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Legends of the Madonna as Represented in the Fine Arts   By: (1794-1860)

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In "Legends of the Madonna as Represented in the Fine Arts" by Anna Jameson, readers are taken on a captivating journey exploring the rich and fascinating world of religious iconography in art. Jameson's extensive research and profound knowledge of both art and religious history combine to create a stimulating and enlightening reading experience.

One of the standout qualities of the book is Jameson's ability to seamlessly weave together art criticism and religious analysis. She skillfully examines numerous depictions of the Madonna in various forms - from paintings to sculptures, and even stained glass windows - and delves into the symbolism and messages behind each piece. Her keen eye for detail and understanding of the artists' intentions allow her to unravel layers of meaning within these artistic representations.

The book's structure is also commendable, as Jameson presents each artwork with detailed descriptions and contextualizes it within its historical and cultural background. She provides readers with valuable insights into the artists' lives and the social and religious climates of the time, thereby enabling a greater appreciation for the pieces discussed.

Moreover, Jameson's impressive ability to evoke emotions through her writing makes the book truly immersive. She skillfully captures the profound sense of reverence and devotion that emanates from the various Madonnas she analyzes. Her vivid descriptions paint a clear picture of the artworks and their ability to elicit strong emotions from their viewers.

While the book primarily focuses on visual representations, Jameson also incorporates religious texts and stories to supplement her analysis. By intertwining the sacred narratives with the art, she demonstrates the ways in which the Madonnas have been interpreted and revered throughout history. This multidisciplinary approach adds depth to the book and makes it accessible to a wide range of readers.

However, it's worth noting that some readers might find the religious aspect of the book overwhelming if they are not well-versed in Christian traditions. While Jameson does provide explanations and definitions, a basic understanding of Christianity would undoubtedly enhance the reading experience.

Overall, "Legends of the Madonna as Represented in the Fine Arts" is an informative and captivating book that serves as an excellent resource for art enthusiasts, historians, and anyone interested in the intersection of art and spirituality. Anna Jameson's insightful commentary and thoughtful analysis make this work a valuable addition to any art lover's library.

First Page:








BOSTON: HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY. The Riverside Press, Cambridge. 1881.


Some months since Mrs. Jameson kindly consented to prepare for this Edition of her writings the series of Sacred and Legendary Art , but dying before she had time to fulfil her promise, the arrangement has been intrusted to other hands. The text of the whole series will be an exact reprint of the last English Edition.


BOSTON, Oct. 1st, 1860.



INTRODUCTION Origin of the Worship of the Madonna. Earliest artistic Representations. Origin of the Group of the Virgin and Child in the Fifth Century. The First Council at Ephesus. The Iconoclasts. First Appearance of the Effigy of the Virgin on Coins. Period of Charlemagne. Period of the Crusades. Revival of Art in the Thirteenth Century. The Fourteenth Century. Influence of Dante. The Fifteenth Century. The Council of Constance and the Hussite Wars. The Sixteenth Century. The Luxury of Church Pictures. The Influence of Classical Literature on the Representations of the Virgin. The Seventeenth Century. Theological Art... Continue reading book >>

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