New Publication: ‘Emerging Naturalism: Contexts and Narratives in European Sculpture 1140-1220’ edited by Gerardo Boto Varela, Marta Serrano Coll & John McNeill

Artistic production in Europe between the mid-12th and early 13th centuries is notoriously difficult to categorise. Terms such as ‘Late Romanesque’ or ‘Early Gothic’ have not travelled well. Attempts have been made to get round this by applying alternative stylistic descriptors like ‘Transitional’ or ‘Year 1200’, particularly as regards stained glass, manuscript illumination, and metalwork, but their application is similarly contestable. ‘Emerging Naturalism: Contexts and Narratives in the Architectural Sculpture of the Latin Church 1140-1220’ offers a number of different perspectives on this question, while offering a panoramic analysis of the period as expressed in the medium of stone sculpture.


Gerardo Boto Varela teaches art history at the Universitat de Girona (Spain), is leader of the international research group Templa, and scientific editor of the journal Codex Aquilarensis. Revista de Arte Medieval. His research concentrates on spatial, pictorial, and liturgical aspects of Spanish ecclesiastical architecture from the tenth to thirteenth centuries, as well as on dynastic tombs and memorial culture in Medieval Iberia.

Marta Serrano Coll teaches art history at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona (Spain) and specializes in Medieval architecture and sculpture, particularly in Catalonia. Her research interests include the display of power through artworks and royal patronage in the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages. In addition, she has published in the field of Romanesque sculpture and hagiographical studies.

John McNeill teaches at Oxford University’s Department of Continuing Education, and is Honorary Secretary of the British Archaeological Association, for whom he has edited and contributed to volumes on Anjou, King’s Lynn and the Fens, the medieval cloister, and English medieval chantries. He was instrumental in establishing a biennial International Romanesque Conference Series and has a particular interest in the design of medieval monastic precincts.

Find out more here.

Table of Contents

Emerging Naturalism and a New Medieval Morphology — Herbert L. Kessler

I.Shaping Late Romanesque Sculpture. Balance and Perspective

The Attainment of a Compelling Naturalism in Sculpture c. 1200 — Gerardo Boto Varela

What is So-Called Late Romanesque Sculpture? — Xavier Barral i Altet

II. Late Romanesque / Early Gothic Sculpture in European Cathedrals (1140–1220)

The Role of Burgundy in the Development of the First Column-Statues — Marcello Angheben

Late Romanesque Sculpture and the Cathedrals of South-Western France — Quitterie Cazes

An Enigma Put Aside. The Origin and Interpretation of a Decontextualized Capital from Saint Trophime at Arles — Juan Antonio Olañeta

Around and After 1200. Old and New Concepts of Monumental Sculpture in the German Territories of the Holy Roman Empire — Claudia Rückert

Sculpture and Liturgy: Monuments and Art Histories of Southern Italy (c. 1150–1250 and Beyond) — Elisabetta Scirocco

Old Testament Sacrifice and Thirteenth-Century Tithe: Cain and Abel in the Architectural Sculpture of the Holy Roman Empire — Stephanie Luther

Late Romanesque Sculpture in England. How Far Can the Evidence Take Us? — John McNeill

The Gothic Last Judgment Portal c. 1210. Visual Strategies and Communicative Function — Bruno Boerner

Aesthetics and the Imitation of Antiquity in Early Gothic Sculpture — Laurence Terrier Aliferis

III. Sculptural Visualisations in the Cathedrals of the Iberian Kingdoms (1160–1220)

The Reception of Burgundian Models in the Second Half of the Twelfth Century and the Naturalist Redefinition of Romanesque Sculpture in Castile — Marta Poza Yagüe

Master Mateo and the Cathedral of Santiago at the End of the Twelfth Century — Ramón Yzquierdo Peiró

Late Romanesque Sculpture in the Kingdoms of Leon and Castile: Continuity or Change? — José Luis Hernando Garrido & Antonio Ledesma

Romanesque Sculpture in Portuguese Cathedrals: Models, Continuity and Adaptation — Carla Varela Fernandes & Paulo Almeida Fernandes

The Meaning of the Romanesque Sculpture in the Cámara Santa at the Cathedral of Oviedo — César García de Castro Valdés

Images and Stories: The Transformation of Space in the Cathedrals of the Ebro Valley — Esther Lozano López

The Vault Corbels in the Cloister of Tarragona Cathedral: Shaping a New Pictorial Corporeality that Goes Beyond the Late Romanesque — Gerardo Boto Varela & Marta Serrano Coll


Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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