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Likeness and Presence a History of the Image Before the Era of Art

by Edmund Jephcott

  • ISBN: 9780226042152
  • ISBN10: 0226042154

Likeness and Presence a History of the Image Before the Era of Art

by Edmund Jephcott

  • List Price: $69.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/1996
  • ISBN: 9780226042152
  • ISBN10: 0226042154
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Description: Before the Renaissance and Reformation, holy images - the only independent images then in existence - were treated not as "art" but as objects of veneration. The faithful believed that these images, through their likeness to the person represented, became a tangible presence of the Holy and were able to work miracles, deliver oracles, and bring victory on the battlefield. In this magisterial book, one of the world's leading scholars of medieval art traces the long history of the image and its changing role in European culture. Belting's study of the iconic portrait opens in late antiquity, when Christianity reversed its original ban on images, adapted the cult images of the "pagans", and began developing an iconography of its own. The heart of the work focuses on the Middle Ages, both East and West, when images of God and the saints underwent many significant changes either as icons or as statues. The final section of Likeness and Presence surveys the Reformation and Renaissance periods, when new attitudes toward images inaugurated what Belting calls the "era of art" that continues to the present day - an era during which the aesthetic quality has become the dominant aspect of the image. Belting neither "explains" images nor pretends that images explain themselves. Rather, he works from the conviction that images reveal their meaning best by their use. Likeness and Presence deals with the beliefs, superstitions, hopes, and fears that come into play as people handle and respond to sacred images. Recognizing the tensions between image and word inherent in religion, Belting includes in an appendix many important historical documents that relate to the history and use of images. Profuselyillustrated, Likeness and Presence presents a compelling interpretation of the place of the image in Western history.
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