Empire from the Middle Ages on.

Santa Maria dell'Anima, view towards the left nave

According to the building contract of 1499, the new church was to be built in explicit competition with the churches of other foreign communities (nationes) in the German style: "alemannico more compositum". What exactly was meant by this, especially at a time when, due to religious conflicts, denominational aspects increasingly played a role in the definition of "national" identity, is to be explored and clarified within the scope of this research project. In particular, the extent to which the topographical and political fragmentation of the Holy Roman Empire affected the membership structure of the Anima community, and to what extent the plurality of regional identities and traditions was reflected in the artistic furnishings of the church are issues for investigation. One of the central questions of the project is to what extent the altarpieces, fresco cycles and sepulchral monuments of Santa Maria dell'Anima  – against the background of the Reformation – can be read as decidedly confessional statements.

Publications

Susanne Kubersky-Piredda and Tobias Daniels, Santa Maria dell’Anima, Ruswil 2020 (German and Italian edition).

Tobias Daniels, "Nationale Bruderschaften in Rom (14. –17. Jahrhundert)", in Bruderschaften als multifunktionale Dienstleister der Frühen Neuzeit in Zentraleuropa, ed. by Martin Scheutz, Elisabeth Lobenwein and Alfred Stefan Weiss, Vienna 2018, pp. 339–355.

Tobias Daniels, "La chiesa di Santa Maria dell'Anima tra Papato e Impero (secoli XV–XVII)", in Chiese e nationes a Roma sotto il potere temporale die papi: dalla Scandinavia ai Balcani (secoli XV-XVIII), ed. by Antal Molnár, Rome 2017, pp. 77–96.

Tobias Daniels, "Ein sächsischer Heiliger für Rom: Die Benno-Kapelle in Santa Maria dell'Anima in Rom", in Ein Schatz nicht von Gold – Benno von Meißen (exhibition catalogue Meißen), ed. by Claudia Kunde and André Thieme, Petersberg 2017, pp. 440–447.

Tobias Daniels, "Von landsmannschaftlicher Repräsentation zu konfessioneller Propaganda: Die Benno-Kapelle in Santa Maria dell’Anima", in Identità e rappresentazione. Le chiese nazionali a Roma, 1450-1650, ed. by Alexander Koller and Susanne Kubersky-Piredda, Campisano Editore, Rome 2016, pp. 179–210.

Susanne Kubersky-Piredda, "Chiese nazionali fra rappresentanza politica e riforma cattolica: Spagna, Francia e Impero a fine Cinquecento", in Identità e rappresentazione. Le chiese nazionali a Roma, 1450-1650, ed. by Alexander Koller and Susanne Kubersky-Piredda, Campisano Editore, Rome 2016, pp. 17–64.

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