Books Roundup: New Titles on Medieval Art

 

We would like to draw your attention to three new books on medieval art that came out in 2017: on architecture, metalwork and the iconography of St. John’s head.

roman-1025UWE GEESE, ROLF TOMAN. L’âge roman: Architecture et culture de l’image au Moyen-Âge classique de 1020 à 1250HF Ullmann Editions, 2017, 568 p.
ISBN: 978-3848011513

Pour mieux comprendre la beauté intemporelle et sobre des édifices romans qui jalonnent l’Europe, Uwe Geese et Rolf Toman nous invitent à nous immerger dans l’univers spirituel de nos ancêtres entre les grandes invasions barbares et l’An Mil. L’essor du christianisme et des monastères, ainsi que la ferveur religieuse populaire qui dominait l’époque, ont façonné le premier style artistique et architectural chrétien, aux formes solides et simples, reflet d’une époque charnière qui naît sur les décombres de l’Empire romain et s’efface graduellement au profit de l’art gothique.

Les superbes illustrations de l’ouvrage mettent en valeur tant les édifices religieux que les sculptures et oeuvres d’art ainsi que les merveilleuses enluminures dont nous avons hérité. Au fil des pages, vous vous imprégnerez de la beauté et de l’atmosphère mystique dans lesquelles baigne la civilisation romane.

Table des matières:
1. La société au Moyen Âge / Les trois ordres de la société féodale / Seigneurie et paysans / Développement des villes
2. La perception terrestre de la Création divine / Création, vision du monde, science
3. Foi et mobilité
4. Croisades, pèlerinage et culte des reliques / Représentation du pouvoir séculier
5. Ora et labora / Monachisme et monastères
6. La maison de Dieu / Architecture et technique des églises romanes
7. Enseigner et exhorter / Portails et supports iconographiques dans l’espace sacré
8. «¸Vous ferez cela en mémoire de Moi¸» / L’art au service de la liturgie

 

thb_p_Arca Santa_Cesar García Valdés_miniCÉSAR GARCÍA DE CASTRO VALDÉS. El Arca Santa de la catedral de OviedoFundación Santa María la Real Centro de Estudios del Románico, 2017, 96 p.
ISBN: 978-84-17158-01-9

A pesar de tratarse de una de las obras suntuarias más importantes del románico europeo, el Arca Santa de lacatedral de Oviedo carecía hasta la fecha de una monografía analítica. Los recientes trabajos de restauraciónrealizados de marzo a julio de 2017 han permitido una óptima observación de la misma y el descubrimiento dealgunos aspectos desconocidos hasta ahora. Este libro deriva, precisamente, de la memoria histórico-artística quesu autor, conservador del Museo Arqueológico de Asturias, realizó con motivo de dicha restauración.

sacrifice-johnS. ROCHMES, B. BAERT (ed.). Decapitation and Sacrifice: Saint John’s Head in Interdisciplinary Perspectives: Text, Object, MediumPeeters, 2017, 250 p.
ISBN: 978-9042934634

The anthology Decapitation and Sacrifice is the result of an interdisciplinary project on the phenomenon of the decapitated head of Saint John the Baptist in its exegetical context, in the material culture of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and finally in more recent approaches regarding medium studies. Several specialists and scholars from these fields were invited to share their most recent conclusions, thus contributing to our understanding of one of the most peculiar events, artifacts and phenomena in West: the rise and fall of a male head as subject of martyrdom, devotion and artistic expression.

What emerges from these collected essays is a nuanced understanding of the beheading and presentation of Saint John. We begin with the biblical account, already finding multiple layers of exegetical meaning, with a focus on John as a Christ figure. As the narrative is adapted into other textual and visual forms, its symbolism is transformed, deepened, or extended in new ways relating to medieval and early modern spirituality, morality, performance and representation. What John’s disembodied head symbolically embodies shifts as we move from one medium to another, and from one geographic region to another. And, within those broader categories, meaningful distinctions can be made between differences in details such as the presence or absence of a platter, the use of specific terminology, the contents of inscriptions, the characterization of Herodias and her daughter, specifics of stage directions, even the parting of John’s beard and the portrayal of his eyes as open or closed or half-closed – to name but a few. The close analysis of these and other details that the contributors to this volume provide tell us both about the symbolic potential of John’s beheading and about how the textual and visual objects studied here functioned in medieval and early modern communities.

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About thegrailquest

Anastasija Ropa holds a doctoral degree from Bangor University (North Wales), for a study in medieval and modern Arthurian literature. She has published a number of articles on medieval and modern Arthurian literature, focusing on its historical and artistic aspects. She is currently employed as guest lecturer at the Latvian Academy of Sport Education. Anastasija’s most recent research explores medieval equestrianism in English and French literary art and literature, and she is also engaged as part-time volunteer horse-trainer. In a nutshell: Lecturer at the Latvian Academy of Sport Education Graduate of the School of English, University of Wales, Bangor. Graduate of the University of Latvia Passionate about history, particularly the Middle Ages A horse-lover and horse-owner

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