Category Archives: Book roundup

Books roundup: New Books by Brepols Publishers on Medieval Architecture

AMA_08Decorated Revisited
English Architectural Style in Context, 1250-1400

Edited by John Munns

 ISBN 978-2-503-55434-1

Thirty-Five years after the publication of Jean Bony’s seminal work on the so-called Decorated style of English architecture (The English Decorated Style: Gothic Architecture Transformed, 1979), this volume brings together a selection of groundbreaking essays by the most promising emerging scholars of English medieval architecture, together with contributions by two of the leading established authorities on the subject: Nicola Coldstream (The Decorated Style: Architecture and Ornament, 1240-1360, 1994) and Paul Binski (Gothic Wonder: Art, Artifice, and the Decorated Style, 1290–1350, 2014).

The contributors revisit Bony’s work and reassess the scholarly legacy of the past three-and-a-half decades. Drawing on a range of innovative methodologies, they then present exciting new insights into the nature and significance of English architecture in the period, focusing particularly on its broader European context. The essays are developed from papers delivered as part of a major seminar series at the University of Cambridge in 2013-14.

John Munns teaches the history of medieval art at the University of Cambridge since 2011, where he is a Fellow and Director of Studies at Magdalene College.

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AMA_09Memory and Redemption
Public Monuments and the Making of Late Medieval Landscape

By Achim Timmerann

 ISBN 978-2-503-54652-0

Erected in large numbers from about 1200 onwards, and featuring increasingly sophisticated designs, wayside crosses and other edifices in the public sphere – such as fountains, pillories and boundary markers – constituted the largest network of images and monuments in the late medieval world. Not only were they everywhere, they were also seen by nearly everyone, because large sections of the populace were constantly on the move. Carrying an entire spectrum of religious, folkloric and judicial beliefs, these monuments were indeed at the very heart of late medieval life. This is the first critical study of these fascinating and rich structures written by a medievalist art historian. Focusing on the territories of the former Holy Roman Empire, this investigation considers such important edifices as the towering wayside crosses of Wiener Neustadt and Brno or the elaborate pillories of Kasteelbrakel and Wrocław, though less ostentatious works such as the Bildstöcke of Franconia and Carinthia or the high crosses of Westphalia and the Rhineland are equally examined. In addition, the study looks at the homiletic, literary, devotional and artistic imagination, in which wayside crosses and other such structures helped constitute a spiritual and allegorical landscape that very much complemented and put pressure on the physical landscapes traversed and inhabited by the contemporary public.

Achim Timmerann teaches medieval and northern Renaissance art and architecture at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He is author of Real Presence: Sacrament Houses and the Body of Christ, c. 1270-1600.

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Book round-up: A History of the Gutenberg Bible

EditioPrincepsEditio princeps
A History of the Gutenberg Bible

By Eric Marshall White

 ISBN 978-1-909400-84-9


The Gutenberg Bible is widely recognized as Europe’s first printed book, a book that forever changed the world. However, despite its initial impact, fame was fleeting: for the better part of three centuries the Bible was virtually forgotten; only after two centuries of tenacious and contentious scholarship did it attain its iconic status as a monument of human invention. Editio princeps: A History of the Gutenberg Bible is the first book to tell the whole story of Europe’s first printed edition, describing its creation at Mainz circa 1455, its impact on fifteenth-century life and religion, its fall into oblivion during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and its rediscovery and rise to worldwide fame during the centuries thereafter. This comprehensive study examines the forty-nine surviving Gutenberg Bibles, and fragments of at least fourteen others, in the chronological order in which they came to light. Combining close analysis of material clues within the Bibles themselves with fresh documentary discoveries, the book reconstructs the history of each copy in unprecedented depth, from its earliest known context through every change of ownership up to the present day. Along the way it introduces the colorful cast of proud possessors, crafty booksellers, observant travelers, and scholarly librarians who shaped our understanding of Europe’s first printed book. Bringing the ‘biographies’ of all the Gutenberg Bibles together for the first time, this richly illustrated study contextualizes both the historic cultural impact of the editio princeps and its transformation into a world treasure.


