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The essays in this collection expand the boundaries of inter-art studies, claiming that human beings have evolved to draw nourishment from pictures. Ellen Spolsky argues in a polemical introduction that the recognition of our embodied need for pictures, that is, our human iconotropism, provides a fresh way of understanding the relationship of works of art to their historical contexts.
Medieval Jerusalem was a vibrant international center, home to multiple cultures, faiths, and languages. Harmonious and dissonant voices from many lands, including Persians, Turks, Greeks, Syrians, Armenians, Georgians, Copts, Ethiopians, Indians, and Europeans, passed in the narrow streets of a city not much larger than midtown Manhattan. Patrons, artists, pilgrims, poets, and scholars from Christian, Jewish, and Islamic traditions focused their attention on the Holy City, endowing and enriching its sacred buildings, creating luxury goods for its residents, and praising its merits. This artistic fertility was particularly in evidence between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, notwithstanding often devastating circumstances—from the earthquake of 1033 to the fierce battles of the Crusades. So strong a magnet was Jerusalem that it drew out the creative imagination of even those separated from it by great distance, from as far north as Scandinavia to as far east as present-day China. This publication is the first to define these four centuries as a singularly creative moment in a singularly complex city. Through absorbing essays and incisive discussions of nearly 200 works of art, Jerusalem, 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven explores not only the meaning of the city to its many faiths and its importance as a destination for tourists and pilgrims but also the aesthetic strands that enhanced and enlivened the medieval city that served as the crossroads of the known world.
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