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The Secret Language Of Churches & Cathedrals
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Richard Stemp
The Secret Language Of Churches & Cathedrals by Richard Stemp at Abbey's Bookshop,

The Secret Language Of Churches & Cathedrals

Richard Stemp



Religious subjects depicted in art;
Religious buildings;
Religion & beliefs;


224 pages

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Who is depicted in that stained glass window? What is the significance of those geometric figures? Why are there fierce-looking beasts carved amidst all that beauty? Is there a deeper purpose behind the play of light and space in the nave? Why is there a pelican on the lectern and ornate foliage on the pillars? The largely illiterate medieval audience could read the symbols of churches and cathedrals and recognise the meanings and stories deliberately encoded into them. For worshippers these were places of religious education and an awe-inspiring feast that satisfied both the senses and the soul. Today, in an age less attuned to iconography, such places of worship are often seen merely as magnificent works of architecture. This book restores the lost spiritual meaning of these fine and fascinating buildings.

The Secret Language of Churches & Cathedrals provides a three-part illustrated key by which modern visitors can understand the layout, fabric and decorative symbolism of Christian sacred structures thereby bringing back to life their original atmosphere of awe and sanctity. Part One is an analysis of structural features, outside and in, from spires and domes to clerestories and brasses. Part Two is a theme-by-theme guide, which identifies significant figures, scenes, stories, animals, flowers, and the use of numbers, letters and patterns in paintings, carvings and sculpture. Part Three is a historical decoder, revealing the evolution of styles from basilicas through Byzantine, Romanesque, Gothic and beyond.

For all those who seek to know more about Christian art and architecture, this richly illustrated book will instruct and delight in equal measure.

By:   Richard Stemp
Imprint:   Watkins
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 181mm,  Spine: 19mm
Weight:   780g
ISBN:   9781780289618
ISBN 10:   1780289618
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   November 2018
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Richard Stemp studied Natural Sciences and History of Art at the University of Cambridge, and has a Ph.D in Italian Renaissance sculpture. After a year at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, he now divides his time between art history and acting. He teaches in London for the National Gallery, Tate and Buckingham Palace, as well as on site in museums and churches across Italy for Art History Abroad. He wrote and presented the TV series Art in the National Gallery and Tate Modern for Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and is the author of several books, including The Secret Language of the Renaissance.

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