Portals, Pilgrimage, and Crusade in Western Tuscany

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9780691011721: Portals, Pilgrimage, and Crusade in Western Tuscany
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In this lucid and well-documented examination of nine lintels of churches in western Tuscany, all dating from the second half of the twelfth century, Dorothy Glass places the region in the context of international pilgrimage and crusade. Although it is known that Italians were settled in the Holy Land well before the first Crusade, Italian medieval art has only occasionally been addressed from this point of view. With a seasoned eye and an extensive historical knowledge, Glass considers the iconography, style, and meaning of architectural sculpture in and around Pisa, Lucca, and Pistoia sites at the nexus of medieval trade, travel, and pilgrimage.


Lucca, for instance, was home to the famed Volto Santo, while the cathedral at Pistoia housed a piece of the head of Saint James Major acquired from Santiago de Compostela in Spain where the saint's body was purportedly found. The famed port at Pisa was used by pilgrims and crusaders from both Italy and northern Europe to embark for the East. Sculpted mainly by Adeodatus, Gruamons, and Biduinus, the portals of the churches in these cities depict such seemingly broad subjects as incidents from the life and miracles of Saint Nicholas, the Entry into Jerusalem, the Mission of the Apostles, the Last Supper, and the Magi before Herod. As Glass explains here, these subjects, some unique in monumental sculpture, addressed a number of audiences: local citizens, crusaders, and pilgrims. In addition to the art historical literature, Glass delves into such matters as the relationship between the visual arts and medieval theater, Italian settlements in the Latin East, trade routes, relics, and the revival and uses of pagan antiquity.

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"One of the best art history books I have read in the last ten years. Dorothy Glass has not only analyzed and discussed the material with admirable clarity and a firm grasp of the historical context, but she has also in her own interpretation argued the case for how Italian sculpture in the twelfth century has its own distinctive character. This work will open the way for much productive research in the future."--Jaroslav Folda, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

"Dorothy Glass covers little known and scantily published material which is of the utmost interest and importance. Her interpretations are entirely new and will interest not only the art historian but the cultural historian, and students of liturgical drama and church history."--Deborah Kahn, Boston University

About the Author:

Dorothy F. Glass is Professor of Art History at the University of Buffalo. She is the author of numerous works on Italian medieval art, including Romanesque Sculpture in Campania: Patrons, Program, and Style, Italian Romanesque Sculpture: An Annotated Bibliography, and Studies on Cosmatesque Pavements.

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