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Piety, Power, or Presence? Strategies of Monumental Visualization of Patronage in Late Antique Ravenna †

Department of Cultural Heritage, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, 48121 Ravenna, Italy
A preliminary version of this paper was presented at the International Medieval Congress (Leeds, 2–5 July 2018). As such it benefitted from the suggestions received on that occasion and, in particular, I thank Deborah Mauskopf Deliyannis and David Rollason for their precious comments.
Religions 2021, 12(2), 98; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020098
Received: 31 December 2020 / Revised: 22 January 2021 / Accepted: 25 January 2021 / Published: 1 February 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Religions and Humanities/Philosophies)
Between Late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages, lay and cleric alike felt the need to be remembered in the monuments they sponsored. Accordingly, specific elements of the décor were designed as means capable of bearing the patron’s memory. The late antique churches of Ravenna offer an extraordinary field to understand how patrons left their mark on decorative programs of ancient buildings. There, portraits, inscriptions, and monograms emerge as the primary instruments used in a complex strategy of visual communication. However, each had its own communicative power and peculiar use. Either separately or in connection, they were able to convey strong messages of patronship to the viewer. By focusing on each of these elements in its context and on the ways they all interacted with the surrounding architecture and church decoration, this paper will highlight their value as visual objects capable to immortalize the piety, power, or presence of the patron. Indeed, the silent dialogue enacted into the architectural space with the beholder will allow us to reconstruct the hidden messages that individuals or groups meant to communicate to posterity. View Full-Text
Keywords: portraits; inscriptions; monograms; patrons; Ravenna portraits; inscriptions; monograms; patrons; Ravenna
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MDPI and ACS Style

Carile, M.C. Piety, Power, or Presence? Strategies of Monumental Visualization of Patronage in Late Antique Ravenna. Religions 2021, 12, 98. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020098

AMA Style

Carile MC. Piety, Power, or Presence? Strategies of Monumental Visualization of Patronage in Late Antique Ravenna. Religions. 2021; 12(2):98. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020098

Chicago/Turabian Style

Carile, Maria C. 2021. "Piety, Power, or Presence? Strategies of Monumental Visualization of Patronage in Late Antique Ravenna" Religions 12, no. 2: 98. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel12020098

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