When we look at the soaring spaces of Chartres cathedral or the shimmering pages of a gilded and painted manuscript, we are witnesses to a new kind of vision. In this radical reappraisal of Gothic art in Europe, the word 'Gothic' describes not only an art style but a changing concepts of space, time, and society...a new kind of perception, both visual and spiritual, in which light is of central importance. Camille shows us how the art of the 13th and 14th centuries was seen in its own time and explores the way vision itself was understood. In this age of glorious painting, magnificent, intricate architecture and sculpture, and jewel-like manuscript illumination, art was an expression of religious passion and earthly power, of public and private wealth; of science and learning. The new vision led to an explosion of brilliant images but had its grim side, rarely noticed by art history; the distorted representation of 'others' like Jews, heretics, and lepers; a new vision not only of the marvelous, but also of the grotesque. This book stands in contrast to traditional art-historical approaches, which often concentrate on the technology of architecture and the minutiae of iconography. Unusual elements such as a discussion of the Gothic Revival movement of the 19th century provide a broad scope, while artworks from London to Prague, from Scandinavia to southern Spain reveal the gothic to be a truly international style.
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