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History of Art and Visual Studies Faculty Books

Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art

Overview

In the rapidly changing world of the early Middle Ages, depictions of the cosmos represented a consistent point of reference across the three dominant states—the Frankish, Byzantine, and Islamic Empires. As these empires diverged from their Greco-Roman roots between 700 and 1000 A.D. and established distinctive medieval artistic traditions, cosmic imagery created a web of visual continuity, though local meanings of these images varied greatly. Benjamin Anderson uses thrones, tables, mantles, frescoes, and manuscripts to show how cosmological motifs informed relationships between individuals, especially the ruling elite, and communities, demonstrating how domestic and global politics informed the production and reception of these depictions. The first book to consider such imagery across the dramatically diverse cultures of Western Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic Middle East, Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art illuminates the distinctions between the cosmological art of these three cultural spheres, and reasserts the centrality of astronomical imagery to the study of art history.

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Palmyra 1885: The Wolfe Expedition and the Photographs of John Henry Haynes

Overview

The new Cornucopia book, published in October 2016, is a sequel to Robert G. Ousterhout’s landmark study on the photographer John Henry Haynes in 2011, which is also now reprinted in a new edition with additional unpublished photographs. Lavishly illustrated with 85 colour plates, including some 80 images that have never before been published, this extraordinary portrait of Palmyra is introduced by Ousterhout and Benjamin Anderson of Cornell University (pictured left). The two other photoghraphs here show the Temple of Baalshamin, where Haynes and his friends camped, and one of the many panormas he took capturing the scale of this magnificent Roman desert city (both courtesy of Cornell University Library). On the cover is a view of the Greet Colonnade.

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Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between: Murals of the Colonial Andes

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Examining vivid, often apocalyptic church murals, “Heaven, Hell, and Everything in Between” explores the sociopolitical situation represented by the artists who generated these murals for rural parishes. Arguing that the murals were embedded in complex networks of trade, commerce and the exchange of ideas between the Andes and Europe, Cohen Aponte also considers the ways in which artists and viewers worked through difficult questions of envisioning sacredness.

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Anwar Jalal Shemza

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Layering postwar geometric abstraction with Arabic calligraphic forms, Anwar Jalal Shemza’s rich and imaginative body of work is surveyed for the first time in this comprehensive volume.

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Pintura colonial cusqueña: el esplendor del arte en los andes/Paintings of Colonial Cusco: Artistic Splendor in the Andes

Overview

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Cosmopolitanism in Mexican Visual Culture

Overview

Since the colonial era, Mexican art has emerged from an ongoing process of negotiation between the local and the global, which frequently involves invention, synthesis, and transformation of diverse discursive and artistic traditions. In this pathfinding book, Mar?a Fern?ndez uses the concept of cosmopolitanism to explore this important aspect of Mexican art, in which visual culture and power relations unite the local and the global, the national and the international, the universal and the particular. She argues that in Mexico, as in other colonized regions, colonization constructed power dynamics and forms of violence that persisted in the independent nation-state. Accordingly, Fern?ndez presents not only the visual qualities of objects, but also the discourses, ideas, desires, and practices that are fundamental to the very existence of visual objects.

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Ibrahim El-Salahi: A Visionary Modernist

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Ibrahim El-Salahi is one of the most influential figures in Sudanese modern art. Through his extraordinary artwork and remarkable writing and art criticism, he has made foundational contributions to the modernist movements in Africa and the Arab world. In his paintings, drawings, and illustrations, he engages with an array of traditional African, Arab, and Islamic visual sources as well as European art movements. His unique style transcends geographic and cultural boundaries and has inspired artists in Sudan and elsewhere in Africa for generations.

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Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space

Overview

A major critical reader and catalog (240 pages) associated with the exhibition Lines of Control. Featuring scholarly contributions by Salah Hassan, Naeem Mohaiemen, Aamir Mufti, Jolene Rickard, Sumathi Ramaswamy, Hyejong Yoo, and Nicole Wolf, and the work of 33 international contemporary artists and groups.

Lines of Control has been an ambitious undertaking that has effectively expanded discussions of partitions, borders, and lines of control beyond singular geographical locations. This is a crucial move that inaugurates new questions and lines of thought in the study of cultural, technological, and political phenomena and experiences in our times. The exhibition’s catalogue is a vital text that weaves together scholarly and artistic thought on borders and modern nations from varied locations and contexts.

 

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Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile

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The Virgin, Christ, Devotions and Images in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

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Facing the Gods: Epiphany and Representation in Graeco-Roman Art, Literature and Religion

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This is the first history of epiphany as both a phenomenon and as a cultural discourse within the Graeco-Roman world, exploring divine manifestations and their representations, in visual terms as well as in literary, historical and epigraphic accounts. Verity Platt sets the cultural analysis of epiphany within a historical framework that explores its development from the archaic period into the Roman empire. In particular, a surprisingly large number of the images that have survived from antiquity are not only religious, but epiphanically charged. Verity Platt argues that the enduring potential for divine incursions into mortal experience provides a structure of cognitive reliability that supports both ancient religion and mythology. At the same time, Graeco-Roman culture exhibits a sophisticated awareness of the difficulties of the apprehension of deity, the representation of divine presence, and the potential for the manmade sign to lead the worshipper back to an unmediated epiphanic encounter.

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Handbook to Life in the Inca World

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A comprehensive and accessible examination of the Inca Empire, which stretched across the Andes Mountains in Peru from the 13th century until the invasion of the Spanish in the 16th century. Drawing on archaeology, anthropology, art history, ethnography, and 16th-century Spanish chronicles, this handbook offers a readable, informative, and easy-to-navigate format that explains how the Inca Empire became such an influential and powerful civilization.

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Modernism and the Art of Muslim South Asia

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This pioneering work traces the emergence of the modern and contemporary art of Muslim South Asia in relation to transnational modernism and in light of the region's intellectual, cultural, and political developments.

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Painting Faith

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Despite Li Gonglin?s (ca. 1049-1106) deep faith in Buddhism and the large number of recorded and extant Buddhist paintings associated with or ascribed to this great painter, twentieth century scholarship on Li Gonglin has focused primarily on his literatus identity and Confucian art oeuvres.

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Three Ladies and A Lover: Mediterranean Courtly Culture through the Text and Images of the “Hadîth Bayâd wa Riyâd,” an Andalusî Manuscript

Overview

Medieval Andalusian Courtly Culture discusses the unicum manuscript of the Hadîth Bayâd wa Riyâd, the only illustrated manuscript known to have survived for more than eight centuries of Muslim and Arabic-speaking presence in present-day Spain. The manuscript is of paramount importance as it contains the only known surviving version, both in terms of text and of image, of the love story of Bayâd wa Riyâd.

This study will place this manuscript within the context of late medieval Mediterranean courtly culture, offering:

  • an annotated translation into English of the entire text
  • reproductions of its images
  • an analysis of both text and images in a series of progressively broader contexts including that of al-Andalus(Arabic-speaking); of "reconquista" Iberia; and the larger Mediterranean world.

Cynthia Robinson broadens understanding of the Mediterranean region during the Middle Ages, making this text an invaluable resource for scholars with interests in Medieval Spain, art and Mediterranean courtly culture.

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Donatello among the Blackshirts

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This ambitious collection treating the Italian Fascists' appropriation of the past for political purposes focuses on the role of the visual in the aim of fusing the past and the modern world in Mussolini's Italy. With contributions by art historians and classicists, literary and intellectual historians, Donatello among the Blackshirts demonstrates that the Fascist regime appropriated not only Italy's ancient Roman past but also the medieval, Renaissance, and even baroque eras, as well as its own recent history, in constructing a new myth of the nation.

