Non-Fiction Book Reviews

Book Review: Gothic: Visual Art of the Middle Ages 1150-1500

By Sandy Amazeen Nov 20, 2012, 7:17 GMT

Book Review: Gothic: Visual Art of the Middle Ages 1150-1500

"After the global hit Ars Sacra, Rolf Toman and histeam embark on a journey once more. The famousFrench cathedrals of Chartres, Reims and Laon are notthe only highlights of this volume. Outstanding treasuresof medieval imagery such as religious panel paintings,Madonna statues, illumination and goldsmith art;courtly culture also gets attention.With his passion and meticulousness, photographerAchim Bednorz succeeded to get details in front of hiscamera that cannot even be perceived on the ...more

This stunning volume is every bit as opulent as the Gothic period artwork it depicts and the perfect companion to the equally magnificent Baroque. Both hand bound books weigh in at over sixteen pounds and feature the jaw-droppingly beautiful photography of Achim Bednorz and the concise, knowledgeable text of Bruno Klein. Focusing on the middle ages from 1140 to 1500, the largely illiterate population relied more upon visual representations of important religious events then the printed word and this need drove the Gothic art movement.

As with Ars Sacra, it is the photography that elevates this book into a class of its own. The images of the 1278 brick Albi, Cathedral of Sainte-Cecile with the detailed view of the south portal canopy and the rose window in the Cathedral of St-Nazaire are just a couple examples of Bednorzís art. However, Gothic art is not limited to glorious cathedrals and stained glass windows; there are also exquisitely worked tapestries like The Lady with the Unicorn. This visual feast for the soul will appeal to art historians, theologians, armchair travelers or anyone who appreciates art. It sets the bar by which other art publications will be measured and is more then well worth the price.

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