Cover image for The Art of Gothic : architecture, sculpture, painting
The Art of Gothic : architecture, sculpture, painting
Toman, Rolf.
English edition.
Publication Information:
Cologne : Könemann, [1999]

Physical Description:
521 pages : illustrations, colorphotoes ; 33cm
General Note:
Translation from German.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA440 .A78 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

On Order

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Whether it is Notre Dame Cathedral or an Anne Rice novel, images invoked by the word Gothic are strong and powerful. Two new titles explore the Gothic movement from its earliest beginnings through its revival and into the twentieth century. For Davenport-Hines, Gothic is synonymous with the violent and cruel Goths of the fifth century. For him, it only makes sense that the revival of the Gothic movement began with the violent and cruel 1631 eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The overwhelming destruction of the eruption's aftermath influenced artists to paint desolate landscapes, gardeners to plant dead trees, and architects to build country houses that imitate cold, dreary castles. As the movement progressed, Gothic influences permeated a variety of genres, and recurring themes began to take hold: the power of submission, as in the novels of Horace Walpole; defilement of the human body, depicted in Goya's paintings; self-absorption, exemplified by the music of The Cure; and the glorification of suffering, as seen in the film Blue Velvet by David Lynch. Davenport-Hines proposes that Gothic is extreme, reactionary, and theatrical; and that hostile imagery is a tool used to bring to light all those things of which humankind should be ashamed. Davenport-Hines takes this to heart as he delights in the telling of tragic stories and leaves no graphic detail unnoted. This is not a book for the faint of heart; however, anyone fascinated by horror and the macabre will revel in every gory word. Gothic: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting is the antithesis of the Davenport-Hines book. The focus here is on the beginnings of the Gothic movement in the tenth century and its development over several centuries as it was manifested in the architecture of cathedrals, abbeys, and churches, and later on, castles and palaces. There are also sections on painting, sculpture, stained glass, and goldwork; however, the discussion of Gothic architecture takes up the bulk of the book. While the text is informative and thorough, it is the beautiful detail in the 780 color photographs, diagrams, and pictures that really captures the power and grandeur of the Gothic style and makes this title worthwhile. --Carolyn Kubisz

Library Journal Review

Here is a wonderful book that both inspires and educates. A huge volume covering the Gothic movement in art from the 12th century to the Renaissance, it focuses largely on the development of Gothic architecture, resplendent in well-placed illustrations and photographs that evoke the grandeur of the period. Smaller sections follow on sculpture, painting, stained glass, and gold work. The text is clear and organized, with each chapter authored by German writers and art experts; the translation from German may account for some small editorial errors. Michael Camille's Gothic Art: Glorious Visions (LJ 11/1/96) is perhaps a more general, popular introduction to the topic, but this book is a major text on Gothic art. Highly recommended for academic libraries and larger public libraries.ÄKaren Ellis, Baldwin Boettcher Lib., Humble, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Written by a team of German scholars, this unwieldy book ambitiously attempts an overview of Gothic art throughout Western Europe from the 12th through the 16th centuries. With more than half its length devoted to architecture, its treatment of sculpture, painting, and goldsmith work is necessarily cursory. Not intended to explain the formation of Gothic architecture, nor to discuss major problems confronted by scholars, the book focuses on the historical and geographical context within which Gothic flourished, and on a review of major religious and secular examples illustrating the variety of ideas put into practice in the Gothic era, not just in France and contiguous regions but in areas as far-flung as Portugal and Finland. Outstanding photographs, two-thirds of which were taken especially for this volume, manage to convey the impression, unparalleled in any previous book known to this reader, of actually being in front of or inside the buildings in question. No footnotes, but each chapter is accompanied by a useful and up-to-date bibliography. One caveat: though the translation is generally excellent, occasional lapses, such as the reference to "Suger's account books," can be seriously misleading. All levels. E. B. Smith Pennsylvania State University, University Park Campus