Painter and Priest: Giovanni Canavesio's Visual Rhetoric and the Passion Cycle at la Brigue

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"Giovanni Canavesio, a Piedmontese artist-priest active in the last decades of the fifteenth century in the southern Alps, left behind a significant body of work, including pictorial cycles and altarpieces. This book is an in-depth analysis of his most ambitious cycle on the Passion of Christ, completed in 1492, on the walls of the pilgrimage sanctuary of Notre-Dame des Fontaines outside the French town of La Brigue." "Plesch's primary aim is to understand the cycle's complex and multi-layered meaning. She analyzes the subject matter of the scenes, the significance of their order, how the pictorial and graphic sources were adapted, and the range of formal and visual means used to convey content. Plesch also places Canavesio and his pictorial cycle within wider contexts of the production and consumption of religious art and the nature of devotion in an early modern rural Alpine community." The two facets of Canavesio's life and work - that of artist and that of priest - are also discussed. By placing the cycle within the larger universe of late medieval religious devotion, Plesch connects Canavesio's work not only with preaching but with devotional meditation and religious theater as well.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“With exhaustive descriptions and analyses, the author considers this little-studied region and artist, his sermonic rhetoric, and interwoven pictorial sources. According to the author, Canavesio drew upon his experience as a priest to manipulate form and content, rhetorically emphasizing confession, repentance, and the Good Death . . . this study remains a thorough, highly organized, and well-observed contribution to the study of this Piedmontese artist.” —Renaissance Quarterly (2007)

“Densely bound and packed with information, the study considers the fifteenth-century pictorial Passion cycle from the pilgrimage sanctuary at Notre-Dame des Fontaines in La Brigue; the twenty-five paintings that make up the cycle are examined in their rich (and sometimes gory) detail. . . . This book is an engaging case study and achieves its aim of establishing this cycle as worthy of further study by art historians and historians alike.” —Religion and the Arts, 13[3], 2009

“Plesch [places] Canavesio and his cycle within wider contexts of the production and consumption of religious art and the nature of devotion in an early modern rural Alpine community. The work is recommended for acquisition by university libraries and will also be helpful to undergraduates.” —Fifteenth Century Studies 34 (2009)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780268038885
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2006
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 488
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

VÉRONIQUE PLESCH is associate professor and chair of the Department of Art at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

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Table of Contents

1 "Venerabilis Vir Dominus Presbiter Iohannes de Canavexiis de Pinayrolo Pinctor" 1
2 "Ecclesia Fundata in Territorio Brigae sub Vocabulo B. M. de Fontano" 11
3 Elocutio : Canavesio's pictorial idiom at Notre-Dame des Fontaines 59
4 Imitatio : pictorial sources of the Passion cycle at Notre-Dame des Fontaines 91
5 Inventio and Dispositio 153
6 Amplificatio : Canavesio's narrative complexity 175
7 Expolitio : Tituli, scrolls, and labels 229
8 Conclusion : Giovanni Canavesio's Ars praedicandi 261
App. A Canavesio's other Passion cycles 299
App. B Comparative list of scenes in Canavesio's Passion cycles 312
App. C Savoyard Passion cycles frequently mentioned in the text 314
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