Storia dell’arte n. 155-156 – Nuova Serie 1/2 | 2021
Roma-Londra andata e ritorno: i Cosmati a Westminster in contesto
The sanctuary pavement, the shrine of St Edward, and the tomb of King Henry III at Westminster Abbey – the work of Roman artists who brought with them both expertise and materials – have been hitherto studied either in terms of exportation of romanitas in England or as ‘English national monuments’. The discovery, in the church of S. Maria in Aracoeli in Rome, of an incised tracery design in 1:1 scale which closely resembles the actual tracery of the internal gallery at Westminster offers us the opportunity to return to the issue of design communication across the Alps, but in the reversed direction of import of Gothic ideas to the Patrimony of St Peter. This analysis will allow us to revise questions of attribution and to trace the movement of artists from Rome to London to Viterbo and then back to Rome, whilst shedding light on the dissemination of gothic ideas in Italy. A further goal of this article is to reconstruct the specific historical, political and social context which determined that special relationship between the English Crown and the Roman Curia, which will help to enhance our understanding of such an extraordinary movement of artists and of the roles played by patrons and agents between circa 1266 and 1290.