‘This book makes a strong case that memorials are embedded in local visual and historical traditions. While its comprehensive and detailed references make it a must-read for specialists, it will appeal not only to the many specialists working on memory and memorials, but also to general audiences interested in questions of visual culture and memorialization. Beautifully and engagingly written and illustrated.’ (Professor Harold Marcuse, University of California, Santa Barbara)
This study offers an unconventional reading of modern and postmodern German memorials from a medievalist perspective. Beginning with a memorial for German soldiers in El Alamein and continuing with memorials for victims of the Nazis in Germany, the book challenges the visual differences between modern and medieval art and transforms the interactions between the two into six productive conversations. The examples discussed move from Christian themes or visual practice directly connected to medieval art in the surrounding local urban landscape, to secular or abstract projects that seem disconnected from premodern forms and formats. The wide variety of techniques, materials, iconography, layouts, and styles demonstrates that medievalism is a method of observation, one that can underscore the links between several works of art, offer a broader context, add layers of meaning, and explore relationships with nearby visual and social environments, physical and mental landscapes, conflicts and memories. The medieval association may also contribute to a project’s potential to arouse empathy and to stand the test of time and distance from the events it is meant to recall. The book’s medieval prism will afford the reader greater insight into these works of art and a better understanding of their contribution to modern and contemporary memory culture in Germany.
Galit Noga-Banai is Professor of Art History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, where she lectures and writes on early Christian and medieval art. She is the author of The Trophies of the Martyrs: An Art Historical Study of Early Christian Silver Reliquaries (Oxford University Press, 2008), and Sacred Stimulus: Jerusalem in the Visual Christianization of Rome (Oxford University Press, 2018). In recent years she has also become interested in modern and contemporary medievalism.
Medievalist’s Gaze Christian Visual Rhetoric in Modern German Memorials (1950–2000) by Galit Noga-Banai, Monographs XX, 284 Pages, German Literature & Culture Series: German Visual Culture, Volume 10 is available now at https://www.peterlang.com/document/1160461