Statutes of a shoemakers' guild

Date: ca. 1386
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Italy
Medium: Gold, Parchment, Tempera
Dimensions: 35 × 24.5 cm
Description: In the second half of the fourteenth century, Niccolò di Giacomo was a well-to-do citizen of Bologna with a virtual monopoly on illustrating books for the city and its guilds. This elaborate page was painted for the shoemakers' guild to express their group identity and civic status. It lists all the guild members in a single neighborhood, where Niccolò also lived; additional names have been added by different scribes, and there is space for more. At the bottom of the page is the guild's coat of arms, which depicts a sandal, a fashionable pointed shoe, and a leather-cutting tool.

Because the neighborhood included the church of San Domenico, in which the saint is buried, Dominic is shown standing at the top of the page. He holds white lilies as a symbol of his chastity. Dominic (d. 1221) was the founder of the Order of Preachers, better known as the Dominican order or the Black Friars, for the black cloaks they wore over white habits. This mendicant order emphasized preaching and scholarship, and major Dominican convents (houses of study) were established in the university cities of Bologna and Paris. Bologna was especially famous for its venerable law school, and Niccolò often illustrated books of canon law in addition to such secular works as the shoemakers' statutes.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 10
Image Credits: J. Paul Getty Museum Open Content Program

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Statutes of a shoemakers' guild, Bologna Statutes of a shoemakers' guild, Bologna, detail of St. Dominic