A Feast For The Eyes: Art, Performance, And The Late Medieval Banquet

Hardcover | May 1, 2015

byChristina Normore

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To read accounts of late medieval banquets is to enter a fantastical world where live lions guard nude statues, gilded stags burst into song, and musicians play from within pies. We can almost hear the clock sound from within a glass castle, taste the fire-breathing roast boar, and smell the rose water cascading in a miniature fountain. Such vivid works of art and performance required collaboration among artists in many fields, as well as the participation of the audience.

A Feast for the Eyes is the first book-length study of the court banquets of northwestern Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Christina Normore draws on an array of artworks, archival documents, chroniclers’ accounts, and cookbooks to re-create these events and reassess the late medieval visual culture in which banquets were staged. Feast participants, she shows, developed sophisticated ways of appreciating artistic skill and attending to their own processes of perception, thereby forging a court culture that delighted in the exercise of fine aesthetic judgment.

Challenging modern assumptions about the nature of artistic production and reception, A Feast for the Eyes yields fresh insight into the long history of multimedia work and the complex relationships between spectacle and spectators.

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To read accounts of late medieval banquets is to enter a fantastical world where live lions guard nude statues, gilded stags burst into song, and musicians play from within pies. We can almost hear the clock sound from within a glass castle, taste the fire-breathing roast boar, and smell the rose water cascading in a miniature fountain...

Christina Normore is assistant professor of art history at Northwestern University. 
Format:HardcoverDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.2 inPublished:May 1, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022624220X

ISBN - 13:9780226242200

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
 
Introduction: Setting the Table
Chapter 1: Between the Dishes
Chapter 2: Spectator-Spectacle
Chapter 3: Efficacy and Hypocrisy
Chapter 4: Dining Well
Chapter 5: Stranger at the Table
Chapter 6: Wedding Reception
 
Notes
Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

“With its demonstration of the inseparability of the aesthetic and the political in the multi-media arts of the Burgundian banquet, this book will be welcomed by scholars of pre-modern courtly culture. Normore challenges the received view of such spectacle as the self-consuming excess of a civilization in decline; the entertainments she describes were not only regarded as important historical events, but functioned as secular eucharists that transformed the hedonistic into community values and provided a choreography for the legitimate performance of emotion. A Feast for the Eyes is a key revisionist study of aristocratic leisure.”