Eloquent Bodies Movement, Expression, and the Human Figure in Gothic Sculpture Jacqueline E. Jung

Publication date:
23 Jun 2020
Yale University Press
340 pages: 279 x 216mm
211 color + 322 b-w illus.
Sales territories:

A radical reassessment of the role of movement, emotion, and the viewing experience in Gothic sculpture

Gothic cathedrals in northern Europe dazzle visitors with arrays of sculpted saints, angels, and noble patrons adorning their portals and interiors. In this highly original and erudite volume, Jacqueline E. Jung explores how medieval sculptors used a form of bodily poetics—involving facial expression, gesture, stance, and torsion—to create meanings beyond conventional iconography and to subtly manipulate spatial dynamics, forging connections between the sculptures and beholders. Filled with more than 500 images that capture the suppleness and dynamism of cathedral sculpture, often through multiple angles, Eloquent Bodies demonstrates how viewers confronted and, in turn, were addressed by sculptures at major cathedrals in France and Germany, from Chartres and Reims to Strasbourg, Bamberg, Magdeburg, and Naumburg. Shedding new light on the charismatic and kinetic qualities of Gothic sculpture, this book also illuminates the ways artistic ingenuity and technical skill converged to enliven sacred spaces.

Jacqueline E. Jung is associate professor in the Department of the History of Art at Yale University.

Winner of the 2021 Gustav Ranis International Book Prize, sponsored by the MacMillan Center

“This beautifully written, ground-breaking book demands that we rethink fundamentally the ways we look at, study, and teach figural sculpture of the Gothic period.”—Joan A. Holladay, The University of Texas at Austin

“Eloquent Bodies is important, original, and engagingly written.”—Robert Bork, University of Iowa