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Title: Books in art : the meaning and significance of images of books in Italian religious painting 1250–1400
Author: McGrath, Anthony Charles Ormond
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 2573
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis uses images of books in Italian art of the duecento and trecento as pictorial evidence for the appearance of books and to establish a chronology for changes in the detail and style of book-bindings during those two centuries. The conclusions from the pictorial evidence is that there were material differences in the appearance of books in the duecento and trecento and that gold tooling was used to decorate books from about 1320, a hundred years earlier than previously thought. The thesis also considers how, and to what extent, medieval viewers related to images of books and whether it is possible to identify individual styles in the way artists represented books. There are four case-studies that are used to investigate how images of books were used, and what religious, social, political and psychological purposes were served. Part of the methodology is to identify and study those points of change when books appear or when the way they are shown changes. This is in the belief that when circumstances alter, the artist responds consciously and creatively rather than by imitation. A number of works of art are studied in detail and the thesis proposes new interpretations for, inter alia, the Stefaneschi Altarpiece, Guido de Graziano'sDossal of St Francis, theAnnunciation scene in the Arena Chapel, the RucellaiMadonna, and the S Caterina Polyptych. The case-studies have demonstrated that the image of a book was one of the most powerful visual signs, certainly for the period and region to which this study has been devoted. It shows that in the decades around 1300 the book became an established attribute in altarpieces, the book displaced the rotullus as the symbol of authority, and the book became the dominant attribute of the VirginMary in scenes of the Annunciation, displacing earlier formats. The book was the symbol of learning and therefore a key attribute for the mendicant orders and especially the Dominican Order.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N8217.B6 Books ; ND1432.I8 Italy