Eric Marshall White, PhD, became Curator of Rare Books at Princeton University Library in 2015 after eighteen years as Curator of Special Collections at Southern Methodist University’s Bridwell Library. A specialist in early European printing, he has published numerous articles and exhibition catalogues on rare books.



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Book roundup: St. Albans and the Markyate Psalter

St. Albans and the Markyate Psalter: Seeing and Reading in Twelfth-Century England

Edited by Kristen Collins and Matthew Fisher
November 2017 ARC Humanities Press

st albansOne of the most compelling and provocative books of twelfth-century England, the Markyate Psalter was probably produced at St. Albans Abbey between 1120 and 1140. The manuscript has been known by many names: the St. Albans Psalter, the Albani Psalter, the Hildesheim Psalter, and the Psalter of Christina of Markyate. Heralded as a high point of English Romanesque illumination, the manuscript contains the earliest known copy of the saint’s life known as Chanson de St. Alexis. This volume explores the manuscript’s many contexts, reading its texts and images amidst the rising internationalism of the period, marked by the circulation of objects, ideas, and peoples. Some of the leading scholars of twelfth-century manuscript studies here explore the Markyate Psalter, understanding it through new methodologies, pursuing innovative lines of inquiry. The collection shines fresh light on a well-known manuscript, and promises to open important lines of discourse about the book and its readers.


Introduction by Kristen Collins and Matthew Fisher
Saint Anselm’s “Grand Tour” and the Full-Page Picture Cycle in the Markyate Psalter by T. A. Heslop
The Patronage and Ownership of the Markyate Psalter by Nigel Morgan
Handling the Letter by Aden Kumler
The Repainting of Psalm 101 and Meaningful Change in the Markyate Psalter by Kristen Collins and Nancy K. Turner
Voicing the Psalms in the Markyate Psalter: Devotional Experience and Experiments with Images and Words by Kerry Boeye
Intercessory Prayer and the Initials of the Markyate Psalter by Rachel Koopmans
La Vie de Saint Alexis and the Alexis Quire in the Crusading Context by Zrinka Stahuljak
The Psalmist and the Saint: David, Alexis, and the Construction of Meaning in a Twelfth-Century Composite Manuscript by Kathryn Gerry
Blindness and Insight, Seeing and Believing: Reading Two Emmaus Sequences from St. Albans by Morgan Powell
Praying with Pictures in the Gough Psalter by Martin Kauffmann
Madness and Innocence: Reading the Infancy Cycle of a Romanesque Vita Christi by Kristen Collins
The St. Albans Psalter Monograph of 1960: Fifty Years Later by J. J. G. Alexander

Author Bio(s)

Kristen Collins is associate curator in the Department of Manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Matthew Fisher is associate professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Book roundup: New titles in English

9781472457813.jpgLYNN F. JACOBS. Thresholds and Boundaries: Liminality in Netherlandish Art (1385-1530)Routledge, 2017, 256 p.
ISBN: 978-1472457813

lthough liminality has been studied by scholars of medieval and seventeenth-century art, the role of the threshold motif in Netherlandish art of the late fourteenth, fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries — this late medieval/early ‘early modern’ period — has been much less fully investigated.  Thresholds and Boundaries: Liminality in Netherlandish Art (1385-1550) addresses this issue through a focus on key case studies (Sluter’s portal of the Chartreuse de Champmol and the calendar pages of the Limbourg Brothers’ Très Riches Heures), and on important formats (altarpieces and illuminated manuscripts).  Lynn F. Jacobs examines how the visual thresholds established within Netherlandish paintings, sculptures, and manuscript illuminations become sites where artists could address relations between life and death, aristocrat and peasant, holy and profane, and man and God—and where artists could exploit the “betwixt and between” nature of the threshold to communicate, paradoxically, both connections and divisions between these different states and different worlds. Building on literary and anthropological interpretations of liminality, this book demonstrates how the exploration of boundaries in Netherlandish art infused the works with greater meaning.  The book’s probing of the — often ignored –meanings of the threshold motif casts new light on key works of Netherlandish art.


