Saints in Art

Saints in Art

by Rosa Giorgi
     
 

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Christian saints have been the objects of reverence and fascination throughout the past two millennia. Their likenesses, heroic acts, prayerful lives, and stories of martyrdom have been portrayed frequently in art of diverse media. Unfamiliar with the saints and their images and symbols, viewers of art may find it challenging to identify, for example, which saint

Overview

Christian saints have been the objects of reverence and fascination throughout the past two millennia. Their likenesses, heroic acts, prayerful lives, and stories of martyrdom have been portrayed frequently in art of diverse media. Unfamiliar with the saints and their images and symbols, viewers of art may find it challenging to identify, for example, which saint is represented as a monk with an axe through his head, or a beautiful girl holding a wheel, or a woman carrying her eyes on a plate.

From Agatha to Zeno, Francis of Assisi to Mary Magdalene, Saints in Arti presents the characteristic features of more than one hundred saints often encountered in sacred Western art. Each saint is introduced by a practical list of his or her unique attributes. Entries also include notes on the saints' lives and a series of visual references to help the reader recognize these exemplary figures, their histories, and their special devotions. This useful resource is illustrated with a stunning collection of masterpieces.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Translated from recent Italian original editions, these two well-produced handbooks for the general museum goer aim to provide understanding of the saints, gods, and classical heroes who were the subject matter for much of Western art from the medieval period to the early 20th century. Although neither title claims to be exhaustive, each covers the most commonly occurring figures. Giorgi's book on saints ranges from Acacius to Zeno, with each saint receiving a brief (100-300 word) biography and one to several color depictions (rather oversaturated but decent), generally from European museum collections. A few major saints receive longer entries, generally with more illustrative material. Salient identifiers (such as St. Andrew Apostle's X-shaped cross) and story points are picked out in each caption, while sidebars summarize facts such as life dates, canonization, feast days, and special invocations (e.g., St. Bavo for whooping cough). While Saints in Art will not replace more extensive reference works, such as the four-volume Butler's Lives of the Saints or the Oxford Dictionary of Saints, no directly comparable illustrated work exists for the general English-speaking museum audience. Impelluso's book follows much the same physical format but is divided into four sections: Greek and Roman gods, mythical heroes, and divine beings; figures from The Iliad and The Odyssey; Greek historical figures; and Roman historical figures. Distinctive stories, attributes, and artistic depictions (from later Western art, not classical objects) are given for each subject. Again, while there are many books on classical mythology-Bulfinch's Mythology et al.-and also numerous titles on depictions of the classical tradition in art (most notably Jane Reid's outstanding Oxford Guide to Classical Mythology in the Arts, 1300-1990s), the focus of Gods and Heroes in Art as a practical, well-illustrated handbook for the museum audience is successful and welcome. Accessible in content and format and clearly focused on the art museum public, these books are highly recommended for both basic and advanced art collections.-Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Libs. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780892367177
Publisher:
Getty Publications
Publication date:
04/28/2003
Series:
Guide to Imagery Series
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
1,271,773
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 7.75(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Rosa Giorgi is an art historian specializing in iconography. She has written books on Caravaggio, Velázquez, and El Greco.

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