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K-State Today

March 13, 2014

Art history professor publishes book on Renaissance art

Submitted by Douglas Dow

Dow book cover

Douglas N. Dow, associate professor of art history, published "Apostolic Iconography and Florentine Confraternities in the Age of Reform," which examines the art patronage of three different confraternal organizations at a crucial moment in their histories.

At the end of the 16th century, each of these groups commissioned decorative programs that featured apostolic iconography. One fresco cycle represents the apostles in their roles as Christ’s disciples and proselytizers. Another shows their martyrdoms, the terrible price the apostles paid for their mission and their faith. The third program presented sculptures of the apostles that stood as an example of how Christian piety had its roots in collective effort.

The emphasis on the apostles within these corporate groups demonstrates how the organizations adapted existing iconography to their own purposes. Dow argues that the willful engagement of these brotherhoods with apostolic themes reveals the complex interaction between confraternities and the church’s program of reform.