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Drawing together a vast array of treasured objects from collections throughout Europe and the United States, this beautifully illustrated volume examines the cult of sacred relics in greater depth and breadth than ever before. Tracing the making of reliquaries from the earliest days of Christianity to the apogee of the practice in the 16th century, the book considers the importance of reliquaries as markers of the divine in both Eastern Christianity (Byzantium) and Western Christendom. The book also tracks the fate of relics and reliquaries in the wake of the Reformation, anti-clerical movements, and the French Revolution. An international group of scholars explores how medieval artists used earthly materials to construct the heavenly power of sacred objects and sheds fascinating new light on some 140 extraordinary and rare reliquaries from sources ranging from the Sancta Sanctorum of the Lateran Palace to cathedral treasuries to small parish churches.
Martina Bagnoli is associate curator of medieval art at the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. Holger A. Klein is associate professor of art history and archaeology at Columbia University, New York. C. Griffith Mann is chief curator at the Cleveland Museum of Art. James Robinson is curator of late Medieval Europe at the British Museum, London.