Domus humilis
Rhe conversion of Venetian convent architecture and identity
in Conversions
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Although the monastic principle of poverty had, for centuries, been intended to guide the architectural development of monasteries and convents, the 1260 Franciscan General Chapter of Narbonne took the radical step of recommending that communities of friars adapt existing buildings rather than build complexes ex novo. This chapter examines the adaptive and accretive practice of converting buildings of various functions to accommodate communities of women religious in Renaissance Venice. Convent archives, site and urban plans, building chronologies, patron family histories, civic building statutes all offer evidence for the patchwork and partial conversions of buildings designed to convert. Comparisons with complexes for male monastics inform this study of how patterns of patronage and urban development inflected the ways in which convent architecture publicly redefined and re-presented the identity of the communities it enclosed.


Gender and religious change in early modern Europe



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