chapter  12
Mendicants and Jews in Florence
ByNirit Ben-Aryeh Debby
Pages 14

This chapter focuses on the Dominican church and convent of Santa Maria Novella. It examines the frescoes of Andrea da Firenze located in the Spanish Chapel that provide a fascinating visual manifestation of the Dominican perception of the Jews. These frescoes are examined in conjunction with the sermons of the Dominican preacher Giovanni Dominici, who preached in Santa Maria Novella as well. The assumption is that the earlier visual images might have encouraged Dominici's preaching, and that the images reflect general ideas and attitudes that Dominici would later share, elaborate upon, or depart from. The intention is to show the similarities and differences between the visual and the verbal in relation to the different media discussed, and to analyze the complexity of the Dominican perception of the Jews. The chapter shows how the polemics against the Jews worked on the micro level, that of an individual church in Florence, within both the oral and visual traditions.