Art in the Medieval West and its Audience: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Art in the Medieval West and its Audience

1st Edition

By Madeline H. Caviness


452 pages

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Hardback: 9780860788607
pub: 2001-12-31
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In this highly illustrated volume Madeline H. Caviness explores a set of issues that have concerned art historians in relation to medieval works of art - questions of patronage and viewing community, formal and aesthetic codes, and modern reception history. Two studies examine ways in which Neoplatonic and Aristotelian tenets informed different modes of representation, and the visionary mode is later addressed in the context of the works of Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard's authorship and patronage is also the focus of two essays in a section dealing with women's roles in the arts of the high middle ages, especially as book owners. Revisionist pieces include four articles on the aesthetic and political factors that impacted on the modern formation of a canon of medieval works in Europe and the United States, while another evaluates selected medieval works in relation to modern definitions of obscenity. A number of these studies represent important steps toward Caviness's current feminist readings of medieval culture.


' … Caviness has published extensively on architecture, sculpture, and manuscript illumination, positioning her among the most significant scholars of medieval art in the second half of the twentieth century. Art in the Medieval West and its Audience goes some way toward chronicling Caviness's career by republishing a collection of fourteen of her essays… Because many of these papers have been formerly hidden away in Festschriften or other sources, this collection is far more than a republication of a scholar's back catalogue… [the] final essays show Caviness at her most rigorous and intellectually confrontational, making them not only stimulating papers, but also a good read. In our present age of rampant republishing, it is a delight to recommend this book to scholars with an interest in medieval art as a rare example of a useful if eclectic collection of essays. Religion and the Arts

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; Medieval Views of 'Art' vs. Modern Analysis: De convenientia et cohaerentia antiqui et novi Operis: medieval conservation, restoration, pastiche and forgery; Images of divine order and the third mode of seeing; 'The simple perception of matter' and the representation of narrative, ca. 1180-1280; The rationalization of sight and the authority of visions? A feminist (re)vision; Designers, Patrons, and Ideologies: Conflicts between regnum and sacerdotium as reflected in a Canterbury psalter of ca. 1215; Anchoress, abbess and queen: donors and patrons or intercessors and matrons?; Gender symbolism and text image relationships: Hildegard of Bingen's Scivias; Hildegard as designer of the illustrations to her works; Modern and post-modern views of medieval art: Broadening the definitions of 'art': the reception of medieval works in the context of post-impressionist movements; The politics of conservation and the role of the Corpus Vitrearum in the preservation of stained glass windows; Learning from Forest Lawn; Artistic integration in Gothic buildings: a postmodern construct?; Obscenity and alterity: images that shock and offend us/them, now/then?; The feminist project: pressuring the medieval object; Index.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / History / General
HISTORY / General