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Cover for Gothic Wonder

Gothic Wonder

Art, Artifice, and the Decorated Style, 1290–1350

Paul Binski


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In this wide-ranging, eloquent book, Paul Binski sheds new light on one of the greatest periods of English art and architecture, offering ground-breaking arguments about the role of invention and the powers of Gothic art.  His richly documented study locates what became known as the Decorated Style within patterns of commissioning, designing, and imagining whose origins lay in pre-Gothic art.  By examining notions of what was extraordinary, re-evaluating medieval ideas of authorship, and restoring economic considerations to the debate, Binski sets English visual art of the early 14th century in a broad European context and also within the aesthetic discourses of the medieval period.  The author, stressing the continuum between art and architecture, challenges understandings about agency, modernity, hierarchy, and marginality.  His book makes a powerful case for the restoration of the category of the aesthetic to the understanding of medieval art. Generously illustrated with hundreds of images, Gothic Wonder traces the impact of English art in Continental Europe, ending with the Black Death and the literary uses of the architectural in works by Geoffrey Chaucer and other writers.

Praise For Gothic Wonder: Art, Artifice, and the Decorated Style, 1290–1350

Winner of the 2015 Historians of British Art Book Prize for a single-author work relating to a period before 1800.
— Book Award

Paul Mellon Centre, 9780300204001, 452pp.

Publication Date: December 9, 2014

About the Author

Paul Binski is professor of the history of medieval art, Cambridge University.