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The "Things of Greater Importance"
Bernard of Clairvaux's "Apologia" and the Medieval Attitude Toward Art

Conrad Rudolph

424 pages | 6 x 9 | 36 illus.
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512806410 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume

The "Things of Greater Importance" provides a close look into the social and cultural context of medieval art, primarily as expressed in Bernard of Clairvaux's Apologia, the central document in the greatest artistic controversy to occur in the West prior to the Reformation and the most important source we have for understanding medieval attitudes toward art. Bernard wrote the Apologia during the medieval efflorescence of monumental sculpture and stained glass, of advanced architecture, of pilgrimage art, of high Romanesque, and of the origins of Gothic art.

Rudolph places the Apologia, traditionally seen as a condemnation either of all religious art or of all monastic art, in a broader context, using it to explore the role of art in medieval society. He shows that Bernard was interested in the impact of art on contemporary monasticism in a more complex way than previously believed. The book offers the most thorough study available of the theoretical basis of medieval art as it functioned in society; and its implications for the art of both the Romanesque and Gothic periods, which were spanned by Bernard's life, are significant.

Conrad Rudolph is Professor Medieval Art History at the University of California, Riverside, and is the author of several other books, including Pilgrimage to the End of the World: The Road to Santiago de Compostela.

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