Document Type

Book Chapter


Author's Final Manuscript

Publication Title

Urban Developments in Late Antique and Medieval Rome. Revising the Narrative of Renewal

Publication Date



The art and architecture of eleventh-century Rome are predominantly discussed within the framework of an ‘early Christian renewal’ (renouveau paléochrétien) closely tied to the Gregorian Reform. Articulated fifty years ago in accordance with the prevailing top-down model of history, the framework is incompatible with more recent historical approaches that emphasize agency from below. This essay argues for a more distributed model of agency in the making of eleventh-century art. A case study of Santa Maria in Trastevere, reformed in 1065, calls into question the model of a Reform art directed by cardinals. A comparison with cinematic auteur theory questions the concept of a Reformist ‘directed art’ from another perspective.