This lavish collection of religious portraiture focuses on a selection of saints who inspired their patrons. In the history of western art perhaps no commission was more important or challenging than the depiction of the saints. Popes, emperors, and patricians sought the talents of the most revered artists of their time to adorn their churches, monasteries and homes with these potent images. Now in an appealing combination of religious art and history this unique volume brings together hundreds of illustrations of beloved as well as little-known saints. Arranged according to the festival dates in the Christian Calendar, "The World of the Saints" features vibrant reproductions by such artists as van Eyck, Fra Angelico, Durer, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, El Greco, and Rubens. Double-page spreads include information about the stories of eighty of the most important saints and explanations of their attributes, along with interesting facts about the genesis of the works, which include paintings, altarpieces, frescoes, and sculptures. In addition, more than one hundred other saints are identified in a useful hagiographic lexicon, along with an illustrated index of symbols listing each saint's characteristics. The introductory essay provides a fascinating glimpse into the history of saintly devotion and the significance these religious figures hold in the history of western art.
Norbert Wolf is an art historian and guest professor at the University of Innsbruck, Austria. He lives and works in Munich, Germany.