Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Reassessing the Roles of Women as 'Makers' of Medieval Art and Architecture

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Reassessing the Roles of Women as 'Makers' of Medieval Art and Architecture

Article excerpt

Reassessing the Roles of Women as 'Makers' of Medieval Art and Architecture, ed. Therese Martin, 2 vols, Visualizing the Middle Ages 7/1-2 (Leiden: Brill, 2012). 1280 pp. + 32 colour plates; 282 black-and white figures. ISBN 978-90-04-18555-5. £215.00. After more than two decades of ever-expanding scholarship, the opening premiss of this collection of twenty-four essays that 'there remains an unspoken assumption that works of art and architecture in the Middle Ages were made by and for men' is perhaps overstated. Nonetheless, the contributions, although inevitably uneven in quality, collectively mark a valuable addition to scholarship on women as artists and patrons of medieval art, above all, in their emphasis on neglected topics such as women as patrons of architectural projects and women as artists at the periphery of western Europe, i.e. in the Iberian peninsula, Ireland, Scandanavia, and the Holy Land. Separate sections are devoted to 'Display and concealment', 'Ownership and community', 'Collaboration and authority', 'Family and audience', 'Piety and authority', and 'Memory and motherhood'. In addition to lesser-known monuments, such as the collegiate church of Saint-Quentin in the Vermandois, MaiUezais Abbey, and the monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes in Aragon, persons presented include Blanche of CastiUe, Elisenda de Monteada, Herrad of Landsberg, Melisende of Jerusalem, Gertrude of Altenberg, Abbess Humbrina of Santa Maria at Pontetetto, Emma of Blois, and Isabel, Beatriz, Elisenda, and Leonor, all Iberian queens. …

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