manuscrits-illuminats-la-tardor-de-l-edat-mitjana-i-els-inicis-del-renaixementJOSEFINA PLANAS BADENAS (ed.). Manuscrits il·luminats. La tardor de l’Edat Mitjana i els inicis del RenaixementUniversitat de Lleida, 2017, 204 p.
ISBN: 978-8491440086

L’interès d’aquesta recopilació d’estudis recau en el fet d’analitzar l’elaboració del llibre miniat durant un període cronològic, que inclou les darreres manifestacions gòtiques i els primers còdexs elaborats, d’acord amb les pautes formals del Renaixement. La línia divisòria que separa els dos períodes esmentats no es regeix per una cronologia estricta, sinó que en funció de la situació particular de cada un dels estats europeus es manifesta la persistència de la tradició gòtica o es percep la oració del nou llenguatge formal creat a la Toscana. Aquesta exibilitat ha permès reconstruir la creació de manuscrits il·luminats al llarg del segle XV i principis del XVI, ponderant la varietat de propostes estètiques que van conviure entre si, durant aquest període. L’anàlisi de diversos centres de producció artística i del paper protagonista dut a terme per destacats promotors de l’envergadura de la reialesa, l’aristocràcia castellana o la cúria papal, enriqueixen aquesta visió de conjunt. Finalment, l’estudi dels manuscrits elaborats a Roma, durant el Duecento, planteja una reflexió sobre la reinterpretació del món clàssic, amb totes les connotacions iconogràfiques i ideològiques que va implicar la recuperació d’aquest llegat en una fase prèvia a la gran eclosió del Renaixement.


9789042934153C. CURRIE. Van Eyck Studies: Papers Presented at the Eighteenth Symposium for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in PaintingPeeters, 2017, 598 p.
ISBN: 978-9042934153

Since Paul Coreman’s ground-breaking L’Agneau mystique au laboratoire in 1953, the Ghent Altarpiece, masterwork of the Van Eyck brothers, has been a major focus of research at the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage (KIK-IRPA, Brussels). Some sixty years later, in the wake of a new conservation campaign in which KIK-IRPA is again playing the leading role, the art of Hubert and Jan van Eyck took centre stage at the Symposium XVIII for the Study of Underdrawing and Technology in Painting (Brussels, 19-21 September 2012). The event was organised by the KIK-IRPA and the Centre for the Study of the Flemish Primitives in collaboration with the Laboratoire d’étude des œuvres d’art par des méthodes scientifiques (Université catholique de Louvain-la-Neuve), and Illuminare – Centre for the Study of Medieval Art (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven).

The Ghent Altarpiece and the oeuvre of Jan van Eyck continue to captivate modern viewers and still arouse tremendous interest among art historians. The fascination with Eyckian art, with all its dazzling illusionistic effects and iconographic finesse, is every bit as fresh and challenging as it was six centuries ago.

During three days of presentations and intense discussions, eminent specialists from all over the world attempted to fanthom the secrets of Van Eyck’s success. They debated the issues from a variety of different standpoints, and shed new light on thorny topics such as attribution, iconography and painting technique.

This book captures the variety of thirty-seven papers presented at the symposium and provides state-of-the-art knowledge on one of the most significant painters of all time. It should be read in conjunction with the widely acclaimed website “Closer to Van Eyck”, which offers the scientific imagery of the Ghent Altarpiece in glorious high resolution.

