Those who have had the chance to hold a medieval manuscript in their hands cannot fail to have been impressed by the feeling of being in touch with a long-passed epoch. Back when a book was a true handicraft and every copy the result of a laborious process, the object was more a work of art than a volatile commercial product. The Mega Square Illuminated Manuscripts puts the reader in touch with amazing medieval illustrations and unique adornments, which document the imaginative power of their creators.
The final book of the Bible, known both as The Book of Revelation and The Apocalypse of John, is a prophesy of the events that will occur at the end of time. During the Middle Ages, in a society which held a deep belief in God and was mainly ruled by religious authorities, this apocalyptic theme recurs in art, through various media, including tapestries, illuminations, sculpture, and painting. This book pools the most famous pieces of art inspired by this theme, such as the Apocalypse drapery from Angers Cathedral, the carved tympanum of the Autun Cathedral, and the fresco in Albi Cathedral. The theme of the Apocalypse was a means to impress minds, whilst also allowing artists to develop their imaginations; its symbolic content allowing for many different interpretations.
Christ in Art
Since the dawn of Christianity, artists have been fascinated and stirred by the figure of Christ. His likeness appears in frescoes on the walls of catacombs that date from Roman times; he is featured in the stained glass windows of Gothic churches; and he can be found in various forms in today’s pop culture. The Biblical Saviour is not a static, immaterial deity: Christ’s mortal birth, unusual life and dramatic death make him an accessible subject for religious and secular artists alike.Whether they show the spirituality of God Incarnate or the earthly characteristics of a flesh-and-blood man, artistic depictions of Christ are the most controversial, moving or inspirational examples of religious art.
Botticelli is a painter not of facts, but of ideas, and his pictures are not so much a representation of certain objects as a pattern of forms. Nor is his colouring rich and lifelike; it is subordinated to form, and often rather a tinting than actual colour. In fact, he was interested in the abstract possibilities of his art rather than in the concrete. For example, his compositions, as has just been said, are a pattern of forms; his figures do not actually occupy well-defined places in a well-defined area of space; they do not attract us by their suggestion of bulk, but as shapes of form, suggesting rather a flat pattern of decoration. Accordingly, the lines which enclose the figures are chosen with the primary intention of being decorative.
The Virgin & Child
The Virgin and the Child are amongst the most favourite artistic themes since the Middle Ages. Mary was frequently depicted with the Christ Child.This religious scene showcases a mother and her son, sometimes accompanied by other protagonists. Originally distant and formal, the relationship between the two figures was expressed with tendernessat the end of the Middle Ages and became more human. Amongst the famous artists who have treated the subject of the Virgin and the Child are, most notably, Cimabue, Jean Fouquet, Quentin Metsys, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Rubens, and many others. 300 pictures and more than 500 pages including detailed captions, offer a thorough insider view on the subject.
The Virgin in Art
The art world is filled with the presence of the Virgin Mary – a fundamental symbol of motherhood, who has been radiating youthfulness, tenderness, and compassion for two thousand years. Finding in her an inexhaustible source of inspiration, artists have consistently used the image of the Virgin Mary to reflect our own sufferings and joys. The author Kyra Belán leads us on a comprehensive tour analysing the profound meaning to be found in the images of the Virgin – from personal interpretations to spiritual reflections on a universal level. These works of art present a fascinating visual commentary on the evolution of Western art as well as a striking record of the rise in status of women in society. With more than 200 illustrations, two thousand years of human history are expressed in a single image; that of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Christ.