Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile: The Virgin, Christ, Devotions, and Images in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

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9780271054100: Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile: The Virgin, Christ, Devotions, and Images in the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Centuries

Recent research into the texts, practices, and visual culture of late medieval devotional life in western Europe has clearly demonstrated the centrality of devotions to Christ’s Passion. The situation in Castile, however, could not have been more different. Prior to the final decades of the fifteenth century, individual relationships to Christ established through the use of “personalized” Passion imagery simply do not appear to have been a component of Castilian devotional culture.

In Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile, Cynthia Robinson argues that it is necessary to reorient discussions of late medieval religious art produced and used in Castile, placing Iberian devotional art in the context of Iberian devotional practice. Instead of focusing on the segregation of the religious lives of members of late medieval Iberia’s much-discussed “Three Confessions” (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), Robinson offers concrete evidence of the profound impact of each sect on the other two.

Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile ranges across traditional disciplinary and cultural divides. Robinson considers altarpieces that differ radically from their European contemporaries; architectural ornament; a rare series of narratives of Christ’s life; indulgenced prayers; Muslim and Jewish mystical texts; lives, hours, devotions, and Psalters of and to the Virgin which appear to be uniquely Iberian and find resonances in both Hebrew and Arabic mystical literature; sacred gardens and trees in both textual and visual culture from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish contexts; and preaching manuals written by converted Jews. Together, these texts and images offer striking evidence of the plurality of late medieval Iberian religious life, both within the supposed boundaries of a specific religion and in terms of each culture’s relationship with the other.

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About the Author:

Cynthia Robinson is the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of Medieval and Islamic Art and Cornell University. Her short fiction has been published or is forthcoming in such journals as The Arkansas Review, The Missouri Review, The New Southerner, The Louisville Review, Epoch and Stone Canoe.

Review:

“This is an impressive book that will profoundly alter our understanding of late medieval culture and late medieval Iberia, charting the directions for future research in a range of areas. It is a groundbreaking work—or, more accurately, a frame-breaking work—for medievalists, Hispanists, art historians, students of religious devotion and mysticism, and, most generally, scholars interested in the complex mechanisms of cultural exchange.”

—James D’Emilio, University of South Florida



Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile is no doubt one of the most relevant contributions of the past two decades in the field of medieval Iberian art history. Building on an impressive number of unpublished primary sources and careful analysis of crucial examples where art was produced in a context of interreligious dialogue and/or confrontation, Cynthia Robinson argues for a new understanding of the specificity of late medieval Castilian visual culture in a European context. Highly interdisciplinary and refreshing, Imagining the Passion revisits old ideas of influence and artistic exchange with a new and provocative agenda. This book will be a must-read for anyone interested in the history of medieval and early modern Iberia.”

—Felipe Pereda, Johns Hopkins University



Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile contains a wealth of information, detail, and insight, as well as abundant and beautiful illustrations. Robinson brings to light countless unpublished and unknown texts and images and elucidates many understudied works. This volume not only alters our understanding of medieval Castilian devotional practices but also helps to bridge the gap between the Spanish Middle Ages and sixteenth-century mysticism, especially that of Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Luis de Leon. The way we look at early Spanish depictions of the Passion has undoubtedly changed forever.”

—Barbara Mujica, Marginalia Review of Books



“The lack of documentation and often partial preservation of painted and sculpted religious works in the fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Kingdom of Castile has, in the past, limited most art historical treatment of this material to discussions of stylistic developments. Cynthia Robinson has approached the material in a new, interdisciplinary fashion. Her meticulously researched and densely written volume sheds new light on the iconographical emphases of the uniquely Castilian focus on the Virgin Mary with respect to Christ’s Passion at this period.”

—Judith Berg Sobré, Renaissance Quarterly



Imagining the Passion is a remarkable book not just for the encyclopedic collection of primary sources with which Robinson deals, or for the exhaustive and insightful analyses within it, but also for her candor in writing an ambitious and ultimately important study that rests comfortably on speculation, circumstantial evidence, and the occasional leap of faith.”

—David A. Wacks, Revista Hispanica Moderna



“The achievement of Robinson’s book is that it raises [complex interdisciplinary questions] with resolute conviction, throwing down the gauntlet to Hispanists working in a range of disciplines.”

—Andrew M. Beresford, La coronica



“A reminder to many of us who work on aspects of the devotional cultures of medieval Europe that we should never leave home without our magnifying glass lest we miss the tiles for the mosaic.”

—Salvador Ryan, Irish Theological Quarterly

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Descripción Pennsylvania State University Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Recent research into the texts, practices, and visual culture of late medieval devotional life in western Europe has clearly demonstrated the centrality of devotions to Christ s Passion. The situation in Castile, however, could not have been more different. Prior to the final decades of the fifteenth century, individual relationships to Christ established through the use of personalized Passion imagery simply do not appear to have been a component of Castilian devotional culture. In Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile, Cynthia Robinson argues that it is necessary to reorient discussions of late medieval religious art produced and used in Castile, placing Iberian devotional art in the context of Iberian devotional practice. Instead of focusing on the segregation of the religious lives of members of late medieval Iberia s much-discussed Three Confessions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), Robinson offers concrete evidence of the profound impact of each sect on the other two. Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile ranges across traditional disciplinary and cultural divides. Robinson considers altarpieces that differ radically from their European contemporaries; architectural ornament; a rare series of narratives of Christ s life; indulgenced prayers; Muslim and Jewish mystical texts; lives, hours, devotions, and Psalters of and to the Virgin which appear to be uniquely Iberian and find resonances in both Hebrew and Arabic mystical literature; sacred gardens and trees in both textual and visual culture from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish contexts; and preaching manuals written by converted Jews. Together, these texts and images offer striking evidence of the plurality of late medieval Iberian religious life, both within the supposed boundaries of a specific religion and in terms of each culture s relationship with the other. Nº de ref. de la librería AAR9780271054100

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Descripción Pennsylvania State University Press, United States, 2013. Hardback. Estado de conservación: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Recent research into the texts, practices, and visual culture of late medieval devotional life in western Europe has clearly demonstrated the centrality of devotions to Christ s Passion. The situation in Castile, however, could not have been more different. Prior to the final decades of the fifteenth century, individual relationships to Christ established through the use of personalized Passion imagery simply do not appear to have been a component of Castilian devotional culture. In Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile, Cynthia Robinson argues that it is necessary to reorient discussions of late medieval religious art produced and used in Castile, placing Iberian devotional art in the context of Iberian devotional practice. Instead of focusing on the segregation of the religious lives of members of late medieval Iberia s much-discussed Three Confessions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), Robinson offers concrete evidence of the profound impact of each sect on the other two. Imagining the Passion in a Multiconfessional Castile ranges across traditional disciplinary and cultural divides. Robinson considers altarpieces that differ radically from their European contemporaries; architectural ornament; a rare series of narratives of Christ s life; indulgenced prayers; Muslim and Jewish mystical texts; lives, hours, devotions, and Psalters of and to the Virgin which appear to be uniquely Iberian and find resonances in both Hebrew and Arabic mystical literature; sacred gardens and trees in both textual and visual culture from Muslim, Christian, and Jewish contexts; and preaching manuals written by converted Jews. Together, these texts and images offer striking evidence of the plurality of late medieval Iberian religious life, both within the supposed boundaries of a specific religion and in terms of each culture s relationship with the other. Nº de ref. de la librería AAR9780271054100

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