New Publication: ‘How Do Images Work? Strategies of Visual Communication in Medieval Art’, ed. by Christine Beier, Tim Juckes and Assaf Pinkus

This anthology examines the workings of historical imagery in fourteen essays, offering fresh perspectives from leading researchers on a wide range of medieval and early modern artworks in a similarly wide range of functional contexts.

How did historical images work and interact with their beholders and users? Drawing on the results of an international conference held in Vienna in 2018, this volume offers new perspectives on a central question for contemporary art history. The fourteen authors approach working imagery from the medieval and early modern periods in terms of its production, usage, and reception. They address wide-ranging media—architecture, sculpture, painting, metalwork, stained glass—in similarly wide-ranging contexts: from monumental installations in the most public zones of urban churches to exquisite devotional objects and illuminated books reserved for more exclusive settings. While including research from West European and American institutions, the project also engages with the distinctive scholarly traditions of Eastern Europe and Israel. In all these ways, it reflects the interests of the dedicatee Michael Viktor Schwarz, whose introductory interview lays out the parameters of the subject.

Christine Beier is senior scientist at the Department of Art History at Vienna University. Her research focuses on medieval and early modern book illumination.

Tim Juckes works at the Department of Art History at Vienna University. He is the main researcher in a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) on visual media and spatial contexts in late-medieval Central Europe.

Assaf Pinkus is professor of art history at Tel Aviv University. He works on spectatorship, response, and somaticism with a focus on the visual media of late medieval Europe.

Below is the table of contents:

Editors’ Introduction


Can We Grasp Wordless Images? — Milena Bartlová

Gothic Art, Realism and magniloquentia: Thoughts on Erich Auerbach — Paul Binski

The Scaling Turn: Experiencing Late Medieval Artifacts— Assaf Pinkus and Einat Klafter

„Where the Wild Things Are“. Die Wilden Leute des späten Mittelalters und der frühen Neuzeit im Raum des Dekorativen — Hans Körner

Das Kultbild und sein Rahmen: Zur Funktion von Stildifferenzen (zwei schlesische Beispiele aus dem Anfang des 16. Jahrhunderts) — Romuald Kaczmarek


In cerchio: Illuminating the Trojan Legend and the Commedia between the Veneto and Naples (with some conjectures on Madrid, BNE, MS 10057) — Rosa M. Rodríguez Porto

Wie die Bilder im Roman d’Alexandre en prose die dubiose Herkunft des Helden diskutieren — Lieselotte E. Saurma-Jeltsch

Bonaventure and Monastic Images of St Elizabeth — Ivan Gerát


In Praise of the Pigeon: Interpretive Adventures in Naumburg Cathedral — Jacqueline E. Jung

Bilder und Kult als Ausdruck bischöflicher Macht: Berthold von Buchegg und die Katharinenkapelle im Straßburger Münster— Marc Carel Schurr

Eye of the Donkey: Visual Strategies on the Choir Threshold of St Laurence’s in Nuremberg — Tim Juckes

Bildkonzepte im Widerstreit. Donatellos Judith als „naturalisierte Allegorie“— Ulrich Pfisterer

Inhaltliche Vielfalt durch motivische Zurückhaltung. Zur Wandmalerei in der camera pape im Papstpalast von Avignon — Tanja Hinterholz

Storia, mito e allegoria: I portali del Santo Sepolcro a Brindisi — Valentino Pace

To purchase, visit Brepols.


Published by charlottecook

Charlotte Cook graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in European History from Washington & Lee University in 2019. In 2020 she received her Master’s degree in History of Art from the Courtauld Institute of Art, earning the classification of Merit. Her research explores questions of royal patronage, both by and in honor of rulers, in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century England. She has worked as a researcher and collections assistant at several museums and galleries, and plans to begin her PhD in the autumn of 2022.

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