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Title: The Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella:a document of Dominican dogma.
Authors: Hoover, Dale
Issue Date: 18-Apr-2012
Abstract: Previous scholarship has suggested that the frescoes of the Spanish Chapel at Santa Maria Novella in Florence were influenced by the celebration of Corpus Domini and by the philosophy of St.Thomas Aquinas.Although scholars have agreed that such influences exist,few have demonstrated the supposed relationships among frescoes images and Aquinas words or Corpus Domini's text.This Study presents an analysis of the frescoes in the terms of Aqunia's stated philosophy and the text for the mess of Corpus Domini.The frescoes contain images of Aquinas enthroned and Aquinas teaching.The image of Aquinas enthroned above figures representing theological and secular knowledge seems to have been drawn from Aquinas Summa Theologica.In support of the theory that Summa Theologica inspired the image of Aquinas on the west wall,passages from Summa Theologica are cited.The east wall contains an illustration of Aquinas teaching heretics.Aquinas Summa Contra Gentiles may have inspired the image of Aquinas on the east wall.Passages from Summa Contra Gentiles are cited to support that theory.It seems that the Spanish Chapel's founder desired that the chapel should reflect the clebration of Corpus Domini.Although previous scholarship has suggested a relationship between the celebration of Corpus Domini and the frescoes,no specific texts from the celebration had been cited.This thesis,however examines the founder's will as it relates to Corpus Domini and relates the texts of the mass and prcoession of Corpus Domini to appreciate sections of the fresco.Based upon comparisons between the chapel's frescoes and the texts mentioned above,the study offers an explanation of the Spanish Chapel frescoes as a combination of elements from Corpus Domini and Aquinas writings.The celebration of Corpus Domini advocated belief in a transubstantiated Eucharist,a belief which distinguished the faithful from the heretics.Aquinas Summa Theologica contains guidelines for identifying heretics and for persuading them to return to the Catholic faith.Aquinas Summa Contra Gentiles contains instructions for converting Muslims and Jews to Catholicism.Considering these facts,the study offers a theory that the purpose of the frescoes in the Spanish Chapel seems to ahve been to instruct the Dominican friars at Santa Maria Novella about how to recognize and combat hereby and unbelief.
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