1st Edition

Icons of Sound Voice, Architecture, and Imagination in Medieval Art

Edited By Bissera Pentcheva Copyright 2021
    264 Pages 25 Color & 90 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    264 Pages 25 Color & 90 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    264 Pages 25 Color & 90 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Icons of Sound: Voice, Architecture, and Imagination in Medieval Art brings together art history and sound studies to offer new perspectives on medieval churches and cathedrals as spaces where the perception of the visual is inherently shaped by sound. The chapters encompass a wide geographic and historical range, from the fifth to the fifteenth century, and from Armenia and Byzantium to Venice, Rome, and Santiago de Compostela. Contributors offer nuanced explorations of the intangible sonic aura produced in these places by the ritual music and harness the use of digital technology to reconstruct historical aural environments.

    Rooted in a decade-long interdisciplinary research project at Stanford University, Icons of Sound expands our understanding of the inherently intertwined relationship between medieval chant and liturgy, the acoustics of architectural spaces, and their visual aesthetics. Together, the contributors provide insights that are relevant across art history, sound studies, musicology, and medieval studies.


    Bissera V. Pentcheva

    1. Singing Doors: Images, Space, and Sound in the Santa Sabina Narthex

    Ivan Foletti

    2. Sights and Sounds of the Armenian Night Office, as Performed at Ani: A Collation of the Archaeological, Historical, and Liturgical Evidence

    Christina Maranci

    3. The Glittering Sound of Hagia Sophia and the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross in Constantinople

    Bissera V. Pentcheva

    4. Transcendent Visions: Voice and Icon in the Byzantine Imperial Chapels

    Bissera V. Pentcheva

    5. Echoes and Silences of Liturgy: Liturgical Inscriptions and the Temporality of Medieval Rituals

    Vincent Debiais

    6. Sound, Space, and Sensory Perception: The Easter Mass in the Liturgy of San Marco, Venice

    Deborah Howard

    7. The Marble Tempest: Material Imagination, the Echoes of Nostos, and the Transfiguration of Myth in Romanesque Sculpture

    Francisco Prado-Vilar

    Epilogue: A Voice from beyond the Grave: Tintoretto among the Art Historians

    Alexander Nemerov


    Bissera V. Pentcheva is Professor of Art History at Stanford University.

    "This edited collection of essays is the latest interdisciplinary project of Pentcheva's decade-long exploration of the Byzantine Hagia Sophia in both printed research and digitally reconstructed performance. Sound, acoustics, visual art, and architecture bring the eight essays together while remaining diverse in historical range (from the fifth to the fifteenth century) and geographic location (from Byzantium and Rome to Armenia, France, and Venice). The book is accessible to scholars in every branch of humanities research, in particular art historians, musicologists, theologians, and cultural historians ... Such a cohesive yet diverse set of essays can be easily applied in many disciplines, and offers substantial contributions to the broad, emerging fields of sound studies and digital humanities."

    —Nicholas Smolenski, Renaissance Quarterly