This collection of essays considers artistic works that deal with the body without a visual representation. It explores a range of ways to represent this absence of the figure: from abject elements such as bodily fluids and waste to surrogate forms including reliquaries, manuscripts, and cloth. The collection focuses on two eras, medieval and modern, when images referencing the absent body have been far more prolific in the history of art. In medieval times, works of art became direct references to the absent corporal essence of a divine being, like Christ, or were used as devotional aids. By contrast, in the modern era artists often reject depictions of the physical body in order to distance themselves from the history of the idealized human form. Through these essays, it becomes apparent, even when the body is t visible in a work of art, it is often still present tangentially. Though the essays in this volume bridge two historical periods, they have coherent thematic links dealing with abjection, embodiment, and phemelogy. Whether figurative or abstract, sacred or secular, medieval or modern, the body maintains a presence in these works even when it is t at first apparent.
Emily Kelley is Associate Professor of Art History at Saginaw Valley State University. Her research examines mercantile patronage in late medieval Spain. She has published in the Journal of Medieval Iberian Studies and the Hispanic Research Journal. She is co-editor of Mendicants and Merchants in the Medieval Mediterranean (Brill, 2013). Elizabeth Richards Rivenbark is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of South Alabama. She has published essays on American art in the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries with special interests in gender studies, war imagery, and the body. Her essays appear in Artibus et Historiae, the Women's Art Journal, and The SECAC Review.
Taylor & Francis Ltd
Date of Publication
Fine Arts / Art History
Place of Publication
Country of Publication
35 black & white illustrations, 1 black & white tables, 35 black & white halftones