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Beauty and the Male Body in Byzantium: Perceptions and Representations in Art and Text [Hardcover]

Myrto Hatzaki

Price: £55.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

29 Oct 2009
Beauty and the Male Body in Byzantium looks into a subject previously ignored in discussions of the Byzantine world: it explores physical beauty as an attribute of the human and, in particular, of the male body through the evidence of imagery and writing from the eleventh to the fourteenth centuries. A close look into the workings of beauty in Byzantium reveals it to be attributed equally to the bodies of heroes and villains, saints and sinners, emperors and executioners, angels and eunuchs, manly soldiers and effeminate youths. Praised, admired, but also feared and envied, beauty's power appears to be matched only by the reverence bestowed upon it by Byzantine authors and artists alike. This study of Byzantine perceptions and representations of beauty tilts the balance in our understanding of Byzantium between spirituality and physicality, soul and body. It not only restores beauty to its proper place, but also refines our perception of the Byzantine world.

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'Its lucid and assertive prose and its stylish presentation are unusually attractive for a first solely-authored academic book. Further, the claims of originality Myrto Hatzaki makes are absolutely justified as there is no other comprehensive study that deals explicitly with the topic of beauty in Byzantium published in any major European language[…]Originality of thought and expression are not Hatzaki's only virtues. Her ability to carve a securely-defined area of expertise in such a highly populated field as medieval art history is also remarkable[…]Furthermore, the meticulousness and intensity of this book will make it a must amongst Byzantinists and Hellenists, whether art historians or not. Its extensive illustrations render it a useful reference source for Byzantine imagery. Palgrave Macmillan, too, must be commended for the high production values displayed here. Further, the book's inventive art historical language can serve as a model for new researchers and its engagement with historiography and literature offers fresh perspectives to those who study or teach those disciplines.' - Eugenia Russell, Reviews in History

Book Description

Explores the curious dynamics of physical beauty in Byzantium, both beauty in general and male beauty in particular, through the evidence of Byzantine imagery and writing

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