Book roundup: New items in English, French, Dutch and Italian

Monstres-medievaux_couv_c-300x400DAMIEN KEMPF, MARIA KEMPF. Monstres médiévauxIntervalles, 2017, 95 p.
ISBN: 978-2369560616

Plus de 100 illustrations, dont de nombreuses inédites, tirées des fonds prodigieux de la British Library et du J. Paul Getty Museum.

Les monstres envahissent nos rêves : effrayants, laids, narquois ou sympathiques, ils peuplent notre inconscient. Même s’ils appartiennent à un monde différent, ils ne cessent de nous rendre visite, de se tenir à nos côtés.
L’engouement de plusieurs générations pour Star WarsHarry Potter ou pour toutes les épopées qui reviennent en force dans les romans, les films de science-fiction ou la bande dessinée témoigne que ces créatures qui ont donné lieu à des œuvres d’une richesse inouïe et d’une imagination débordante au Moyen Âge continuent à fasciner, à nourrir notre soif de fantastique.
Les manuscrits médiévaux regorgent d’enluminures prodigieuses où les artistes ont donné libre cours à leur créativité pour donner corps à ces êtres légendaires, dragons, hommes à tête de chiens, licornes, sirènes et autres démons. Ces œuvres nous apportent un éclairage précieux sur la société médiévale – sa conception de la nature et du monde, de la religion et des mœurs, et son imaginaire, dans lequel les monstres occupent un rôle de premier plan.
Il était grand temps de faire sortir de bibliothèques parfois inaccessibles au public toutes ces images de monstres qui ont fait partie intégrante de la culture médiévale, où se mêlaient crainte de Dieu, peur de l’enfer, mais aussi un goût pour le surnaturel et pour des mondes inconnus. Doit-on vraiment s’étonner que nombre d’entre eux nous paraissent étrangement familiers ?


foto01PIETER ROELOFS. Johan Maelwael, NAI Publishers, 2017, 126 p.
ISBN: 978-9462083790

Johan Maelwael (ca. 1370-1415) is de eerst bekende Nederlandse schilder. Ruim zeshonderd jaar geleden was hij een van de meest succesvolle kunstenaars in West-Europa. Maelwael groeide op in Nijmegen, de oudste stad van Nederland, gelegen in het hertogdom Gelre. Rond 1400 vierde hij zijn hoogtijdagen in Dijon, een belangrijk artistiek centrum in Europa. Als geliefd hofschilder en kamerdienaar van de machtige Bourgondische hertogen Filips de Stoute en Jan zonder Vrees bouwde hij daar aan een breed oeuvre. .

Deze publicatie beschrijft Maelwaels leven, zijn werk en zijn plaats in de geschiedenis en biedt hiermee een eerste introductie aan liefhebbers en nieuwe inzichten aan specialisten. De met Maelwael in verband gebrachte schilderijen worden getoond samen met een rijkdom aan laatmiddeleeuwse kunstschatten: schilderijen, rijkgedecoreerde handschriften, edelsmeedwerk en sculpturen van getalenteerde tijdgenoten onder wie zijn neven de gebroeders Van Limburg, Jean de Beaumetz, André Beauneveu, Henri Bellechose, Colart de Laon, Claes Sluter en Claes de Werve. Zo ontstaat een beeld van de veelzijdige artistieke praktijk waarbinnen Maelwael werkzaam was. De schoonheid en de mystieke betekenis van deze eeuwenoude objecten zullen de moderne lezer nog steeds verwonderen en intrigeren.


lorenzetti ambrogio mono_190A. BAGNOLI, R. BARTALINI. Ambrogio Lorenzetti. Catalogo della mostraSilvana, 2017, 512 p.
ISBN: 978-8836637287

