The Jew in the Art of the Italian Renaissance (Jewish Culture and Contexts)

4 avg rating
( 3 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780812240856: The Jew in the Art of the Italian Renaissance (Jewish Culture and Contexts)

Renaissance Italy is often characterized as a place of unusual tolerance and privilege toward Jews. Unlike England, France, Germany, Spain, and Portugal, the princely courts of early modern Italy, particularly Urbino, Mantua, and Ferrara, offered economic and social prosperity to Jews. When anti-Jewish hostilities created civic tumult in this region, secular authorities promptly contained the violence.

Yet this written record tells only one part of the story. Pictures tell another. In The Jew in the Art of the Italian Renaissance, Dana E. Katz reveals how Renaissance paintings and sculpture became part of a policy of tolerance that deflected violence to a symbolic status. While rulers upheld toleration legislation governing Christian-Jewish relations, they simultaneously supported artistic commissions that perpetuated violence against Jews. The economic benefits Jewish toleration supplied never outweighed the animosity toward Jews' participation in the Christian community.

Katz examines how particular forms of visual representation were used to punish Jews symbolically for alleged crimes against Christianity, including host desecration, deicide, and ritual murder. The production of such imagery testifies to the distinctive Jewry policies employed in the northern Italian princedoms, republican Florence, and imperial Trent. The book provides new insights into famous masterworks by Andrea Mantegna, Paolo Uccello, and others, placing these paintings within a larger discourse that incorporates noncanonical, provincial works of art.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Dana E. Katz teaches art history and humanities at Reed College.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

Princes, Jews, and the Rhetoric of Tolerance

Before the calm night sky and peaceful rolling hills of a northern Italian landscape, a Jewish moneylender, his wife, and two young children are burnt at the stake in Paolo Uccello's 1468 predella panel for the Corpus Domini Altarpiece in Urbino. Renaissance paintings in other northern Italian cities resemble Uccello's panel in that they portray Jews as deviant outcasts of Italian society. In Mantua's Santa Maria della Vittoria, a Madonna and Child altarpiece depicts the Jewish moneylender Daniele da Norsa who allegedly desecrated a Christian image. In Ferrara's Augustinian refectory at Sant'Andrea, a fresco represents the slaying of Synagoga, the personification of Jews and Judaism, despite St. Augustine's prophetic policy on Jews in Christendom: "Slay them not, lest they forget your law." Placed within ecclesiastical and monastic spaces for Christian consumption, these paintings are images of punishment, commissioned or approved by the despotic rulers of Italy to humiliate and deprecate Jews.

In contrast to the antipathy toward Jews portrayed in painting, contemporaneous written documents suggest that the Renaissance was a period of unusual tolerance and privilege for Jews. Marquis Francesco Gonzaga, for example, stated in a grida (proclamation) dated 2 March 1515 that the recent popular uprising against the Jews in Mantua greatly displeased him. The grida explains that Jews are tolerated by the Roman Church and must also be tolerated in the Gonzaga dominion by the marquis's subjects. Accordingly Francesco declares, "no one under any condition, now or in the future, can dare presume to injure or displease any Jew in any way under penalty of three pulls of the cord [i.e., the rope hoist, an instrument of torture]." The marquis explains that the penalty is irreversible and will take place immediately. Moreover, if the offense committed against the Jew is particularly egregious, the marquis will adjust the punishment to fit the crime.

Scholars, influenced by the rhetoric of contemporary state letters, princely decrees, and notarial registries, have portrayed the Renaissance as a period of unusual princely toleration for Jews and the Italian principalities as a safe haven for Jewish difference. Cecil Roth in his History of the Jews of Italy speaks of an idealistic toleration of Jews in fourteenth-century Italy, free from religious and sociopolitical persecution by the Italian princes, prelates, or populace. Roth writes:

This period of expansion was from some points of view the golden age of Italian Jewish history. In the south, the ruined Jewries were being nursed back into life; in the north, there was steady growth, general prosperity and a ferment of intellectual activity. A flow of immigrants arrived from abroad, new centers were established in almost unbroken succession, the older ones constantly expanded . . . . Only in Italy did the Jews enjoy general well-being. A few setbacks are chronicled, but they are isolated and exceptional. If, during civic disturbances, the Jews may sometimes have suffered more than their neighbors, this did not betoken a persecutory spirit among the people.

