Brian Wallheimer | December 29, 2019
Thirteenth-century frescoes in the cardinal’s residence inside the monastic complex at Santi Quattro Coronati in. Notre Dame art historian Marius Hauknes is spending this year writing a book on the murals, which were hidden for years under layers of whitewash at the monastery.
Much medieval Italian art from the 13th century is focused on Christianity — paintings and sculptures depicting Jesus, the Virgin Mary, saints, or other Biblical scenes.
But murals that were hidden for hundreds of years under layers of whitewash at the Santi Quattro Coronati monastery in Rome are different — in addition to religious iconography, they also depict secular knowledge.
Notre Dame art historian Marius Hauknes is fascinated by the significant shift implied by the newly discovered paintings, and he’s spending this year writing a book on the subject after winning a fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey.
The Christian-centered art of the era spoke to the influence of the Catholic Church, which not only financed many of the projects but was a central part of people’s lives. The frescoes at Santi Quattro Coronati were commissioned by a 13th-century cardinal and depict worldly knowledge as personifications of the months, seasons, and liberal arts.
Read more here.