Ambrogio Lorenzetti (Siena, notizie dal 1319 al 1348) fu uno degli artisti più importanti nell’intera Europa tardo-medievale e grazie ai Commentarii di Lorenzo Ghiberti divenne presto famoso presso gli scrittori d’arte.
È universalmente celebre in virtù degli affreschi nel Palazzo Pubblico di Siena, con le allegorie e gli effetti del Buono e del Cattivo Governo. Ma Ambrogio non è solo l’autore di quell’eccezionale capolavoro: gli si devono, infatti, anche straordinari dipinti su tavola e altri cicli di affreschi che non hanno goduto della stessa considerazione.
Il volume affronta l’intera vicenda artistica del pittore: le opere conservate e quelle perdute, il loro linguaggio figurativo e i programmi iconografici, la destinazione e la funzione dei dipinti, la loro conservazione, la loro fortuna storiografica.


Book Roundup:

reims1Patrick Demouy, La Cathédrale de Reims, Paris, Presses Universitaires Paris Sorbonne, 2017. 512 p. ISBN : 979-10-231-0514-8. Prix : 47 euros.

En 2011 a été célébré le huitième centenaire de la cathédrale de Reims, ou plus exactement de l’actuel édifice gothique qui a succédé à une basilique paléochrétienne puis carolingienne, agrandie au XIIe siècle. C’est dans le baptistère de Reims que Clovis a jeté les bases d’un royaume des Francs appuyé par l’Église, appelé à devenir une nouvelle nation. En mémoire de cet acte fondateur, pendant plus de mille ans, les rois sont venus à Reims renouer la chaîne des temps en recevant l’onction et la couronne sur les lieux du baptême du premier d’entre eux. Devenu par le hasard des opérations militaires une cathédrale du front, de septembre 1914 à octobre 1918, Notre-Dame a payé cher cette identification à l’histoire de France. La bombarder, c’était toucher le pays au cœur. Il a fallu tout le courage de Charles de Gaulle et de Konrad Adenauer, en 1962, pour en faire le lieu symbolique de la réconciliation franco-allemande, en assumant le passé tout en se tournant résolument vers un avenir à l’échelle de l’Europe. Dès lors, la cathédrale de Reims n’est pas une cathédrale comme les autres. La Grande Guerre, en la mutilant, a ravivé sa dimension nationale, tout en attirant les regards des historiens de l’art du monde entier. Outre la qualité de son architecture et de sa sculpture, il est clair que c’est l’auréole du martyre qui a développé l’intérêt des savants, partagés parfois entre la révérence et le remords. Huit cents ans après le début du chantier de Notre-Dame de Reims, le temps était venu de rassembler autour d’elle des spécialistes de tous horizons pour confronter leurs analyses et faire le point des connaissances.

Spécialiste universitaire et médiatique, Patrick Demouy consacre ses recherches à Reims et son histoire, à la cathédrale et au Palais de Tau en particulier. Il travaille également sur les cathédrales gothiques européennes et les sacres des rois. Son dernier ouvrage, Le sacre du roi : histoire, symbolique, cérémonial (Place Victoires/NuéeBleue, 2016), a reçu plusieurs prix.


reims2Jean Wirth, La sculpture de la cathédrale de Reims et sa place dans l’art du XIIIe siècle, Genève, Droz, 2017 (Ars Longa, 6). 224 pages, 128 ill. ISBN : 978-2-600-05819-3. Prix : 39,90 euros

Malgré l’abondance des travaux que la cathédrale de Reims a suscités, la chronologie de la construction et, par conséquent, celle de sa sculpture restent l’objet de controverses. Compte tenu de l’importance de ce chantier, cela affecte la connaissance de la sculpture du XIIIe siècle en général. La critique serrée des hypothèses existantes sur l’histoire de ce chantier et de ceux qui sont en relation directe, comme Chartres, Amiens, Strasbourg et Paris, permet à Jean Wirth de repartir sur de nouvelles bases. En s’attachant autant que possible à restituer l’individualité stylistique de sculpteurs anonymes et de saisir ainsi les interactions entre les chantiers, il propose une vision conséquente de la sculpture gothique à son apogée et de son évolution.