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The Art of Devotion 1300-1500 [Hardcover]

H. W. Van Os

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Book Description

30 Sep 1996
One of the mainsprings of the revolution in art that took place throughout Europe in the late Middle Ages was the growth and development of individual piety or "private devotion." The movement began among monks, in the cloister, but soon spread to the castle and to patrician houses in the rich cities as clergy and laity alike sought to achieve personal salvation, often using beauty as an aid to achieve "nearness" to the divinity. In this book, filled with color reproductions of devotional art across many media--ivory, manuscript illumination, painted panel, wood sculpture--by artists ranging from Ambrogio Lorenzetti to Mantegna and Memling, the authors demonstrate how the movement affected both the iconography and style of European art between 1300 and 1500.This book is among the first to explore in-depth the accepted disciplines and aids to prayer that circulated in the late Middle Ages and bring them into the context of surviving art works. Individual works of art are studied to see how they functioned for their owners as activators of the imagination, as focal points for their special devotions, as vehicles to the "real" other world of God and the saints. Combining acute sensitivity to the individual work of art with a broad grasp of its historical context, this book is reminiscent of the contributions made by Erwin Panofsky and Sixten Ringbom to this area of art history.

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A JOY FOR SCHOLARS AND LAY READERS AS WELL 29 Jun 2004
By Gail Cooke - Published on Amazon.com
With the assistance of Hans Nieuwdorp, Bernhard Ridderbos, and Eugene Honee, Henk van Os, at the time Director of the Rijkmuseum in Amsterdam, compiled an impeccably researched and lavishly illustrated volume of devotional art found between 1300 and 1500.
Illustrations spanning various media - ivory, manuscript illumination, painted panel, and wood sculpture - display works representing artists ranging from Ambrogio Lorenzetti to Mantegna and Memling. Variety of the devotional objects astounds; beauty of the reproductions amazes.
Even among such glories, the intricately splendid Namur cradle is a stand-out. The ornate bed rests on four pillars, allowing the Christ child to be rocked. On the sides are Catherine and Barbara, the two saints most beloved by nuns, while banners, coats of arms and pendants contribute to the opulent decor. Inventories indicate that cribs for private devotion were not unusual in the southern Netherlands. At times they were displayed on sideboards in elegant homes. Small cribs, such as the one at Namur, were often given to a woman by hr family when she entered a convent, where the crib could be used in a nun's cell to assist her in prayer.
The development of private devotions had an enormous impact on the revolution in art that occurred in Europe during the late Middle Ages. First beginning among monks, the movement rapidly spread to elite homes in wealthy cities as both laity and clergy searched for ways to achieve individual salvation. This beautiful volume is a dissemination of those accepted disciplines and aids to prayers.
A boon for scholars, The Art of Devotion in the Middle Ages is a joy for lay readers as well.
- Gail Cooke
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Hearty Chunk of Information 1 May 2000
By staunton gilchrist - Published on Amazon.com
Henk van Os is well known in the art history world for his intelligent and academic writing. This book is very well illustrated and easy enough to read and understand even for the beginner. Covering 2 centuries is not easy but he has the qualifications to hi-light the best and most important works of the middle ages. A must in anyone's library who is interested in medieval art or history.
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