Edward J. Olszewski Lecture in Renaissance Art

Food for the Soul: Michelangelo, the Laurentian Library, and the Digestion of Truth


Daniel Savoy, Associate Professor of Art History and Digital Media Arts, Manhattan College

Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 5:30 p.m.
Recital Hall

Today, people visit the Laurentian Library in the monastery of San Lorenzo in Florence primarily to marvel at Michelangelo’s architectural creativity. Renaissance visitors, however, also found a bench, cracked open a book, and filled their souls with spiritual nourishment. The monastic libraries of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Italy were viewed as repositories of divine truth, whose study was allegorically related to digesting the Eucharist. Coinciding with the unprecedented exhibition Michelangelo: Mind of the Master, the lecture will propose that the artist evoked this Eucharistic association at the Laurentian Library by designing a “cathedral of learning,” yet expressed his own spiritual beliefs by forging a somaesthetic bond between readers and God.  

Daniel Savoy is an Associate Professor of Art History and Digital Media Arts at Manhattan College. He is the author of Venice from the Water: Architecture and Myth in an Early Modern City (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2012), which received the PROSE Award in Art History and Criticism, and (as editor) The Globalization of Renaissance Art: A Critical Review (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2017). His articles have appeared in The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Artibus et Historiae, and Arte Veneta among other journals. In 2018 he was the Michael Ann Holly Fellow at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he pursued his current book project on architecture, somaesthetics, and belief in Renaissance Italy.  

Free; no reservation required.


This lecture is hosted by the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University and co-sponsored by the Cleveland Museum of Art.