The Medieval Art of Love: Objects and Subjects of Desire

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Abrams, 1998 - Art - 176 pages
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Romantic love as we know it today -- symbolized by hearts, roses, courting, chivalry, and more -- was invented in Europe in the Middle Ages. This thoroughly entertaining, sumptuously illustrated book explores the development of these ideas and shows how their depiction in paintings, tapestries, illuminations, and on luxurious objects taught Medieval men and women the art of love.Michael Camille explores the symbolic and social settings of love, the myths and paradoxes of love as an elite social code, and the erotic feelings sometimes aroused even by religious objects of desire. The textiles, ivories, chests, jewels, and girdles, given as gifts and love-tokens, demonstrate that there was nothing chaste or sublimated about Medieval love, every aspect of which was depicted by artists and described by poets without inhibition.Spanning such well-known works as the Unicorn Tapestries to images of lute-playing troubadors and maidens in walled castles, this is a truly original look at the age-old subject of human desire.

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The medieval art of love: objects and subjects of desire

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The representation of love in medieval decorations, paintings, and drawings offers an intriguing glimpse into the society and philosophy of that time. Interpreting these depictions as having a ... Read full review

About the author (1998)

Michael Camille is Mary J. Block Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago.

Adrian Rifkin is Professor of Visual Culture and Media at Middlesex University.

The editors have both published widely in art history and visual culture, and have contributed significantly to current discourses in gay and queer theory and dialogues and debates about sexuality.

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