1st Edition

The Long Lives of Medieval Art and Architecture

Edited By Jennifer M. Feltman, Sarah Thompson Copyright 2019

    Traditional histories of medieval art and architecture often privilege the moment of a work’s creation, yet surviving works designated as "medieval" have long and expansive lives. Many have extended prehistories emerging from their sites and contexts of creation, and most have undergone a variety of interventions, including adaptations and restorations, since coming into being. The lives of these works have been further extended through historiography, museum exhibitions, and digital media. Inspired by the literary category of biography and the methods of  longue durée historians, the introduction and seventeen chapters of this volume provide an extended meditation on the longevity of medieval works of art and the aspect of time as a factor in shaping our interpretations of them. While the metaphor of "lives" invokes associations with the origin of the discipline of art history, focus is shifted away from temporal constraints of a single human lifespan or generation to consider the continued lives of medieval works even into our present moment. Chapters on works from the modern countries of Italy, France, England, Spain, and Germany are drawn together here by the thematic threads of essence and continuity, transformation, memory and oblivion, and restoration. Together, they tell an object-oriented history of art and architecture that is necessarily entangled with numerous individuals and institutions.

    List of Figures

    List of Color Plates

    List of Contributors


    Why the Long Lives of Medieval Art and Architecture? An Introduction, Jennifer M. Feltman

    Essence and Continuity

    How Long are the Lives of Medieval Buildings? Framing Spatio-temporalities in the Study of the Built World, Nicola Camerlenghi

    Lost in Translation: Destroyed Sculpture, Invented Images, and the Long Life of the Virgin of Le Puy, Elisa A. Foster

    Flying Pigs, Fiery Whirlwinds, and a 300-year Old Virgin: Costume and Continuity in a Sacred Performance, Laura Jacobus


    San Quirce de Burgos: One Medieval Transformation in the Life of a Romanesque Church, Amanda W. Dotseth

    Recycling Santa Tecla: The Demolition and Continued Life of an Early Christian Basilica, Charles R. Morscheck

    Picturing the Long Life of Notre-Dame de Louviers, Kyle G. Sweeney

    Re-use, Recycle? The Long Life of an Unfinished French Book of Hours, Emily N. Savage


    Resurrecting the Medieval Altar: Iberian Virgins in the Gothic Castilian Imagination and in Contemporary Museum Contexts, Maeve O’Donnell-Morales

    The Portal from Coulangé: A Peripatetic Journey, Nancy Wu

    Ownership, Censorship, and Digital Repatriation: Excavating Layers of History in the Carrow Psalter, Lynley Anne Herbert

    Memory and Oblivion

    Restoration, Revival, Remembrance: The Nineteenth-Century Lives of the Lorenzetti Chapter House Frescoes from San Francesco, Siena, Imogen Tedbury

    The Victory Cross Redux: Ritual, Memory, and Politics in the Aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, Matilde Mateo

    The Magdeburg Rider on Display in Modern Germany, William J. Diebold


    The Salvage of the Benevento Bronze Doors after World War II, Cathleen Hoeniger

    Preservation, Restoration, and the Tomb of the "Founder" at Salisbury, Catherine Emma Walden

    Understanding the Restoration at Chartres, Meredith Cohen

    The Power of Absence: The Missing North Tower at Saint-Denis, Sarah Thompson



    Jennifer M. Feltman is a specialist in the art and architecture of twelfth- and thirteenth-century Europe. She has published on the Last Judgment programs at the cathedrals of Chartres, Reims, and Lincoln and is editor and contributor to The North Transept of Reims Cathedral: Design, Construction, and Visual Programs (Routledge, 2016). She is Assistant Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture at The University of Alabama, USA.

    Sarah Thompson is an art historian focusing on Gothic architecture. Her research has addressed the concept of Gothic as a stylistic category, and she has published on medieval architectural design process and on the functions of Gothic ruins. Her current book project, Picturing Gothic, analyzes the post-medieval visual representation of Gothic architecture. She is Associate Professor of Art History at the Rochester Institute of Technology, USA.

    'The editors have gathered together wide-ranging articles, authored by 17 recent and seasoned scholars who examine buildings, sculpture, paintings, metal-work, the sumptuous arts, and book illumination, all grounded in the European Middle Ages ... this thought-provoking anthology reminds us of the inherent value of diachronic analysis' - Speculum, 96/1.