Color portrait of the head and shoulders of Danny Smith, wearing glasses and a white open-collared shirt and facing forward

Danny Smith

Marian and Andrew Heiskell/Anthony M. Clark Rome Prize
gennaio 11–agosto 6, 2021
Profession
PhD Candidate, Department of Art History, Stanford University
Project title
Dreaming in Public in Late Medieval Rome
Project description

In the thirteenth century, the city of Rome was adorned with frescoes, mosaics, and sculptures of dreaming figures: images that depicted both a sleeping figure and their dream. My dissertation, “Dreaming in Public in Late Medieval Rome,” argues that these dream depictions were a powerful visual tool in the duecento, one that assimilated evolving scientific conceptions of dreaming into the visual arts. I look at four ways in which dream images functioned in the period: to trumpet papal legitimacy over foreign ruler, to assert aristocratic power in the city, to secure the role of the fast-growing Franciscan and Dominican orders, and to present the city to pilgrims as indelibly linked to the biblical past. I frame these depictions of dreams as the nexus of intellectual, religious, and political histories in the city, drawing from scientific texts, sermons, even popular guidebooks for personal dream interpretation.