Roth's historical approach to Italian Jewry searches for periods of social and intellectual exchange, moments of harmonious symbiosis, between Jews and Christians, as he frames his study of the past in relation to the present-day context still recoiling from the Holocaust. For Roth, the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries brought socioeconomic prosperity to the Jews in Renaissance Italy, whose well being incited anti-Jewish hostilities, particularly in northern Italy where venomous sermons against the Jews by the influential Observant Franciscans gave rise to periodic social disorder. Such turbulence, according to the author, was momentary, and was not tolerated in the Italian courts or the republics such as Venice, where rulers "ordered protection to be given to the Jews throughout their territories."

Roth's reconstruction of Italian Jewish life, however uncritical, elucidates the general attitudes of toleration characteristic of Renaissance Italy, specifically the northern Italian principalities. Indeed, relative to the virulent aggressions against the Jews in contemporary Spain and to the Jews' loss of rights and ghettoization beginning in the sixteenth century in certain Italian cities including Venice and Rome, the Italian Renaissance courts stand apart in their tolerance of Jews. But what is toleration in the early modern context? How do derisive paintings of Jews participate in the promotion of Renaissance tolerance? In this study, I seek to explore the different nuances of meaning embedded in the concept and practice of tolerance in the Italian courts by examining the written history of Renaissance Jews documented in Italian archives and interpreted by historians, and the visual history recorded in sacred painting. This book provides an extensive study of the relations and negotiations between Jewish cultural history and the visual culture of the Italian Renaissance, a period in which art flourished and forged new societal values and behaviors. I investigate how the Renaissance term "tollerare" acquired local meanings depending on cultural context and how the dynamics of tolerance inevitably were linked to civic identity, particularly the identity created by and for the Christian prince.

The Renaissance principalities of Urbino, Mantua, and Ferrara are the focus of this study because of their relatively prosperous Jewish populations and because all three city-states shared regional and political affinities as northern Italian territories and as hereditary principalities governed by a single despot. I examine the three princely states as case studies and contrast them to republican Florence and imperial Trent. An analysis of the Florentine and Tridentine contexts provides salient contrast to my investigation of the Italian courts, placing in relief the unique character of the Jewish-Christian encounter in the Renaissance principates. Whereas the rulers of Renaissance Urbino, Mantua, and Ferrara initiated similar Jewry policies, the manner in which each prince executed such policies differed depending on the nature of the prince's political hold on his territory and his subjects. I analyze how each of the Renaissance court rulers distinctively upheld toleration legislation governing Christian-Jewish relations, while simultaneously supporting artistic commissions that perpetuated violence against Jews. In particular, I explore how the different forms of representation used to depict Jews in Italian Renaissance court painting, such as narrative, portraiture, and allegory, both induced the limited persecution of Jews and helped to maintain the Jews' safety. Though the effects of this pictorial language may appear contradictory, I argue that the symbolic violence targeted against local Jews in the princely courts ultimately sought to unify the larger community and foster civic harmony.

Toward a Definition of Tolerance

The notion of tolerance discussed in this study is not synonymous with the Enlightenment call for religious acceptance put forth by John Locke (1632-1704) in his Letter on Toleration of 1689, nor is it analogous to the modern theories of liberalism and skepticism elaborated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Immanuel Kant, Wilhelm von Humboldt, Benjamin Constant, and John Stuart Mill, who advocated tolerance of individual thought and speech, acceptance of non-Christian belief systems and rejection of religion, and the right to privacy and personal liberties. For not only does this discussion of tolerance predate its theoretical conceptualization beginning in the late seventeenth century, it approaches the varying contours of toleration from a social historical point of view, rather than from the perspective of philosophy or intellectual history.

The definition of tolerance treated here corresponds to the privileges given to certain groups of social deviants to dwell among the communities in Latin Christendom provided such dissenters served a beneficial role in the society as a whole and proved no threat to Christianity. The medieval notion of tolerance, which circulated in the works of canon law and scholasticism, was thus a policy of patientia toward nonbelievers and other outgroups inasmuch as it justified deviance within a community that refused to accept freedom of religion or religious plurality. Tolerance as a political concept offered limited social forbearance to select marginalized groups while opposing policies of expulsion and extermination.

Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) wrote in his Summa theologica that toleration of evil is necessary if greater evil should come from intolerance or the expulsion of deviance. In this sense, prostitution was permitted in medieval society lest men be destroyed by their own unchanneled lust and resort to the great sin of adultery, rape, or sodomy. Lepers, beggars, and the insane were also served by the medieval idea of tolerance as a result of their physical or economic impediments because their presence ideally inspired the generosity of Christian charity. The only forms of social dissent to go beyond the boundaries of tolerable behavior was that of heretics and homosexuals, for both were thought to have committed the greatest of sins that threatened the moral center of Christian civilization. By refusing to subscribe to ecclesiastical doctrines and authority, heretics scandalized the Church by publicly spreading heterodox beliefs, whereas homosexuals were labeled immoral and iniquitous by the Christian faith because of their sexual practices, which were thought to threaten the distinction between the sexes.

