The Art History Newsletter

Medieval Category Archives

2012 Catalogues of the Year

9 January 2012 | Awards, Books, Medieval

It’s awards season again. CAA’s Alfred H. Barr Jr. and Charles Rufus Morey prizes may not be as ballyhooed as the Oscars but they are coveted by members of the American art history academy. This week I begin examining the finalists for this year’s Barr Award, which is awarded to museum catalogues published between September [...]


Myth and ‘Mediocritas’

3 August 2011 | Books, Medieval, Renaissance

Three new books on medieval and Renaissance Venice and Florence caught my attention recently. Most significantly: Blake de Maria’s Becoming Venetian: Immigrants and the Arts in Early Modern Venice. The famous social stability of the multicultural Republic of Venice he calls partly a myth and credits partly to its “ethos of mediocritas, a state dictum [...]


Can portraits represent?

29 March 2011 | Books, Medieval

I apologize for having posted little lately, but I return with a book to strongly recommend: “The Likeness of the King: A Prehistory of Portraiture in Late Medieval France,” by Stephen Perkinson. I come to this book a bit late — it was published in 2009, but my review copy went to the wrong address, [...]


When did seeing become believing?

15 November 2010 | Books, Medieval

Roland Recht’s 1999 book Believing and seeing. The art of Gothic cathedrals has finally been published in English, in a translation by the late Mary Writtall. In the July 2010 issue of Metascience Ellen M. Shortell writes: Studies in medieval religion, science, literature, and art, particularly in the past two decades, have focused a great [...]


In the papers

18 August 2010 | Ancient, Baroque/Neoclassical, Medieval, Modern, Museums

Press clippings: Sarah Williams Goldhagen reviews ?ur?i? and Hadjitryphonos, Architecture as Icon: Perception and Representation of Architecture in Byzantine Art in The New Republic (exhibition and catalog) “The Lost World of Old Europe: The Danube Valley 5,000-3,500 B.C.” at the Ashmolean Museum, reviewed by Neal Ascherson (LRB), and noted by Jonathan Jones (Guardian) and Paul Levy (WSJ); previously [...]


The Ponte Vecchio

28 June 2010 | Architecture, Medieval, Renaissance

In the Wall Street Journal, Jay Pridmore considers Florence’s Ponte Vecchio: When the morning sun reaches across the Arno and hits the varied ochre tones, the whole bridge glows as one in the hazeless Florentine light. Visually, distinct elements weave together like immutable strands— genius, commerce and tyranny, to name three big ones—of the Florentine [...]


Heavenly Vaults

16 June 2010 | Architecture, Medieval

Designboom posts a blurb and excerpt from David Stephenson, Heavenly Vaults: From Romanesque to Gothic in European Architecture (Princeton Architectural Press, 2009). (See also a review by Marcus Bunyan of the 2009 exhibition at John Buckley Gallery, Richmond, Australia; 2007 show at Julie Saul and Brian Sholis review.) What appeals to me about this project is 1) seriality as a way of [...]


Obit: Anne Prache

6 May 2010 | Architecture, Medieval

A recent Bulletin Monumental (167-4) carries an obituary of Anne Prache (b. 1931), who died May 1, 2009. “A great figure in the history of art,” she was educated at the Ecole du Louvre and the Sorbonne, authored numerous books and articles, and eventually returned to the Sorbonne as professor of medieval art. She completed [...]


‘Different Visions’

29 January 2010 | Journals, Medieval

Also in CAA Reviews, Sherry C.M. Lindquist reports on Different Visions, the “new, peer-reviewed, open-access e-journal edited by Rachel Dressler and dedicated to the “intersection of critical theory and medieval visual culture”: The journal’s inaugural issue is entitled “Triangulating Our Vision: Madeline Caviness’s Approach to Medieval Art” … Caviness is known for her meticulous, award-winning [...]


Medieval & Renaissance Shows

11 May 2009 | Medieval, Museums, Renaissance

Recently arrived in our inbox: MEDIEVAL AND RENAISSANCE EXHIBITIONS IN EUROPE AND NORTH AMERICA, SUMMER 2009 An incomplete list, compiled by Nick Herman [Ph.D. Candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University] Belgium Charles the Bold Groeninge Museum, Bruges, 27 March-21 July Canada From Raphael to Caracci: The Art of Papal Rome Ottawa, National Gallery [...]


Konrad Witz

19 April 2009 | Medieval, Museums

At the Guardian, Jonathan Jones encounters Konrad Witz’s 15th-century Saint Christopher in Basel, and offers an appreciation: Witz must surely be responding imaginatively to the inward-looking religious movements of the later middle ages, finding a visual equivalent for new mysticisms that stressed the soul’s quest for God. The poetic solitude of this painting is as [...]


Crossing boundaries

28 February 2009 | Conferences, Medieval, Modern, Renaissance

Allyson Drucker reports from CAA: You would have been hard-pressed to find the geographic and temporal boundaries that academics have traditionally abided by in two of this morning’s sessions where, instead, panelists focused on the points of intersection among art and artists hailing from different milieux. At “The International Contribution to Renaissance and Baroque Art” [...]


New Medieval Journal

18 February 2009 | Journals, Medieval

A new online-only periodical Different Visions: A Journal of New Perspectives on Medieval Art, has been launched, with Rachel Dressler of the University at Albany as editor. Virginia Blanton, Richard Emmerson, Corine Schleif, Linda Seidel, Debra Higgs Strickland, and Christine Verzar round out the editorial board. It is an open-access, peer-reviewed annual, devoted to progressive [...]


Whither Medieval Art History?

24 November 2008 | Medieval, Theory

In, Kathryn A. Smith considers A Companion to Medieval Art: Romanesque and Gothic in Northern Europe, edited by Conrad Rudolph: The advent of a new millennium is an opportunity to take stock. Blackwell Publishing has begun to do just that, inaugurating several ambitious series whose aim is to map the past, present, and future [...]


Senses and Symmetry

21 April 2008 | Ancient, Medieval, Theory

The latest issue of World Archaeology (39:4) is largely devoted to two themes: the senses and “symmetrical archaeology.” C. Pamela Graves writes: In the Middle Ages the senses were considered two-way processes. The senses ‘enabled tangible qualities, and indeed, spiritual or intangible qualities, to be passed from one party to another’ and were acknowledged as [...]


Le Roman de la Rose Online

13 February 2008 | Medieval

From The Johns Hopkins University Gazette: Grants of $779,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will allow The Johns Hopkins University and the Bibliotheque Nationale de France to provide scholars with virtual access to more than half the known versions of Le Roman de la Rose, a medieval poem on the art of love that [...]


Discussing ‘Venice and the Islamic World’

21 September 2007 | Islamic, Medieval, Renaissance

In, Dorothy M. Shepard summarizes the recent “Venice and the Islamic World, 828–1797″ symposium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which mounted an exhibition on the topic): James Harper of the University of Oregon gave the last paper of the morning. Titled “Iron Curtain and Global Village: The Historiographic Positioning of Venice and Islam,” [...]


‘The Ugly Woman’

31 May 2007 | Baroque/Neoclassical, Medieval, Renaissance

In the February 2007 Renaissance Studies, Victoria Kirkham reviews Patrizia Bettella’s The Ugly Woman: Transgressive Aesthetic Models in Italian Poetry from the Middle Ages to the Baroque. One chapter “devotes generous space to the ‘guardian,’ since whatever her incarnation — as duenna, chaperone, governess — her function is to ‘guard’ and ‘regard,’ that is, to [...]


Printed Splendor

16 May 2007 | Books, Medieval

In CAA Reviews, Larry Silver writes that Rainer Kahsnitz’s new book, Carved Splendor: Late Gothic Altarpieces in Southern Germany, Austria, and South Tirol, is “perhaps one of the most beautiful books ever produced.” Published by Getty, it is “a translation of the 2005 Hirmer edition, with the usual high production values of that Munich art [...]


Medieval Paintings Found

23 March 2007 | Medieval

From The Independent: “An immense treasure trove of medieval wall paintings, concealed by whitewash for 300 years, has been found in a small church in south-eastern France. Experts believe that up to 600 square metres of the upper walls of the nave of the church in Vif, near Grenoble, are decorated with frescoes painted in [...]