Artibus et Historiae no. 44 (XXII)

2001, ISSN 0391-9064

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SARA NAIR JAMES - Penance and Redemption: the Role of the Roman Liturgy in Luca Signorelli's Frescoes at Orvieto

Luca Signorelli's frescoes in the Cappella Nuova of the Orvieto Cathedral (1499-1504) have long been noted for style, the monumental figure, and the unusual subject matter: a unique combination of the Last Judgment, events from the Apocalypse, and scenes from Dante and classical literature. Though scholars have written much about the chapel, no one has satisfactorily explained that this seemingly disparate combination of scenes forms a logical, unified program, designed for an audience accustomed to seeing paintings as visual sermons. This article explores the Roman liturgical texts for the Feast of All Saints and Advent as the unifying factor, and reveals an underlying message of salvation through penance.

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