Shelly Wolbrink

title.none: Lloyd, Ss. Vincenzo e Anastasio at Tre Fontane (Shelly Wolbrink)

identifier.other: baj9928.0801.015 08.01.15

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Shelly Wolbrink, Drury University,

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2008

identifier.citation: Lloyd, Joan E. Barclay. Ss. Vincenzo e Anastasio at Tre Fontane Near Rome: History and Architecture of a Medieval Cistercian Abbey. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2006. Pp. xxiii, 388. 0-87907-698-4. ISBN: .

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 08.01.15

Lloyd, Joan E. Barclay. Ss. Vincenzo e Anastasio at Tre Fontane Near Rome: History and Architecture of a Medieval Cistercian Abbey. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2006. Pp. xxiii, 388. 0-87907-698-4. ISBN: .

Reviewed by:

Shelly Wolbrink
Drury University

In his 1652 illustration View of Tre Fontane, Filippo De Rossi situated the Cistercian monastery of SS. Vincenzo e Anastasio within the Christian tradition of St. Paul's martyrdom. A Roman soldier, sword in hand, watches as St. Paul's body bleeds from the neck; however, his haloed head rests peacefully while water pours from three small fountains in the foreground of three monasteries. The recent unearthing of an early Christian sarcophagus believed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul brings to light the significance of Joan Barclay Lloyd's study of the Cistercian monastery at Tre Fontane, one of three monasteries that emerged near the ancient martyrium where St. Paul suffered martyrdom. By interweaving the surviving historical documents with an extensive architectural analysis of the building, Barclay Lloyd's Ss. Vincenzo e Anastasio at Tre Fontane near Rome: History and Architecture of a Medieval Cistercian Abbey offers an impressive micro-history of the monastery, and contributes substantially to historical scholarship on monasticism and architecture in medieval Rome.

Barclay Lloyd begins her analysis by examining the history of the monastery. According to the Liber Pontificalis, the Roman matron Lucina removed Paul's relics from the catacombs and laid them to rest on her property along the Via Ostiense. Byzantine-rite monks from Cilicia lived there in 649, the first historical record of a monastery at Tre Fontane. This would explain how the relics of St. Anastasius, a Persian monk martyred in the seventh century, arrived at the abbey. According to Barclay Lloyd, these relics brought the attention of the Venerable Bede, the Lombard king Liutprand, and church-goers at Santa Maria in Trastevere who, in 1408, were asked to return the relics. In the thirteenth century, the relics of St. Vincent were brought to the monastery, although documents continued to refer to it as the monastery of St. Anastasius through the fifteenth century.

Published as part of the Cistercian Studies Series, Barclay Lloyd's book highlights the monastery's relationship with the Cistercian order, arguing that its structure offers "an outstanding example of medieval cistercian architecture" (3). Founded by Pope Innocent II around 1140 as a daughter-house of Clairvaux, the foundation of a Cistercian monastery at Tre Fontane served "as a kind of ex-voto or thank-offering for the abbot of Clairvaux's support in the schism, and perhaps an attempt to secure further spiritual help from the Cistercians" (18). At first St. Bernard rebuffed Pope Innocent II's desire to found a Cistercian monastery, claiming that he "did not have enough monks to send to Rome" (19). Extant sources reveal that monks arrived from Farfa rather unwillingly, probably due to the fact that the monastery lay in, according to St. Bernard, an "unhealthy region." Although St. Bernard cautioned the monks against seeking medical advice, the Cistercian General Chapter allowed the monks to move to a residence in nearby Nemi during the hot summer months. Likewise, the monastery was granted special dispensation to retain a castrum and other possessions. In a defense of the monastery where he had first served as abbot, Pope Eugenius III argued that this was more honest than begging from others (257). Today the monastery houses a community of Trappist monks.

Barclay Lloyd provides a useful descriptive history of the monastery from its origins to the modern jubilee year. However, more contextual analysis would have added to the chapter, such as describing who St. Vincent was, or placing the monastery among the central pilgrimage centers in medieval Rome. On the other hand, the narrative history is supplemented by an extensive appendix that reviews in chronological order the important dates in the monastery's history from St. Paul's martyrdom to the present day. At nearly forty pages, and with extensive scholarly documentation including commentary and original language in the footnotes, the dates and documents section provides a fascinating overview of how the author used the extant sources, including papal bulls, property transfers, general chapter orders, and even window inscriptions.