The Thomistic conception of toleration moreover gave theological support to the continued civic participation of Jews in communities throughout Christendom. Christians were never to embrace Jews—whom Thomas calls "our enemies"—as members of the community, but as practitioners of evil rites whose work in the moneylending business served to induce economic prosperity. For scholastic writers usury (defined most generally by a loan requiring a borrower to repay more than the initial sum lent) was more than a sin against the just price, usurious practice in its Christian setting was a sin against nature. As Jacques Le Goff writes, "The usurer's only chance for salvation, since all his gain was ill-acquired, was to make total restitution of what he had earned." While spiritual confessors made restitution and purgatory an alternative for the Christian lender who struggled between wealth and eternal damnation, legal injunctions issued by secular authorities served Jewish usurers whose credit induced economic equalization and prosperity in the monetized society of medieval and Renaissance Europe. Bob Scribner, studying the historical phenomenon of religious toleration in early modern Germany, writes that tolerance based on economics was the result of pragmatic policy-making by civil magistrates, which was effected only after several generations of clerical opposition. Toleration policies rooted in economics offered the margins of society, including Jews, only tenuous privileges. Only so long as the presence of Jewish merchants and moneylenders proved economically necessary for the community was the tolerance of Jews communally feasible.

The vulnerability of tolerance policies and the potency of its ensuing politics are well exemplified in the fifteenth-century duchy of Milan. Extant condotte (charters) from the fifteenth century record the conditions of Jewish residency in the Milanese dominion. The duke and local authorities approved such documents for individual Jews or groups typically for a period of ten years. Jews, such as Salomone Galli, son of Abramo, in Parma, were to lend money at a fixed rate of interest; in exchange, they could observe Judaism and Jewish holidays, as well as build synagogues, cemeteries, and kosher slaughterhouses. The agreements provided the Jews the right to reside in the duchy, assured their safety, and offered them legal protection. For example, in 1452 Francesco Sforza, signore of Milan, defied Pope Pius II's order to tax the Jews of the duchy one-fifth of the value of their possessions in order to finance the crusade against the Turks. The Sforza policies of tolerantia continued under Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza; nevertheless, Lodovico Maria Sforza, Galeazzo's successor, expelled all Jews from the duchy on 3 December 1490.

The orders for expulsion came after a heated trial beginning on 26 March 1488 in which Vincenzo, a Jew who converted to Christianity, accused 38 Jews of inserting anti-Christian statements in several Jewish texts, including the Talmud and the Mishneh Torah of Maimonides. The Christians' translation of the Aramaic texts alleged the Jews called the Virgin Mary a harlot and condemned Christ to eternal damnation. Authorities sentenced nine of the indicted Jews to death by decapitation. Their punishment, however, was commuted to a fine of 19,000 ducats, confiscation of their property, and expulsion. Lodovico ordered the remaining accused banished from the dukedom, leaving their property to the camera ducale. The prince never fully carried out the general expulsion of his Jewish subjects, as documents indicate that he issued a condotta in 1498 to the physician Solomon, son of Aaron Gallico, to serve as the prince's book dealer. Lodovico occasionally permitted Jewish merchants and doctors in Milan but only under special circumstances, and granted temporary condotte for brief periods of time. Although certain Jews remained within city walls after the exile, the general banishment of the Jewish community bespeaks an intolerance intrinsic to Lodovico Sforza's political directives.

Such policies contrast significantly from those adopted by the princes of Urbino, Mantua, and Ferrara, neighboring Italian city-states where toleration prevailed. In these small Renaissance princedoms individual Jews were punished for alleged blasphemies, yet the security of the Jewish collective remained intact. Sforza Milan offers an intriguing counterpoint to the case studies discussed in this book, which principally treats the ways in which the Jew figured in the visual culture of Christian Urbino, Mantua, and Ferrara. Whereas paintings in these small courtly communities portray Jews committing impious acts against Christianity, no analogous image can be found in Milan. Jewish liturgical books in the Milanese territories represent Jews engaging in various religious rituals, yet these illuminated manuscripts were used exclusively within the Jewish context. In this book I explore how deprecating pictures of Jews in Christian art of the Renaissance sought to unify the community and define its parts. Symbolic violence in the form of paintings offers an evocative look at the contours of toleration in several Italian Renaissance courts. Milan's intolerance of Jews via expulsion made such civic definitions of community obsolete and therefore such defamatory paintings unnecessary.

