The contributors, all scholars of Netherlandish art, emphasize the importance of socioeconomic factors, especially the impact of art markets in the late-15th and early-16th centuries on the production of altarpieces. They also focus on information gleaned from the technical investigation of works of art, demonstrating that their meaning often lies in their method of manufacture as well as in the function they originally served for their intended audience. Other topics addressed in this volume include the relationship of text and image, archival work, and economic/art market developments. Each topic is considered in two parts: the first summarizes the history of the approach so far, along with suggested guidelines for current research, and the second charts new territory for future investigations.
Book News Annotation:
First presented at a symposium in November 1998, four papers and five responding commentaries by an international group of specialists provide an overview of the state of research in the field. Several Early Netherlandish paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York are central to the discussion, the Merode Altarpiece being the most well known. Topics include archival research on social context and the impact of the art market. Ainsworth is a researcher in paintings conservation at the Met. The book is distributed by Yale U. Press. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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