Book roundup: New art history books from Brepols

Here are some new medieval art history books on manuscripts, architecture and sculpture from publisher Brepols that we have been alerted to, and we think will prove very exciting to a number of our readers.

HMSAH_75_3DKing’s College Chapel 1515-2015: Music, Art and Religion in Cambridge, edited by J. M. Massing, N. Zeeman

This lavishly illustrated, interdisciplinary volume encompasses many aspects of the Chapel’s history from its foundation to the present day. The essays all represent new research, with a particular emphasis on areas that have not been investigated before: Chapel furnishings and art; the architectural engineering of the building and current state of the glass; the history of the Choir and the life of the Chapel, not least in recent centuries. Essays will engage with politics, drama, music, iconoclasm and aesthetics. This will be a serious academic book, but also a visually stimulating and beautiful one. It will contain two hundred and fifty colour reproductions of images of the Chapel – prints, watercolours, oil paintings, photographs, architectural drawings, plans, maps and even postcards, reflecting the many and varied responses that the Chapel has elicited over time.

HMSAH_59 Jean Pucelle: Innovation and Collaboration in Manuscript Painting, edited by K. Pyun, A. Russakoff
This book focuses on the works and legacy of Jean Pucelle, a French 14th-century artist.
Jean Pucelle (fl. ca. 1319-d. 1334) was one of the most prominent artists of the first half of the fourteenth century, an influential illuminator who worked closely with a number of collaborators both known and anonymous. A large number of lavishly-illuminated manuscripts have been attributed to him based on stylistic analysis.

Scholarly essays in this book explore issues crucial to the establishment of his distinctinve style: originality, technique, color palette, influence, levels of resemblance, the relationships between artistic media, and patronage. The contributors to this volume analyze the major works associated with Pucelle or the Pucellian style, and interpret pictorial elements in the tradition of artistic collaboration. This is the first collective work devoted entirely to Jean Pucelle and his legacy.

With contributions by Barbara Drake Boehm, Pascale Charron, Marc Gil, Joan A. Holladay, Marguerite A. Keane, Mie Kuroiwa, Domenic Leo, Kyunghee Pyun, Anna D. Russakoff and Roger S. Wieck.

097728-RogierVanDerWeydenstofwikkel.inddRogier Van der Weyden and Stone Sculpture in Brussels by B. Fransen
The activities of Rogier van der Weyden (1399/1400-1464) were much wider in scope than the well-known painted oeuvre that has been the subject of so many publications. This book, with its focus on stone sculpture in Brussels at the time that Rogier was established there, an area of art history that to date has been little explored, offers a fresh and fascinating look at the context in which Brussels’s famous city painter operated. Bart Fransen leads you through a network of stoneworkers and craftsmen, from the stone quarry to the sculptor’s workshop, to discover a number of remarkable but unknown or misjudged sculptures now in churches, an abbey, a béguinage, a museum’s reserve collection and a castle chapel. With the various case studies in mind he goes on to examine Rogier van der Weyden’s direct involvement in sculptural projects, turning to the evidence revealed by archival documents, drawings and sculpture itself. The result is a highly readable and plentifully illustrated book that re-establishes the close relationship between the various art forms that existed in the fifteenth century.

MEF_07The Making of Hispano-Flemish Style: Art, Commerce, and Politics in Fifteenth-Century Castile by R. Kasl
This book examines the phenomenon of “Hispano-Flemish” style in fifteenth-century Castile, providing an account of its most important monuments and describing the ways in which it is embedded in specific social and cultural settings. Trade, diplomacy, and immigration account for the widespread presence of art and artists from northern Europe in Castile during the period and these mechanisms of international contact and exchange are the starting point for this inquiry. Chapter one details commercial relations between Castile and the art-producing centers of northern Europe, stressing the dominant role of merchants from Burgos and documenting the prevalence of imported luxuries like tapestries, paintings, and sculpture. The presence of imported artworks in Castile was paralleled by a similarly robust number of immigrant artists, some itinerant and others attached to permanent workshops. Their influence is discussed in chapter two, with emphasis on the establishment of multi-generational family workshops under the direction of immigrant masters. Such workshops rooted foreign styles on Castilian soil and decisively influenced the ways in which visual conventions were learned, transformed, and transferred. The receptivity of patrons to the visual qualities of the imported style is analyzed in relation to its capacity to assert emerging social, political, and spiritual values.

The adoption of northern forms in Castile, first detected in the sculptural decoration of funerary chapels of the mid-1430s, was sustained for the rest of the century, culminating in the completion of the monastery of Miraflores under the patronage of Isabel of Castile. Chapter three outlines the religious, commemorative, and political motives that informed the foundation of the monastery by Juan II and those that animated his daughter’s efforts to complete it. It establishes the chronology of works in relation to historical events and details the intervention of Juan and Simón de Colonia, Gil de Siloe, Juan de Flandes, and others. The reelaboration of Siloe’s northern European sculptural idiom at Miraflores was a distinctive process, stimulated by the demands of his royal patron, conditioned by the practices of a heterogeneous workshop, and obliged to visualize a new concept of royal sovereignty.

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