Milan during the Renaissance was a large city and major international trading center in Europe. Because of...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Katz, Dana E.
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2008. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # TU-9780812240856

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 49.95
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Dana E. Katz
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press, United States (2008)
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press, United States, 2008. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Renaissance Italy is often characterized as a place of unusual tolerance and privilege toward Jews. Unlike England, France, Germany, Spain, and Portugal, the princely courts of early modern Italy, particularly Urbino, Mantua, and Ferrara, offered economic and social prosperity to Jews. When anti-Jewish hostilities created civic tumult in this region, secular authorities promptly contained the violence. Yet this written record tells only one part of the story. Pictures tell another. In The Jew in the Art of the Italian Renaissance, Dana E. Katz reveals how Renaissance paintings and sculpture became part of a policy of tolerance that deflected violence to a symbolic status. While rulers upheld toleration legislation governing Christian-Jewish relations, they simultaneously supported artistic commissions that perpetuated violence against Jews. The economic benefits Jewish toleration supplied never outweighed the animosity toward Jews participation in the Christian community. Katz examines how particular forms of visual representation were used to punish Jews symbolically for alleged crimes against Christianity, including host desecration, deicide, and ritual murder. The production of such imagery testifies to the distinctive Jewry policies employed in the northern Italian princedoms, republican Florence, and imperial Trent. The book provides new insights into famous masterworks by Andrea Mantegna, Paolo Uccello, and others, placing these paintings within a larger discourse that incorporates noncanonical, provincial works of art. Bookseller Inventory # AAJ9780812240856

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 56.94
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Dana E. Katz
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 5
Seller:
THE SAINT BOOKSTORE
(Southport, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. New copy - Usually dispatched within 2 working days. Bookseller Inventory # B9780812240856

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 53.67
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.19
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Dana E. Katz
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press, United States (2008)
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Book Depository hard to find
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press, United States, 2008. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Renaissance Italy is often characterized as a place of unusual tolerance and privilege toward Jews. Unlike England, France, Germany, Spain, and Portugal, the princely courts of early modern Italy, particularly Urbino, Mantua, and Ferrara, offered economic and social prosperity to Jews. When anti-Jewish hostilities created civic tumult in this region, secular authorities promptly contained the violence. Yet this written record tells only one part of the story. Pictures tell another. In The Jew in the Art of the Italian Renaissance, Dana E. Katz reveals how Renaissance paintings and sculpture became part of a policy of tolerance that deflected violence to a symbolic status. While rulers upheld toleration legislation governing Christian-Jewish relations, they simultaneously supported artistic commissions that perpetuated violence against Jews. The economic benefits Jewish toleration supplied never outweighed the animosity toward Jews participation in the Christian community. Katz examines how particular forms of visual representation were used to punish Jews symbolically for alleged crimes against Christianity, including host desecration, deicide, and ritual murder. The production of such imagery testifies to the distinctive Jewry policies employed in the northern Italian princedoms, republican Florence, and imperial Trent. The book provides new insights into famous masterworks by Andrea Mantegna, Paolo Uccello, and others, placing these paintings within a larger discourse that incorporates noncanonical, provincial works of art. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780812240856

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 64.83
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Dana E. Katz
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press (2008)
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from UK in 4 to 14 days. Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # CA-9780812240856

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 53.14
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.92
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Katz Dana E.
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Quantity Available: 3
Seller:
Majestic Books
(London, ,, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press. Book Condition: New. pp. 240 , 70 Illus. Bookseller Inventory # 7938623

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 58.73
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.28
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Katz, Dana E.
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press (2008)
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. HRD. Book Condition: New. New Book. Delivered from our US warehouse in 10 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND.Established seller since 2000. Bookseller Inventory # IP-9780812240856

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 59.99
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.92
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Katz, Dana E.
Published by University of Pennsylvania Pre (2017)
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Hardcover Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Pennsylvania Pre, 2017. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used! This item is printed on demand. Bookseller Inventory # 0812240855

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 72.25
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Katz, Dana E.
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press (2016)
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Print on Demand
Seller:
Ria Christie Collections
(Uxbridge, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016. Paperback. Book Condition: New. PRINT ON DEMAND Book; New; Publication Year 2016; Not Signed; Fast Shipping from the UK. No. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780812240856_lsuk

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 76.25
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 5.14
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Dana E. Katz
Published by University of Pennsylvania Press (2008)
ISBN 10: 0812240855 ISBN 13: 9780812240856
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0812240855

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 82.52
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book