The Tradition of Devotional Images in Tuscany, Italy, throughout History Wealthy families in Italy used to commission copies of paintings of most famous artists to local painters, with the aim of protecting their families. Like Raffaello's copy of Madonna della Seggiola.
News-Antique.com - Feb 04,2011 - Catholicism has always played a key role in the italian culture.
During the Middleage, close to castles and important centers of politic power, small and big convents were funded that immediately became points of reference for the administration of local territories, as well as critical places for preservation of culture, in a world where only few were able to read and write.
At the same time, lots of small churces were built with the aim of giving a place to the lowest levels of the population for praying.
Under the Medici Family, during the 500's, Tuscany was full of devotional tabernacoles that were built to indicate the proximity to convents and abbeys, as well as to celebrate rituals in the countryside or as ex voto, offerings made in fulfilment of some vows, a practice that was really common at that time.
At streets' corners, as of today lots of tabernacles have been maintained and regularly restored, as the former rulers of the city thought that this would have discouraged citizens from any wrong doing.
In terms of production, if the person that committed these works of art was rich and powerful, the image was prepared in important “bottegas” otherwise, especially in the countryside, the image was made as popular craft, oftentimes with pottery or faience.
Those that could afford it, used to commit copies of the most important works made by worldwide known artists like Raffaello or Michelangelo.
It is a fact that the villas and palaces owned by important families in Italy, they all have devotional corners where people used to stop by for a quick prayer. Sometimes these corners included a simple devotional image, sometimes also a small altar or even a small chapel, depending on family's wealth.
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