Written over nearly three decades, the fifteen essays involve the three a's of the title, art, agency, and appreciation. The first refers to the general subject matter of the book, Byzantine art, chiefly painting, of the twelfth through the fourteenth centuries, the second to its often human-like agency, and the last to its historical reception. Responding to different issues and perspectives that have animated art history and Byzantine studies in recent decades, the essays have wide theoretical range from art historical formalism, iconography, archaeology and its manuscript equivalent codicology, to statistics, patronage, narratology, and the histories of science and collecting. The series begins with art works themselves and with the imagery and iconography of church decoration and manuscript illumination, shifts to the ways that objects act in the world and affect their beholders, and concludes with more general appreciations of Byzantine art in case studies from the thirteenth century to the present.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction. Later Byzantine Painting: The Church of the Chora and Palaiologan Art: Taxation with representation. Visual narrative and the political field of the Kariye Camii; The Chora and the Great Church: intervisuality in 14th-century Constantinople; Heavenly allies at the Chora; Tales of two cities: the patronage of early Palaeologan art and architecture in Constantinople and Thessaloniki. Manuscript Illumination: Theoktistos and associates in 12th-century Constantinople: an illustrated New Testament of 1133 A.D.; Relative size and comparative value in Byzantine illuminated manuscripts: some quantitative perspectives; The Palaeologina group: additional manuscripts and new questions; A Byzantine gospel book of 1262 A.D.: Paris, Gr. 117; A 13th-century Byzantine miniature in the Vatican library. Agency: Michael the Monk and his gospel book; The discourse of icons, then and now; To say and to see: ekphrasis and vision in Byzantium. Appreciation: The manuscripts of Antonios Malakes and the collecting and appreciation of illuminated books in the early Palaeologan period; The Italian appreciation and appropriation of illuminated Byzantine manuscripts, c. 1200-1450; Living on the Byzantine borders of Western art. Index.
Robert S. Nelson is Robert Lehman Professor of the History of Art at Yale University, USA.
’It is a very useful volume, including some of his most important and thought-provoking essays of recent years. ... This volume makes a great case for the study of Byzantine art, and its potential when treated with subtlety and thought.’ English Historical Review ’This book, containing fifteen articles written over nearly three decades, is a valuable contribution to the study of Byzantine imagery.’ The Burlington Magazine ’As a collection of articles by a major Byzantine art historian, this is a fantastically useful book... The articles themselves are important as contributions to the field of Byzantine art history: Nelson's engagement with theoretical standpoints beyond those traditional in Byzantine art history has been significant in helping to transform the ways in which Byzantine art is studied in the English-speaking world. However, his scholarship is not simply about Byzantium. His work should be read by a wider audience for what it says about theoretical approaches and methodologies, and for ways in which art history can go beyond the artist.’ Art History