Confraternities

   Confraternities (in Italian, confraternité) were quasi-religious brotherhoods that existed throughout the towns and cities of Italy. Members came together to perform charitable deeds and also to socialize. Confraternities were responsible for generating much of the art created during the Renaissance. Their meeting halls were often decorated with frescoes. They also required altarpieces, crosses, and banners to be carried by members during processions. The outside walls of the Confraternity of the Bigallo in Florence, for example, was decorated with frescoes that advertised their function: to care for the orphaned children of Florence and to find suitable adoptive mothers for them. The same confraternity commissioned Bernardo Daddi to paint the Bigallo Triptych (1312-1348; Florence, Museo del Bigallo), a portable work depicting the Enthroned Virgin and Child. The Confraternity of the Misericordia in San Sepolcro, who cared for the ill and buried the dead, commissioned Piero della Francesca to paint the Misericordia Altarpiece in 1445, and the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception commissioned from Leonardo da Vinci the Madonna of the Rocks (1483-1486; Paris, Louvre) for the Church of San Francesco Grande in Milan. In Venice, confraternities were called scuole. The Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista commissioned Gentile Bellini to paint the Procession of the Relic of the True Cross (1496) and the Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of San Lorenzo (1500), both now in the Galleria dell' Accademia, Venice. Vittore Carpaccio was commissioned by the Venetian Confraternity of St. Ursula to paint a series depicting the story of their patron saint and, from 1564 until 1587, Tintoretto created a number of religious works for the Scuola di San Rocco.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

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  • confraternities — con·fra·ter·ni·ty || ‚kÉ’nfrÉ™ tɜːnÉ™tɪ n. society of men, brotherhood …   English contemporary dictionary

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