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The Medieval Menagerie: Animals in the Art of the Middle Ages [Hardcover]

Janetta Rebold Benton

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Book Description

19 Nov 1992
Featuring incredible creatures and grotesque gargoyles, "The Medieval Menagerie" takes us from the improbable to the impossible as it traces the depiction and the meaning of real and imaginary animals in medieval art. From unicorns and dragons to elephants, lions, and monkeys, medieval society was fascinated with animals, whether they actually existed or not. The more fantastic the creature, the greater its hold seems to have been on the fertile imaginations of the Middle Ages. Both art and literature abound with vividly concocted examples of Gothic monsters (gargoyles and griffins), bizarre ideas about real if exotic beasts (lions were believed to be born dead and resurrected by the father lion three days later), and strange visions of composite creatures (such as a widely accepted animal believed to be a cross between an ant and a lion). Featuring the celebrated collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, "The Medieval Menagerie" is illustrated with the splendid and amusing beasts found in medieval painting, sculpture, architecture and decorative arts, as wello as in bestiaries and manuscripts. The text explores the depiction and the meaning of real and imaginary animals in medieval art. Elegant, lively and intelligent, "The Medieval Managerie" captures some of the wildest creatures ever to grace a Gothic cathedral.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Abbeville Press Inc.,U.S.; 1st Edition edition (19 Nov 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1558591338
  • ISBN-13: 978-1558591332
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 20.4 x 2.1 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,325,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
4.0 out of 5 stars Both scholarly and entertaining. 4 Jan 2014
By Kyle Kowalczyk - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was using this book for a paper I was writing on the use of animals in medieval art. It proved to be very helpful. Benton seems to be a very credible author, as I found many of her statements verified in other works by other authors. Her use of pictures is essential for this type of book and makes for a much more informative and interesting read. You could use it to gain some good knowledge about art of the period or put it on your coffee table as something fun for guests to look at.
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