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Likeness and Presence:
A History of the Image before the Era of Art

by Hans Belting

ISBN 0226042146 / 9780226042145 / 0-226-04214-6
Publisher University Of Chicago Press
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Before the Renaissance and Reformation, holy images were treated not as
"art" but as objects of veneration which possessed the tangible presence
of the Holy. In this magisterial book, Hans Belting traces the long
history of the sacral image and its changing role in European culture.
Likeness and Presence looks at the beliefs, superstitions, hopes,
and fears that come into play as people handle and respond to sacred
images, and presents a compelling interpretation of the place of the
image in Western history.

"A rarity within its genrean art-historical analysis of iconography
which is itself iconoclastic. . . . One of the most intellectually
exciting and historically grounded interpretations of Christian
iconography." Graham Howes, Times Literary Supplement

"Likeness and Presence offers the best source to survey the facts of
what European Christians put in their churches. . . . An impressively
detailed contextual analysis of medieval objects." Robin Cormack,
New York Times Book Review

"I cannot begin to describe the richness or the imaginative grandeur of
Hans Belting's book. . . . It is a work that anyone interested in art,
or in the history of thought about art, should regard as urgent reading.
It is a tremendous achievement."Arthur C. Danto, New Republic
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