Synopses & Reviews
In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, where life expectancy was under 40 and the Catholic Church taught that, after dying, the soul faced a terrifying and uncertain onward journey, death was a major cultural preoccupation. This fascinating book sets out the beliefs surrounding death and the afterlife in a mainly Catholic Europe, and explores how these shaped attitudes to the visual arts.
Explaining Medieval and Renaissance concepts of the afterlife, indulgences, purgatory, and salvation, this volume reveals how people of every background commissioned devotional works and wore protective amulets, built tombs, and went on pilgrimages all to improve their souls chances after death. Fully illustrated with images from a wide range of media including sculpture, jewelry, and painting, this is a unique look at the art of death.
About the Author
Eleanor Townsend is a curator at the V&A. She co-curated the exhibition Gothic: Art for England 14001547
at the V&A (2003) and is a member of the team organizing the V&As new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries.