Cover image for The medieval art of love : objects and subjects of desire
The medieval art of love : objects and subjects of desire
Camille, Michael.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Abrams, 1998.
Physical Description:
176 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N8220 .C36 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Romantic love as we know it today -- symbolized by hearts, roses, courting, chivalry, and more -- was invented in Europe in the Middle Ages. This thoroughly entertaining, sumptuously illustrated book explores the development of these ideas and shows how their depiction in paintings, tapestries, illuminations, and on luxurious objects taught Medieval men and women the art of love.Michael Camille explores the symbolic and social settings of love, the myths and paradoxes of love as an elite social code, and the erotic feelings sometimes aroused even by religious objects of desire. The textiles, ivories, chests, jewels, and girdles, given as gifts and love-tokens, demonstrate that there was nothing chaste or sublimated about Medieval love, every aspect of which was depicted by artists and described by poets without inhibition.Spanning such well-known works as the Unicorn Tapestries to images of lute-playing troubadors and maidens in walled castles, this is a truly original look at the age-old subject of human desire.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

The representation of love in medieval decorations, paintings, and drawings offers an intriguing glimpse into the society and philosophy of that time. Interpreting these depictions as having a specific purpose‘to inspire love or eroticism‘Camille (art history, Univ. of Chicago) explores what, according to the period, love meant for the medieval man and woman. As elusive as that definition is for us today, medieval art, likewise, shows scenes of love and courtship that are varied and contradictory. Camille organizes the art by various themes, trying to make sense of it all. The writing is quite detailed, with references to medieval writings and lore. Though there are numerous illustrations, a few are too small to discern the elements discussed in the text; also, the text and the illustrations could have been tied together more closely. An interesting discussion of a topic that holds fascination for all. For larger public and most academic institutions.‘Karen Ellis, Baldwin Boettcher Lib., Humble, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.