Catalogue


Outcasts : signs of otherness in northern European art of the late Middle Ages /
Ruth Mellinkoff.
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, 1993.
description
2 v. : ill. (some col.)
ISBN
0520078152
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, 1993.
isbn
0520078152
contents note
v. 1. Text -- v. 2. Illustrations.
general note
"A Centennial book."
local note
HOLDINGS: v. 1-2.
catalogue key
367226
 
Includes bibliographical references and indexes.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"A fascinating exploration of the various means that were developed, chiefly in the later Middle Ages, to characterize 'others' of various kinds."--Walter Cahn, Yale University "Dr. Mellinkoff adds immensely to our knowledge of medieval symbolism, not merely in outline but also in sensitive detail. . . . More than that, she has demonstrated conclusively that the meaning conveyed by single iconographic elements is not fixed, but depends on their context."--Gavin Langmuir, Stanford University
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1994-03-01:
Stereotype has typically been used in art to simplify representation. Mellinkoff, a research associate at the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and author of other titles on medieval art ( Devil at Isenheim , Univ. of California Pr., 1988), has gathered together and categorized common medieval stereotyping exemplified in the art. The result is a fascinating foray into medieval attitudes, wide-ranging enough to include a particularly interesting chapter on Jewish headgear. There are problems, however. The first volume is entirely text, referring for illustration to the beautiful plates in the second volume--a cumbersome arrangement that is discouraging to all but the most devoted researcher, as even the author admits. In addition, the scope of her task is too broad, leading to an overwhelming banquet of examples and theories. For specialized collections only.-- Karen Ellis, Baldwin Boettcher Lib., Humble, Tex. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1994-07:
This study widens our interpretative horizon of 14th- and 15th-century Netherlandish and German society and its mentality. Most of the arguments in the Text volume revolve around a framing analysis of imagery, in particular the often neglected and less researched signs of the "other" and the unfamiliar. Throughout, the author weaves a net of meaning with emphasis on the negative. Mellinkoff argues quite convincingly that society's most profound views are expressed in these. The book has an unusual subdivision, but this helps the reader who wants to approach all the material at once. There are two distinct sections, consisting of four chapters and seven chapters respectively. Mellinkoff, in the first part, analyzes elements of costume via a decoding frame of context. She proceeds with her contextual analysis in four distinct chapters: artists' use of patterns; the use of color; headgear; and special meaning and the use of Hebrew and pseudo-Hebrew lettering. The second part is entirely devoted to physical features and the body; the principles of unusual physical features; use of distortions and deformations; the meaning of colored hair and hairstyles; vulgar gestures; and, finally, social rank and moral character suggested by location, position, and stance. Most arguments are well crafted and thematically focused, with minute attention to contemporary mentality and prejudice. This allows any reader to access the chapters independently and in no particular order, which is one of the many attractive features of this book. Equally appropriate and thoughtful is a second volume entirely devoted to high-quality illustrations, providing an impressive and very necessary visual archive for further detailed study. Mellinkoff's study offers a unique and at times very imaginative interpretation that moves away from the rather traditional frame of art historical interpretation. It is a most valuable introduction to imagery and referential sign systems in the Late Middle Ages and a critical reminder of the latent presence of societal prejudice in all its hidden constructs. General; undergraduate through professional. H. J. Van Miegroet; Duke University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, March 1994
Choice, July 1994
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In this beautifully illustrated two-volume study, Ruth Mellinkoff has assembled and analyzed an extraordinary compilation of pictorial signs (motifs, attributes, and other artistic devices) used by medieval artists to identify and denigrate those figures deemed outcasts, such as Jews, heretics, Muslims, blacks, executioners, prostitutes, lepers, gamblers, footsoldiers, entertainers, and peasants. Among the signs treated are costume elements such as patterns and colors, and physical attributes such as skin and hair color, blemishes, and gestures. Mellinkoff focuses on art from northern Europe, with examples culled principally from the thirteenth into the middle of the sixteenth century. The author poses important questions about the attitudes of Christian society, and nearly 700 images--most in color--are gathered in Volume Two to illustrate her observations. Outcastswill engage and challenge scholars and students of the visual arts and literature, history of religion, anthropology, sociology, and psychology for years to come.
Long Description
In this beautifully illustrated two-volume study, Ruth Mellinkoff has assembled and analyzed an extraordinary compilation of pictorial signs (motifs, attributes, and other artistic devices) used by medieval artists to identify and denigrate those figures deemed outcasts, such as Jews, heretics, Muslims, blacks, executioners, prostitutes, lepers, gamblers, footsoldiers, entertainers, and peasants. Among the signs treated are costume elements such as patterns and colors, and physical attributes such as skin and hair color, blemishes, and gestures. Mellinkoff focuses on art from northern Europe, with examples culled principally from the thirteenth into the middle of the sixteenth century. The author poses important questions about the attitudes of Christian society, and nearly 700 images--most in color--are gathered in Volume Two to illustrate her observations.Outcastswill engage and challenge scholars and students of the visual arts and literature, history of religion, anthropology, sociology, and psychology for years to come.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem