In this highly illustrated volume Madeline H. Caviness explores a set of issues that have concerned art historians in relation to medieval works of art - questions of patronage and viewing community, formal and aesthetic codes, and modern reception history. Two studies examine ways in which Neoplatonic and Aristotelian tenets informed different modes of representation, and the visionary mode is later addressed in the context of the works of Hildegard of Bingen. Hildegard's authorship and patronage is also the focus of two essays in a section dealing with women's roles in the arts of the high middle ages, especially as book owners. Revisionist pieces include four articles on the aesthetic and political factors that impacted on the modern formation of a canon of medieval works in Europe and the United States, while another evaluates selected medieval works in relation to modern definitions of obscenity. A number of these studies represent important steps toward Caviness's current feminist readings of medieval culture.
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction; Medieval Views of 'Art' vs. Modern Analysis: De convenientia et cohaerentia antiqui et novi Operis: medieval conservation, restoration, pastiche and forgery; Images of divine order and the third mode of seeing; 'The simple perception of matter' and the representation of narrative, ca. 1180-1280; The rationalization of sight and the authority of visions? A feminist (re)vision; Designers, Patrons, and Ideologies: Conflicts between regnum and sacerdotium as reflected in a Canterbury psalter of ca. 1215; Anchoress, abbess and queen: donors and patrons or intercessors and matrons?; Gender symbolism and text image relationships: Hildegard of Bingen's Scivias; Hildegard as designer of the illustrations to her works; Modern and post-modern views of medieval art: Broadening the definitions of 'art': the reception of medieval works in the context of post-impressionist movements; The politics of conservation and the role of the Corpus Vitrearum in the preservation of stained glass windows; Learning from Forest Lawn; Artistic integration in Gothic buildings: a postmodern construct?; Obscenity and alterity: images that shock and offend us/them, now/then?; The feminist project: pressuring the medieval object; Index.
' ... Caviness has published extensively on architecture, sculpture, and manuscript illumination, positioning her among the most significant scholars of medieval art in the second half of the twentieth century. Art in the Medieval West and its Audience goes some way toward chronicling Caviness's career by republishing a collection of fourteen of her essays... Because many of these papers have been formerly hidden away in Festschriften or other sources, this collection is far more than a republication of a scholar's back catalogue... [the] final essays show Caviness at her most rigorous and intellectually confrontational, making them not only stimulating papers, but also a good read. In our present age of rampant republishing, it is a delight to recommend this book to scholars with an interest in medieval art as a rare example of a useful if eclectic collection of essays. Religion and the Arts