Here are some great new books on 14th and 15th century painting.
Any suggestions from the other end of the Middle Ages (or anything in-between)? As always do let us know of any recently-published medieval art history books you would like us to include in a book roundup – we would be happy to let people to know about them!
Zuleika Murat, Guariento. Pittore di corte, maestro del naturale (Silvana Editoriale)
Guariento di Arpo (1310 c.- 1367-1370) was the leading painter of Padua under the Carrara. He worked extensively for the most prestigious patrons of his time, including members of
the Carrara family, two Doges of Venice, the Augustinian friars and the Dominicans, being commissioned both of frescoes and of panel paintings. Despite the great value he was granted during his life-time, and the attention that scholars have paid to his works more recently, the real nature of his production still struggles to emerge. This is due, in part, to the partial destruction of his most important paintings, such as imposing frescoes and huge altarpieces; but also to the nature of his style — in-between Italian naturalism and Gothic elegance — that has sometimes disorientated scholars.
This book aims to reconsider Guariento’s activity and place in the wider context of Trecento Padua. Through a new examination of his paintings, a new interpretation of the requirements of the patrons, as well as of the wider historical background, this book provides a new perspective on Guariento and of the entire context where he lived and worked. Special attention is paid to matters neglected thus far, such as the relationship
between the painter and the scientists who worked on astrology, optics and perspectiva at the University of Padua, the Studium, who might have suggested him how to represent a believable fictive space in painting; the decoration of the golden leaf and of the pastiglia; the typologies and functions of panel paintings. His works are also interpreted as factors of visual propaganda, and their complex iconography is here connected to the specific needs of the patrons. The paintings are presented through a rich photographic documentation and -when totally or partially destroyed- with virtual reconstruction done on a solid philological base.
Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516) lived and worked in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands, where he created enigmatic paintings and drawings full of bizarre creatures, phantasmagoric monsters, and terrifying nightmares. He also depicted detailed landscapes and found inspiration in fundamental moral concepts: seduction, sin, and judgment. This beautiful book accompanies a major exhibition on Bosch’s work in his native city, and will feature important new research on his 25 known paintings and 20 drawings. The book, divided into six sections, covers the entirety of the artist’s career. It discusses in detail Bosch’s Pilgrimage of Life, Bosch and the Life of Christ, his role as a draughtsman, his depictions of saints, and his visualization of Judgment Day and the hereafter, among other topics, and is handsomely illustrated by new photography undertaken by the Bosch Research and Conservation Project Team.
Scholars have traditionally focused on the subjects and meanings of Hieronymus Bosch’s works, whereas issues of painting technique, workshop participation, and condition of extant pictures have received considerably less attention. Since 2010, the Bosch Research and Conservation Project has been studying these works using modern methods. The team has documented Bosch’s extant paintings with infrared reflectography and ultra high-resolution digital macro photography, both in infrared and visible light. Together with microscopic study of the paintings, this has enabled the team to write extensive and critical research reports describing the techniques and condition of the works, published in this extraordinary volume for the first time.
Susan Urbach, Early Netherlandish Painting in Budapest: Volume I and II (Brepols Publishers)
This is the first volume of a series of scholarly catalogues on Flemish paintings from the Szépművészeti Múzeum in Budapest. Written by Dr Susan Urbach – emeritus curator of the museum and renowned scholar of Northern Renaissance Art – with the assistance of curator Ágota Varga and picture-conservator András Fáy, the catalogue includes extensive entries and bibliographical references on 49 works dating from c. 1460 to c. 1540. The volume covers about a third of the entire collection of Flemish Painting from the 15th century through to the 17th and includes the latest results of scholarly research and technical analysis.
C. C. Wilson, Examining Giovanni Bellini: An Art ‘More Human and More Divine’ (Brepols Publishers)
This book presents a collection of fifteen essays on the Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini, one of the most innovative and influential artists of the Italian Renaissance. Long renowned for his embrace of oil technique, astute mastery of perspective, and development of landscape painting, Bellini has been admired across the ages as well for the profoundly human and deeply reverent character of his works. Aspects of Bellini’s world, his oeuvre, and his legacy are examined here through a diversity of approaches, many interdisciplinary and supported by the bibliographies of theoretical writings and of specialized fields rarely or not previously brought to bear on the pictures discussed. Topics represented include the study of medicine and healing plants, plant and animal symbolism, portraiture, liturgy, antique sources, material culture and market practices, textual analysis, and collecting and reception.