In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section The Art of Southern Italy and Sicily under Angevin and Catalan–Aragonese Rule

  • Introduction
  • Examples of Monographic Studies about Monuments and Artists
  • Libraries and Manuscripts for the Catalan–Aragonese Kings

Art History The Art of Southern Italy and Sicily under Angevin and Catalan–Aragonese Rule
Xavier Barral i Altet, Vinni Lucherini
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 February 2020
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199920105-0143


With the expression “southern Italy and Sicily under Angevin and Catalan–Aragonese rule,” we refer to the period when the Kingdom of Sicily (Regnum Siciliæ) came under control of the Angevin (1266–1442) and the Catalan–Aragonese kings (1442–1501). The Angevin royal house began to rule this kingdom with King Charles I of Anjou, who was chosen by popes Urban IV and Clement IV against the claims of Manfred, son of the emperor Frederick II of Hohenstaufen. Count of Anjou and Maine, count of Provence and Forcalquier, Charles I was consecrated in Rome at St. Peter’s basilica on January 6, 1266; his son, Charles II, was consecrated on May 29, 1289 in the cathedral of Rieti; and the Charles II’s successor, his third son, Robert, was consecrated in Avignon on August 3, 1309. The tragic events that occurred under the government of Queen Joanna I (1343–1382), granddaughter of Robert, brought to the throne of Naples another branch of the Angevin dynasty, called the Anjou–Durazzo, with Kings Charles III (1382–1386), his son Ladislaus I (1386–1414), and his daughter Joanna II (1419–1435). After the extinction of the Anjou royal house and a long period of wars, Alfonso V of Aragon, III of Valencia, II of Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica, I of Naples, and IV as count of Barcelona, formerly adopted by Joanna II as her son in 1421, became king of Naples in 1442 and reigned until his death in 1458. His son Ferrante I ruled from 1458 to 1494, his grandchild Alfonso II from 1494 to 1495, and his successors until 1501. For most part of the Angevin period, Sicily was separated from the peninsular territories and remained a distinct geopolitical entity. After the revolt against the Angevins in 1282 (the Sicilian Vespers) and following the Peace of Caltabellota in 1302, the Regnum Siciliæ citra Pharum, generally known as the Kingdom of Naples, was governed in fact by the Angevin kings, whereas the Regnum Siciliæ ultra Pharum, corresponding to the Sicilian island, was governed by the Catalan–Aragonese kings as an independent state until it passed under the dominion of the Crown of Aragon in 1409. Under Alfonso the Magnanimous the two kingdoms of Naples and of Sicily were finally reunited. In the last few decades, scholarship investigated the history of the kingdom of Sicily with a modern interdisciplinary approach, where art, literature, and culture were examined as expressions of society, power, and political practice. This kind of approach was favored by a new generation of southern Italian scholars and allowed, for example, to recognize in Catalan–Aragonese Naples the rise of a monarchical Humanism, which was different from the civic Humanism of Florence but not less complex and intellectually grounded.

Historiographical and Historical Studies

This section considers general or classical studies on the history of southern Italy and Sicily under the Angevin and Catalan–Aragonese rule, as well as historiographical and critical works, and the most modern methodological approaches. The topic has been especially examined by southern Italian scholars, mainly for purposes related to the so-called Southern Question, but in recent times, it begun to be widely investigated in French, German, British, and American studies.

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