Gothic Art: Glorious Visions (Perspectives)

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9780135701775: Gothic Art: Glorious Visions (Perspectives)

Part of Prentice Hall's Perspectives series of moderately priced, heavily illustrated, high-quality paperback books on specific subjects in art history, this survey of Gothic art in Europe takes a fresh look at the meaning of the term "Gothic" and examines the art of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in terms of the way it is seen.

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From Library Journal:

In this engagingly original introductory text to art and architecture of the Gothic period, Camille (art history, Univ. of Chicago) eschews a traditional formalistic and iconographic approach. He instead examines Gothic architecture in terms of its liturgical function as a grandiose reliquary to contain holy images and relics, as a sacred image itself, as a context for sculpture and other media, and in relation to an evolving concept of transcendent light. The critical urban context of the style and its relationships to rising monarchic power and shifting religious currents are also stressed. Out of these investigations arises a deeper comprehension of the subjective potency of religious imagery as manifested in communal, devotional, and liturgical contexts. While Camille attempts to come to grips with the essentials of the Gothic style, Partridge (art history, Univ. of California, Berkeley) is content to explore the unfolding of the Renaissance style within the boundaries of 15th- and 16th-century papal Rome. In a consideration that is sensitive to the perilous condition of the church, Partridge thoughtfully reconstructs crucial artistic responses to these challenges. Not only does he retrace the history of urbanistic refurbishment and reconfiguration of the papal city, he also underlines the practical and ideological intentions of these efforts. Individual building projects are also skillfully explored, and their relationships to the historical Roman context and their symbolic significances suggested. The consideration of frescoes offers important insight into the pictorial assertion of sacred and temporal power. These volumes are the latest additions to Abrams's "Perspectives" series, meant to examine significant periods and styles within broader social and historical contexts. While both authors make assertions that go beyond the possibilities of historical knowing, the richness of scholarship, perception, and thought that characterizes these efforts should gain them inclusion in all art libraries.
Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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