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Facing America: Iconography and the Civil War

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Facing America: Iconography and the Civil War investigates and explains the changing face of America during the Civil War. To conjure a face for the nation, author Shirley Samuels also explores the body of the nation imagined both physically and metaphorically, arguing that the Civil War marks a dramatic shift from identifying the American nation as feminine to identifying it as masculine. Expressions of such a change appear in the allegorical configurations of nineteenth-century American novels, poetry, cartoons, and political rhetoric. Because of the visibility of war's assaults on the male body, masculine vulnerability became such a dominant facet of national life that it practically obliterated the visibility of other vulnerable bodies. The simultaneous advent of photography and the Civil War in the nineteenth century may be as influential as the conjoined rise of the novel and the middle class in the eighteenth century. Both advents herald a changed understanding of how a transformative media can promote new cultural and national identities. Bodies immobilized because of war's practices of wounding and death are also bodies made static for the camera's gaze. The look of shock on the faces of soldiers photographed in order to display their wounds emphasizes the new technology of war literally embodied in the impact of new imploding bullets on vulnerable flesh. Such images mark both the context for and a counterpoint to the "look" of Walt Whitman as he bends over soldiers in their hospital beds. They also provide a way to interpret the languishing male heroes of novels such as August Evans's Macaria (1864), a southern elegy for the sundering of the nation. This book crucially shows how visual iconography affects the shift in postbellum gendered and racialized identifications of the nation.

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In Praise of Song: the Making of Courtly Culture in al-Andalus and Provence, 1065-1135 A.D.

Overview

This volume offers a reconstruction of the court culture of the taifa kings of al-Andalus (11th century A.D.), using both visual and textual evidence. A focus of particular attention is the court of the Banū Hūd at Zaragoza, and that dynasty's palace, the Aljafería. Principle written sources are not histories and chronicles, but the untranslated poetic anthologies of al-ḥimyarī and al-Fatḥ ibn Khāqān.
The first part of the book addresses taifa visual and literary languages, with especial emphasis on connections between the literary and visual aspects of taifa aesthetics. The sections on the Aljafería's ornamental program will be of particular interest, not only to historians of Islamic art, but to students of all visual traditions with strong non-figural components.
In addition, Part One also proposes that taifa court culture has been considered as a culture of "courtly love," and this argument also forms the point of departure for Part Two. The second part of the study uses luxury objects of Islamic and Limousine production as a point of departure for a detailed comparison of the thematics of taifa poetry in classical Arabic on the themes of courtly love and pleasures with those of the better-known Provençal tradition.

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The Italian Renaissance Garden: From the Conventions of Planting, Design, and Ornament to the Grand Gardens of the Sixteenth-Century Central Italy

Overview

The splendid architectural gardens of sixteenth-century Italy--with their lavish sculpture,  fountains, and terraces--were the culmination of Renaissance garden art. In this beautiful book, Claudia Lazzaro returns the gardens to their original appearance, recreating the sights, sounds, and smells that contemporaries experienced. Using an abundance of literary and visual sources, Lazzaro establishes the conventions of planting, design, and ornamentation in well-known gardens, including Caprarola, Pratolino, and Bomarzo, and in many lesser-known ones. She goes on to discuss in detail the four best-preserved grand gardens--the Medici garden at Castello, the Boboli garden in Florence, the Villa d'Este at Tivoli, and the Villa Lante at Bagnaia.
 
Gardens in Italy in the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries reflected contemporary ideas about the interaction of art and nature. The essence of a Renaissance garden included the plants selected and their arrangement as well as ornaments of natural materials such as topiary, tree houses, grottoes, and labyrinths, which represented nature as both ordered and wild. The grand gardens were distinguished from more modest one not only by their sculpture, fountains, and terraces but also by extensive architecture, abundant water, costly exotic plants, and water-powered automata.
 
Lavishly illustrated with contemporary paintings, drawings, and prints, as well as with many specially commissioned photographs by the architectural historian and photographer Ralph Lieberman, this book reconstructs the former appearance of Renaissance gardens and conveys the beauty of the surviving ones. It will be intriguing to all those interested in Italy, gardens, art, or any of the literary or scientific aspects of the Renaissance.

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