978-1-55859-133-2 / 9781558591332

The Medieval Menagerie: Animals in the Art of the Middle Ages


Publisher:Abbeville Press



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About the book:

Featuring incredible creatures and grotesque gargoyles, "The Medieval Menagerie" takes us from the improbable to the impossible as it traces the depiction and the meaning of real and imaginary animals in medieval art. From unicorns and dragons to elephants, lions, and monkeys, medieval society was fascinated with animals, whether they actually existed or not. The more fantastic the creature, the greater its hold seems to have been on the fertile imaginations of the Middle Ages. Both art and literature abound with vividly concocted examples of Gothic monsters (gargoyles and griffins), bizarre ideas about real if exotic beasts (lions were believed to be born dead and resurrected by the father lion three days later), and strange visions of composite creatures (such as a widely accepted animal believed to be a cross between an ant and a lion). Featuring the celebrated collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, "The Medieval Menagerie" is illustrated with the splendid and amusing beasts found in medieval painting, sculpture, architecture and decorative arts, as wello as in bestiaries and manuscripts. The text explores the depiction and the meaning of real and imaginary animals in medieval art. Elegant, lively and intelligent, "The Medieval Managerie" captures some of the wildest creatures ever to grace a Gothic cathedral.

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