Painter And Priest: Giovanni Canavesio's Visual Rhetoric And The Passion Cycle At La Brigue

Hardcover | June 30, 2006

byVeronique Plesch

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Giovanni Canavesio, a Piedmontese artist-priest active in the last decades of the fifteenth century in the southern Alps, left behind a significant body of work, including pictorial cycles and altarpieces. This book is an in-depth analysis of his most ambitious cycle on the Passion of Christ, completed in 1492, on the walls of the pilgrimage sanctuary of Notre-Dame des Fontaines outside the French town of La Brigue.
 
Plesch's primary aim is to understand the cycle's complex and multi-layered meaning. She analyzes the subject matter of the scenes, the significance of their order, how the pictorial and graphic sources were adapted, and the range of formal and visual means used to convey content. Plesch also places Canavesio and his pictorial cycle within wider contexts of the production and consumption of religious art and the nature of devotion in an early modern rural Alpine community.
 
The two facets of Canavesio's life and work—that of artist and that of priest—are also discussed. Plesch argues that the religious messages conveyed by the cycle scenes, as well as the strategies used by the artist to convey meaning and to structure the viewer's experience, were indeed informed by his training as a priest. Canavesio's approach to the definition of meaning, as well as his pictorial strategies, are considered in the context of the medieval art of preaching, an art whose rules derived from those of rhetoric. By also placing the cycle within the larger universe of late medieval religious devotion, Plesch connects Canavesio's work not only with preaching but with devotional meditation and religious theater as well.  
 
"This exemplary interdisciplinary book is an engagingly written and thorough study of a very interesting cycle of late medieval wall paintings." —Pamela Sheingorn, CUNY Graduate Center, New York

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From the Publisher

Giovanni Canavesio, a Piedmontese artist-priest active in the last decades of the fifteenth century in the southern Alps, left behind a significant body of work, including pictorial cycles and altarpieces. This book is an in-depth analysis of his most ambitious cycle on the Passion of Christ, completed in 1492, on the walls of the pilg...

VÉRONIQUE PLESCH is associate professor and chair of the Department of Art at Colby College in Waterville, Maine.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:488 pages, 10 × 7 × 1.5 inPublished:June 30, 2006Publisher:University Of Notre Dame PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0268038880

ISBN - 13:9780268038885

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“Plesch [places] Canavesio and his cycle within wider contexts of the production and consumption of religious art and the nature of devotion in an early modern rural Alpine community. The work is recommended for acquisition by university libraries and will also be helpful to undergraduates.” —Fifteenth Century Studies 34 (2009)