This is the first full-length, English-language study of eleventh-century figural sculpture produced in Dalmatia and Croatia. Challenging the dependency on stylistic analysis in previous scholarship, Magdalena Skoblar contextualises the visual presence of these relief carvings in their local communities, focusing on five critical sites. Alongside an examination of architectural setting and iconography, this book also investigates archaeological and textual evidence to establish the historical situation within which these sculptures were produced and received. Croatia and Dalmatia in the eleventh century were a borderland between Byzantium and the Latin west where the balance of power was constantly changing. These sculptures speak of the fragmented and hybrid nature of the Adriatic and the Mediterranean as a whole, where well-connected trade routes and porous boundaries informed artistic production. Moreover, in contrast to elsewhere in Europe where contemporary figural sculpture was spurred on by monastic communities, this book argues that the patronage of such artworks in Dalmatia and Croatia was driven by members of the local secular elites. For the first time, these sculptures are being introduced to Anglophone scholarship, and this book contributes to a fuller understanding of the profound changes in medieval attitudes towards sculpture after the year 1000.
Table of Contents
1. Urban Oligarchs: Panels and Patronage in the Church of the Holy Dominica at Zadar
2. The Church of St Lawrence and the Platea Comunis at Zadar
3. Royal Patronage in the Church of St Mary at Biskupija
4. The Rule of Law: The Church of SS Peter and Moses at Solin
5. Regina and her Screen: The Church of St Michael on the Island of Koločep
Magdalena Skoblar is a Research Associate of the University of York and a Research Fellow of the British School at Rome.
"The text is nicely written and supplemented with relevant black-and-white images and an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources. The book thus makes accessible to a wider audience the visual material and also existing scholarship, most of which circulates in non-Western European languages. Finally, the case study approach offers a model that could be emulated in future investigations of little-known works, sites, and cultures."