Book roundup: New titles in medieval art

JOANNA CANNON, BETH WILLIAMSON (ed.). Art, Politics and Civic Religion in Central Italy 1261-1352: Essays by Postgraduate Students at the Courtauld Institute of ArtRoutledge, 2017 (reedición), 328 p.
ISBN: 978-1138702585

central-italy-religionThis was first published in 2000: Introduced by Joanna Cannon, this volume of essays by postgraduate students at the Courtauld Institute, University of London, explores some of the ways in which art was used to express, to celebrate, and to promote the political and religious aims and aspirations of those in power in the city states of central Italy in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The contributions focus on four centres: Siena, Arezzo, Pisa and Orvieto, and range over a number of media: fresco, panel painting, sculpture, metalwork, and translucent enamel. Employing a variety of methods and approaches, these stimulating essays offer a fresh look at some of the key artistic projects of the period. The dates cited in the title, 1261 and 1352, refer to two well-known works, Coppo di Marcovaldo’s Madonna del Bordone and the Guidoriccio Fresco in the Palazzo Pubblico of Siena, here newly assigned to this date. By concentrating on individual cases such as these, the essays provide rewardingly sustained consideration, at the same time raising crucial issues concerning the role of art in the public life of the period. These generously-illustrated studies introduce new material and advance new arguments, and are all based on original research. Clear and lively presentation ensures that they are also accessible to students and scholars from other disciplines. Art, Politics and Civic Religion in Central Italy, 1261-1352 is the first volume in the new series Courtauld Institute Research Papers. The series makes available original recently researched material on western art history from classical antiquity to the present day.


ANDREA DE MARCHI, CRISTINA GNONI. Legati da una cintola. L’«Assunta» di Bernardo Daddi e l’identità di una cittàMandragora, 2017, 255 p.
ISBN: 978-8874613571

mandragoraLa Sacra Cintola, la cintura della Vergine custodita nel Duomo che per secoli è stata il tesoro più prezioso di Prato, è un simbolo religioso e civile, fulcro delle vicende artistiche della città ed elemento cardine della sua identità. La sottile striscia (di 87 centimetri) di lana di capra broccata in filo d’oro è il fulcro di un’esposizione che comprende altre opere di valore, prima tra tutte la pala di Bernardo Daddi del 1337-1338 che racconta la leggenda di come la reliquia sia stata consegnata a San Tommaso dalla Madonna al momento dell’Assunzione, sia stata portata a Prato verso il 1141 dal mercante pratese Michele Dagomari e da questi donata nel 1172, alla pieve della città.
Il catalogo dell’esposizione illustra, oltre naturalmente alla reliquia solitamente conservata nella cappella di Agnolo Gaddi nel Duomo, la serie di dipinti, sculture e miniature in mostra, che testimoniano le varie elaborazioni del tema dell’Assunta che dona la propria cintola.
In aggiunta, testi e foto propongono lo studio della cappella affrescata da Gaddi, la prepositura di Santo Stefano, le ostensioni che abitualmente avvengono a Prato e la storia del suo culto nei secoli.


LIZ JAMES. Mosaics in the Medieval World: From Late Antiquity to the Fifteenth CenturyCambridge University Press, 2017, 625 p.
ISBN: 978-1107011984

mosaicsIn this book, Liz James offers a comprehensive history of wall mosaics produced in the European and Islamic middle ages. Taking into account a wide range of issues, including style and iconography, technique and material, and function and patronage, she examines mosaics within their historical context. She asks why the mosaic was such a popular medium and considers how mosaics work as historical ‘documents’ that tell us about attitudes and beliefs in the medieval world. The book is divided into two part. Part I explores the technical aspects of mosaics, including glass production, labour and materials, and costs. In Part II, James provides a chronological history of mosaics, charting the low and high points of mosaic art up until its abrupt end in the late middle ages. Written in a clear and engaging style, her book will serve as an essential resource for scholars and students of medieval mosaics

Published by 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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: