chapter  Eight
Spaces Shaped for Spiritual Perfection: Convent Architecture and Nuns in Early Modern Rome
ByMarilyn Dunn
Pages 26

This chapter considers the regulations concerning various convent spaces and their use in relation to the ways nuns interacted with and intervened in the spaces. It seeks to establish the relationship between the ideal of enclosure and the reality that existed by considering both the architectural environment of the convent complex itself and its relation to the larger urban and social fabric of Rome. The chapter examines how their interventions created a means of exerting agency and acquiring a voice within the circumscriptions of the system of enclosure. Paternalistic control of religious women was evidenced also in the regulations issued for the good governance of convents. In order to ensure their good care, female convents were placed under the authority of the bishop. The chapter shows how the architecture of enclosure was designed to separate and distance the nun from the secular world, to focus her thoughts on spiritual perfection.