New publication: ‘Illuminating Metalwork. Metal, Object, and Image in Medieval Manuscripts’, edited by Joseph Salvatore Ackley and Shannon L. Wearing

The presence of gold, silver, and other metals is a hallmark of decorated manuscripts, the very characteristic that makes them “illuminated.” Medieval artists often used metal pigment and leaf to depict metal objects both real and imagined, such as chalices, crosses, tableware, and even idols; the luminosity of these representations contrasted pointedly with the surrounding paints, enriching the page and dazzling the viewer. To elucidate this key artistic tradition, this volume represents the first in-depth scholarly assessment of the depiction of precious-metal objects in manuscripts and the media used to conjure them.

From Paris to the Abbasid caliphate, and from Ethiopia to Bruges, the case studies gathered here forge novel approaches to the materiality and pictoriality of illumination. In exploring the semiotic, material, iconographic, and technical dimensions of these manuscripts, the authors reveal the canny ways in which painters generated metallic presence on the page. Illuminating Metalwork is a landmark contribution to the study of the medieval book and its visual and embodied reception, and is poised to be a staple of research in art history and manuscript studies, accessible to undergraduates and specialists alike

Author information: Joseph Salvatore Ackley, Wesleyan Univ., Middletown, USA; Shannon L. Wearing, Pontifical Inst. of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, Canada.

Published by De Gruyter, 2022. Volume 4 in the series Sense, Matter, and Medium

For more information and for the contents visit the De Gruyter website.

Image: Vision of the Son of Man, The Cloisters Apocalypse, ca. 1330, f.3v. Metropolitan Museum


Published by Dr Julia Faiers

Julia Faiers received her PhD from the University of St Andrews in 2021. She wrote her thesis on the art patronage of Louis d’Amboise, bishop of Albi from 1474 to 1503, under the supervision of Professor Kathryn Rudy. Her postdoctoral research includes the nineteenth-century reception of medieval art and architecture, and late-medieval female art patronage in France. Julia gained a First Class Honours degree in art history at the University of St Andrews (1995). She won a British Academy Award to study for her MA in German Expressionism at The Courtauld under the supervision of Dr Shulamith Behr (1997), and spent almost twenty years working as a journalist before returning to academia in 2016.

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