During Dante’s lifetime, political elites transformed the cities of upper Italy through extensive building projects that reified the magnificence of the city-state. Paradoxically, these new constructions were accompanied by notable destruction. Cities were laid waste by punitive demolition of property, siege warfare, and civil tumult. These iconoclastic acts marked Italy’s cityscapes with signs of the violence that dominates the accounts of contemporary chroniclers. This paper will examine manifestations of this phenomenon in the visual arts of the late Middle Ages.
Areli Marina is associate professor in the Kress Department of Art History at the University of Kansas. She received her Ph.D. in the history of art and architecture from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, although her interest in historic architecture was kindled much earlier, on the ramparts of El Morro Castle in her native Puerto Rico. Marina’s work investigates the monumental sculpture, architecture, and urban design of upper Italy between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Her first book, The Italian Piazza Transformed: Parma in the Communal Age (Penn State Press, 2012), won the 2013 Howard A. Marraro prize for the best book on Italian Catholic history. Her articles and essays on the architecture and urbanism of Florence, Parma, Verona, and Venice have appeared in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, I Tatti Studies, and Renaissance Quarterly.
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Originally published at medieval.nd.edu.