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Recovering the lost context of the Roverella altarpiece by Cosmè Tura. The Olivetan church of San Giorgio fuori le mura in Ferrara



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Mancini, Giorgia 


This thesis aims to recover the original context of the Pala Roverella by Cosmè Tura, rightly considered the apex of the Ferrarese figurative culture of the late Quattrocento. The Olivetan conventual church of San Giorgio fuori le mura in Ferrara, the ancient cathedral of Ferrara, has been so far overlooked by Renaissance scholars. By piecing together elements derived from various sources (the church fabric itself, notarial acts, local chronicles and church descriptions, as well as sixteenth century visual records) we formulate here a hypothesis on the late-Gothic San Giorgio. Chapter One offers a survey of art patronage in Ferrarese churches in the second half of the fifteenth century. Chapter Two focuses on San Giorgio in the Quattrocento. New documents shed light on the history of the church and its benefactors, including the Lucchese businessman Aliprando Guidiccioni and members of the Savonarola family. Unpublished sources are used to recreate the broader context of the Pala Roverella, including liturgical items and illuminated manuscripts. Chapter Three is devoted to the Roverella family and their important role as patrons in San Giorgio in the 1470s and 1480s. By reconsidering the tomb of Lorenzo Roverella, still in the cappella maggiore of San Giorgio, we provide new elements about one of its two authors, Ambrogio da Milano. Chapter Four focuses on the surviving paintings from the Roverella altarpiece. Their reassessment provides new elements about its iconography, dating and location. Chapter Five is devoted to the renovations of San Giorgio from the late sixteenth to the early eighteenth centuries. By following the history of the fabric we gather useful clues for our reconstruction of the fifteenth-century church. The Appendix contains transcriptions of relevant documents, most of them unpublished.





Dr Cooper, Donal


Renaissance Ferrara, Cosme Tura, Renaissance altarpieces, Pala Roverella, Olivetan churches


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge
Arts and Humanities Research Council (1647903)