What medieval wall paintings remain in English churches tend to be shadows of their former selves – rare fragments of art that have survived not only the Reformation, but successive waves of iconoclastic zeal and unsympathetic restoration. The whitewashed walls of most parish churches belie the riot of color and decoration that once adorned them, but the remnants of paintings tucked into corners or rescued from later layers of paint help us to understand the role of art in medieval religion. Roger Rosewell here offers a guide to the role played by medieval wall paintings, as religious, didactic and commemorative works of art, telling the stories of those who created them and those who used them on a daily basis. He also compares and contrasts religious and domestic wall paintings and uses beautiful color photography throughout to illustrate the story.
This book is about these paintings in churches. It explains why they were made, the subjects they showed, how painters created them, and their relationship with other arts. It also describes what triggered their destruction, what replaced them, and the efforts of modern day conservators to save them for future generations. A separate chapter discusses domestic wall paintings of the period. A Guide to Further Reading and a Gazetteer of places where interesting examples of wall paintings can be seen is also included.
Excerpted from Medieval Wall Paintings by Roger Rosewell. Copyright © 2014 by Roger Rosewell. Excerpted by permission of Shire, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Table of Contents
The Painted Church
The Purpose of Wall Paintings
The Subjects: The Bible and Saints
The Subjects: Death and Judgement
The Subjects: Pieties and Transgressions
Text and Other Subjects
Making Wall Paintings
Wall Paintings and the Other Arts
Reformation and Afterwards
Domestic Wall Paintings
Survival and Conservation