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.
Joseph Salvatore Ackley, Wesleyan Univ., Middletown, USA; Shannon L. Wearing, Pontifical Inst. of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto, Canada.
Ellie Wilson holds a First Class Honours in the History of Art from the University of Bristol, with a particular focus on Medieval Florence. In 2020 she achieved a Distinction in her MA at The Courtauld Institute of Art, where she specialised in the art and architecture of Medieval England under the supervision of Dr Tom Nickson. Her dissertation focussed on an alabaster altarpiece, and its relationship with the cult of St Thomas Becket in France and the Chartreuse de Vauvert. Her current research focusses on the artistic patronage of London’s Livery Companies immediately pre and post-Reformation. Ellie will begin a PhD at the University of York in Autumn 2021 with a WRoCAH studentship, under the supervision of Professor Tim Ayers and Dr Jeanne Nuechterlein.
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