Gothic Sculpture

Paul Binski

Publicaton Date
May 2019
Standard Number
Yale University Press
304 pages, 254 x 190 mm
100 colour illus.

In this beautifully illustrated study, Paul Binski offers a new account of sculpture in England and northwestern Europe between c.1000 and 1500, examining Romanesque and Gothic art as a form of persuasion. Binski discusses a wide variety of stone and wood sculpture from such places as Wells, Westminster, Compostela, Reims, Chartres and Naumburg. He argues that medieval sculpture not only conveyed information but also created experiences for the subjects who formed its audience. Without rejecting the intellectual ambitions of Gothic art, Binski suggests that surface effects, ornament, color, variety and contrast served a number of purposes. In a critique of recent affective and materialist accounts of sculpture and allied arts, he proposes that all materials are shaped by human intentionality and artifice, and have a 'poetic'. Exploring the imagery of growth, change and decay, as well as the powers of fear and pleasure, Binski allows us to use the language and ideas of the Middle Ages in the close reading of artifacts.

About the author

  • Head and shoulders portrait of Paul Binski

    Professor of the History of Medieval Art at Cambridge University