Barclay Lloyd seeks to place the monastery more broadly within the social context of the "history and customs of the Cistercian Order in the Middle Ages" (37). She describes briefly the founding of the Cistercian order, and the Cistercian legislation and documents that provide "information about the medieval Cistercians, their way of life, and their monasteries" (39). She relies heavily on Cistercian narratives, twelfth-century legislative texts, and statutes of the order to describe Cistercian monasticism. This analysis would have been stronger if interwoven with a more extensive literature on the Cistercian order and/or monastic studies, particularly those that focus on lived experience and documents of practice. The rest of the chapter provides an impressive rendering of the living quarters of a Cistercian monastery, deftly walking the reader from the high altar of the church through each of the rooms in the cloister, including the chapter room, the parlour, and the monastery latrines. This visual overview of a monastery's physical buildings could be used effectively in the classroom.

As an art historian, Barclay Lloyd devotes most of the book to an examination of the monastery's architecture and building structures. To understand more completely the structure of the medieval monastery, she provides a useful study of the extant images of Tre Fontane, such as sixteenth-century engravings and maps as well as photographs from the 1800s. These images, like the 1652 drawing by Filippo De Rossi, are provided generously in an appendix, and add substantially to the quality of the book. Barclay Lloyd is particularly interested in revealing the Cistercian nature of the monastery. Both a chapter on Cistercian architecture and her own detailed analysis of SS. Vincenzo e Anastasio provide interesting reflections on the nature of medieval planning and Christian architecture. According to Barclay Lloyd, in contrast to the Roman basilica of St. Maria in Trastevere, built at roughly the same, this monastery represents "a break with the roman early christian tradition in favor of burgundian cistercian architecture" (133). She argues for a "'bernardine' plan of Clairvaux II of c. 1133-1145" that is clearly reflected in the architecture, adding that it was probably designed by a "cistercian architect or master builder" (66-67). Both the narthex and the use of murals are typically Roman however. The author's previous publications on Santa Sabina, San Clemente, Santa Maria Maggiore, and San Lorenzo outside the Walls gives her extraordinary expertise in the area of medieval architecture in Rome.

By labeling, measuring, and surveying the extant edifices, bricks, and mortar, Barclay Lloyd offers a major contribution to the field of monastic architecture. She provides an in-depth discussion of the building structure, including measurements and descriptions of each of the fifty walls; the columns, capitals, and bases; the vaults; staircases; and murals. Within her analysis, she carefully considers previous archaeological work, and makes accessible for an English- reading audience the findings of other scholars who have published in Italian or German. Despite its immense contribution, this section was largely a survey. More analysis would have added to the complexity of the book. For instance, Barclay Lloyd shares that the monastery's murals reveal paintings of Saint Leonard, Christ the Pantokrator, and a Madonna and Child with "a small kneeling monk in white on the righthand side" (230-1). These interesting details could be expanded by placing them within the context of monastic studies, or art history in Rome. Who was Saint Leonard, and why was he chosen? Was Christ the Pantokrator a common image in twelfth-century Western monasticism, or for the Cistercians? Who is the kneeling monk in white?

Yet no one will read this book without coming away with a deep appreciation of the author's dedication to unearthing every detail of the architectural structure. Drawn in conjunction with the architect Jeremy M. Blake, the author provides five architectural surveys in the book's back flap, providing ample proof of her devotion to rendering the monastery's every last corner and niche. In addition, with over 100 visuals and illustrations, many taken by the author, the reader is afforded easy access to the historical past, whether it is reflecting on a marble grill, a fifteenth-century icon, or the beautiful surviving narthex. The author has provided a tremendous service to monastic historians by documenting the entire structure, adding substantially to historical scholarship on frequently neglected medieval Rome. Cistercian Publications deserves credit as well for choosing to provide its readers with so many high-quality photographic illustrations.

The glossary at the end of the book proved to be an excellent resource in working through the architectural study, although it could have been more extensive: ambulatory, clerestory, garth, plinth, pilaster, and cosmatesque would have been helpful terms to include. In addition, there were inconsistent capitalization patterns for several words, including Cistercian and Roman. Similarly, prison was sometimes enclosed in quotation marks, and sometime left without marks.

Overall, the book is recommended for scholars interested in monastic studies or medieval architecture. In working to highlight a single monastery in medieval Italy, Barclay Lloyd provides a ready lens to see the past. In addition, by using architecture, documents, visual images, and architectural surveys to recreate a medieval monastery, she shows how current scholars working in monastic studies might do more to incorporate analyses of building structures, murals, and even bricks into their own research.