Summary: Informative, accessible, and imaginatively illustrated, Janetta Rebold Benton's new survey offers a lively exploration of the visual arts of the Middle Ages: its stained glass, mosaics, illuminated manuscripts, mural and panel paintings, ivories, metalwork, enamels, tapestries, sculpture, and, above all, its achievements in architecture.
Organized both chronologically and geographically, it begins with a brief look at Early Christian and Byzantine art, fol ...show morelowed by a closer examination of the art of the Early Middle Ages--"Barbarian," Carolingian, and Ottonian. From there the book focuses on the Romanesque and Gothic eras. Architecture was the dominant art form in the Middle Ages, and among the important Romanesque monuments discussed are Saint-Sernin in Toulouse, Sainte-Madeleine in Vézelay, Durham Cathedral in England, San Ambrogio in Milan, and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The major Gothic sites include Saint-Denis and Notre-Dame in Paris, Chartres Cathedral, Wells Cathedral, London's Westminster Abbey, and the cathedrals of Cologne, Prague, Lausanne, and Florence.
Throughout, the author strikes a skillful balance in her treatment of architecture, sculpture, painting, and the decorative arts. She offers intriguing information on the medieval social structure, including feudalism and the guilds; the power of the medieval Church; clothing (secular and ecclesiastical, as well as armor); and domestic architecture, ranging from modest homes to fortresses and castles. There is also a section on wit and humor in medieval art.
Comprehensive and authoritative, the book includes a chronology, a glossary, maps, a bibliography, and explanations of the media and techniques used by medieval artists--among them, fresco secco and buono mural painting, egg tempera panel painting, cloisonné and champlevé enamel work, ivory carving, manuscript illumination, stained-glass window production, tapestry weaving, and even cathedral construction. Art of the Middle Ages will be an essential companion and reference for museum goers, travelers, and students alike. ...show less
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