Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Gender, Honor, and Charity in Late Renaissance Florence

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Gender, Honor, and Charity in Late Renaissance Florence

Article excerpt

Gender, Honor, and Charity in Late Renaissance Florence. By Philip Gavitt. (New York: Cambridge University Press. 201 1. Pp. x, 280. $90.00. ISBN 9781-107-00294-4.)

Philip Gavitt's scholarly reputation was fully established with the publication of Charity and Children in Renaissance Florence: The Ospedale degli Innocenti, 1410-1536 (Ann Arbor, 1990), a pioneering and moving work in the field of Florentine philanthropy, civic responsibility, and state building. In the years since, he has extended his analyses on these vital issues and has published a number of excellent articles on them. His latest work incorporates revised and strengthened versions of some of these articles, as well as important new contributions to his chosen fields. It consists of an introduction that also serves as a platform for the presentation of the theoretical principles informing his approach to the various issues discussed in the book and six chapters, each tackling different issues, but each contributing to the formulation of a coherent and valuable assessment of the place of philanthropy in the development of the Florentine state. The book ends with a short but highly informative and somewhat controversial conclusion

Not surprisingly, some of these chapters are based on evidence drawn from the hospital of the Innocenti. Outstanding in this regard is chapter 1, in which the relationship between the Innocenti and the Medicean state is analyzed.The central figures in this chapter are Vincenzio Borghini, the administrator of the Innocenti but also one of the most learned scholars of the period, and the Florentine grand dukes Cosimo and Francesco. Under the stewardship of Borghini, the Innocenti contributed in a number of different ways to the strengthening of the state and to the entrenchment of the Medici in power. Whereas the efforts of the government and of Borghini himself to deal with the intractable problem of the abandonment of children are clearly set out, so, too, is the exploitation of the hospital's resources and therefore indirectly also of the children, by the regime. This is also a theme in the fifth chapter, in which the focus is placed on the girls of the Innocenti and on the other five major Florentine institutions created to care for them. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.