Besides the last decade or so, the Middle Ages were the ultimate monster period in the western culture. Medieval times were also the period in which Europeans started to broaden their scope of the globe. There were lots of blank spaces on the map, but explorers begun to discover them. With discoveries came stories of strange creatures.
Author: Damien Kempf & Maria L. Gilbert
Publisher: The British Library 2015
Original language: English
Medieval monsters presents the period drawings and paintings, which give a vivid imagery of the horrors that medieval artists imagined. Before the rise of the natural sciences, life was a chain of unanswered questions – or rather, religious answers. Death was always close at hand with scarce medical facilities and knowledge. This must have been a fruitful base for the rise of the monster imagery.
The book is absolutely filled with intriguing images. What amazes me, is the certain naive style of the monster art. The period gave rise to some of the greatest names of art history, yet all the monsters seem to have been painted by artists with very limited knowledge of anatomy. On the other hand, this certainly gives them the genuine period look we’ve all grown accustomed to.
The book includes numerous legends and accounts by eye-witnesses to the horrendous monsters. These stories take the reader to the world of the past, its logic and beliefs and help to understand the life as it was back then. This is a small book with a fascinating topic.