This is the second volume of Professor Brenk's studies on late-Antique and medieval art; the first volume, on The Christianization of the Late Roman World , is featured earlier. This volume presents a selection of 25 studies which are grouped into a number of topics that clarify Professor Brenk's approach. The art of the Middle Ages is treated not as a succession of styles, but is analyzed as an unstable value system, which seeks to prove its own legitimacy by claims and ideologies. Although works of art are not legal documents, they evoke frequently a religious or political self-conception. The author tries to show how the medieval artist brought into the world new creations under constant pressure, which he expresses with the resort to established models. In successive chapters the rhetoric of the demands made by Popes, bishops, Abbotts, priests, monks, kings, dukes, counts, aristocrats, buyers and municipalities is examined. What rhetorical models were at the disposal of the medieval artist, if he was concerned to articulate the needs and requirements of his clients? The analysis of the Carolingian, Norman-Sicilian and Capetian picture programs shows that not only the program, but also the artistic form and style, was used conceptually, i.e. style proves a freely selectable rhetorical form. As in the earlier volume, a considerable number of studies previously published in German and Italian are presented here in English translation.
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