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Bell on Trial: The Struggle for Sound after Savonarola

  • Daniel M. Zolli (a1) and Christopher Brown (a2)

Abstract

In June 1498, the Florentine government publicly punished and exiled the Piagnona, the lone bell of the church of San Marco, for its role in defending Girolamo Savonarola during the April siege that led to the preacher's execution. Drawing on new evidence, this essay offers the most complete account of this still poorly understood chapter in Renaissance history, examining its complex and conflicting motives. At the same time, the punishment of the Piagnona, and struggle for its return, affords uncommon insight into the culture's deepest structures of thinking about what bells were, and who had the legal authority to adjudicate their fate.

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Copyright

Footnotes

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Versions of this article were presented at the Frick-IFA Symposium on the History of Art (2014), the Renaissance Society of America (2014) and Association for Art History (2018) annual meetings, and in several forums at Harvard University. Our gratitude to those who participated in these events, in particular Niall Atkinson, Michael Cole, Jack Hartnell, Kevin Lotery, and Jennifer Roberts. For insightful comments on drafts of the manuscript, we thank Lauren Jacobi, John Paoletti, Aaron Wile, and the two anonymous readers for Renaissance Quarterly.

Footnotes

References

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Bell on Trial: The Struggle for Sound after Savonarola

  • Daniel M. Zolli (a1) and Christopher Brown (a2)

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