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The Icons of Their Bodies : Saints and Their Images in Byzantium - Henry Maguire

The Icons of Their Bodies

Saints and Their Images in Byzantium

Paperback Published: 28th May 2000
ISBN: 9780691050072
Number Of Pages: 240

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The Byzantines surrounded themselves with their saints, invisible but constant companions, who were made visible by dreams, visions, and art. The composition and presentation of this imagined gallery followed a logical structure, a construct that was itself a collective work of art created by Byzantine society. The purpose of this book is to analyze the logic of the saint's image in Byzantium, both in portraits and in narrative scenes. Here Henry Maguire argues that the Byzantines gave to their images differing formal characteristics of movement, modeling, depth, and differentiation, according to the tasks that the icons were called upon to perform in the all-important business of communication between the visible and the invisible worlds.

The book draws extensively on sources that have been relatively little utilized by art historians. It considers both domestic and ecclesiastical artifacts, showing how the former raised the problem of access by lay men and women to the supernatural and fueled the debates concerning the role of images in the Christian cult. Special attention is paid to the poems inscribed by the Byzantines upon their icons, and to the written lives of their saints, texts that offer the most direct and vivid insight into the everyday experience of art in Byzantium. The overall purpose of the book is to provide a new view of Byzantine art, one that integrates formal analysis with both theology and social history.

Industry Reviews

"Anyone who has more than a passing interest in icons will find Maguire's book extremely helpful. He provides a decoding of the iconographical tradition that helps us gain a more perceptive eye..."--Lawrence S. Cunningham, Commonweal "Henry Maguire's study of saints' images in Byzantine art is a timely contribution to the study of Byzantine saints... The merits of Maguire's book, however, go even further... This study provides ample evidence that medieval artists were able to employ a varied register of different 'languages' and contradicts the still widespread notion that medieval artists were caught up in a particular 'style.'"--Barbara Zeitler, American Journal of Archaeology "A book that is written with striking lucidity, admirable command, and even daring."--Glenn Peers, Speculum "Eunice Maguire and Henry Maguire bring to their project a long and learned experience of Byzantium. From texts to textiles, no one in the field has a greater depth of familiarity with such a range of cultural artifacts. By putting the 'margins' of traditional art--architectural ornament, ceramics, 'minor' arts, and the like--at the center of their study, the authors reveal the imaginative and often subversive power of Byzantine artistic imagination."--Choice

List of Figuresp. vii
Prefacep. xvii
Introductionp. 3
Likeness and Definitionp. 5
Corporality and Immaterialityp. 48
Naming and Individualityp. 100
Detail and Deficiencyp. 146
Conclusionp. 195
Abbreviationsp. 201
Notesp. 202
Chapter Bibliographiesp. 210
Saints' Lives in Translationp. 214
Indexp. 215
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691050072
ISBN-10: 0691050074
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 240
Published: 28th May 2000
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 25.4 x 19.1  x 1.52
Weight (kg): 0.78