A Feast for the Senses


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Art and Experience in Medieval Europe

Edited by Martina Bagnoli; With essays by Martina Bagnoli, Virginia Brilliant, Carla Casagrande, Emma Dillon, Barbara Newman, and Christina Normore

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The late medieval world was marked by a culture of refinement and sophistication. The period’s media of choice—paintings, manuscripts, prints, tapestries, embroideries, ivory sculpture, metalwork, and enamels—speak volumes about the pleasures of sensory engagement. Art objects were touched, smelled, tasted, and heard, as well as seen.
This sumptuous new book brings together sacred and secular art to reveal the shared intellectual culture that governed the understanding of perception and the role of senses in Europe from the 12th through the 16th century. A focused exploration of the performative and multifaceted nature of medieval art underscores its direct appeal to the senses, revealing the rich experiential world that informed its interpretation. Eight essays explore these themes through representations of religious practices, royal rituals, feasts and celebrations, music, and literature. Beautifully designed and produced, A Feast for the Senses contributes significantly to an emerging field in the history of art and showcases approximately 130 objects, each accompanied by a full description, provenance, and bibliography.

Distributed for the Walters Art Museum

Exhibition Schedule:

The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota

Martina Bagnoli is the executive director of the Gallerie Estensi in Modena, Italy.


The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota

ISBN: 9780300222951
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Walters Art Museum
280 pages, 10 x 11 1/2
241 color + 4 b/w illus.