Customer Reviews: Saints in Art (Guide to Imagery Series)
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on October 12, 2005
this book is awesome! it has info on over 100 saints commonly found in art. stuff like name, time and place of earthly life,what they did, patronage,special devotions, connections to other saints, when they became saints and their feast days are easily found on the sidebar. there is a little biography and then a collection of maybe three paintings and an explanation of who is in the painting and what they are doing as well as the meanings of the objects they are pictured with. for instance, if i ever see a painting of a woman with her hair down pictured with a container of oil or ointment i will know it is mary magdalene. a t-shaped cane is an emblem of St. Anthony Abbot, etc. super useful saint painting decoder.
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on May 13, 2005
This title originally comes from the popular Dizionari dell'Arte series by Italian publishers Electa and we should be thankful that the Getty has taken on the task of translating these fabulous reference books into English. Saints in Art is an important source not only for the iconography and hagiography of the principal saints in art but on the great visual history of European painting (with an emphasis on Italian). Lavishly illustrated. I highly recommend it!
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2007
Books with stories that you can leaf through, without reading linearly from cover to cover, are always fun, and for lovers of medieval art, Saints is one of the best. Lushly illustrated, and formatted somewhat like a travel guide, the mini-biographies summarize what is known about each saint. Representative art works are provided, accompanied by sidebars and annotations with arrows that point out key features. Saints in Art is a valuable resource for anyone wishing to decipher the symbology and iconography contained in the religious works, great and small.
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on June 5, 2008
This beautiful book contains a collection of biographies of saints together with Old Master's paintings. There are usually several paintings depicting each saint.
They include bullets of artistic information about most of the pictures. I do not recommend it for children
because of the sometimes grahic depictions of martyrdom.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 15, 2014
You have to read the Introduction of this book to understand a lot of what is inside the book as well as the reason for the book's lay-out. Throughout the pages, there are many references to the "Fourteen Holy Helpers" which I've never heard of, I assumed, because I'm not Catholic. But I wonder if you've heard of this place: the Vierzehnheiligen Sanctuary in Bavaria, Germany was built in 1743. Around its fabulous alter are large colorful statues of 14 saints. Each of these saints was carefully chosen to represent the most identifiable ones regarding their symbols and whom they serve as Patrons. All through the book, you see these saints as well as other saints who are mentioned having connections to them. From earliest times through the Renaissance, the average person could look at religious paintings or statues or stained glass windows and quickly understand who was being depicted by the surroundings and by their symbols. Because this has been largely lost over the centuries, this book recaptures the original significance of each saint via the story of his or her life, the reason for sainthood and the symbols that are repeated over and over in art.

The saints range from Acacius to Zeno of Verona. They are listed in alphabetical order. In the back, you can find an alphabetical list of "symbols and attributes" such as chains being associated with St. Leonard or a lamp for St. Clare. Then there is alphabetized "protectors and patrons" such as St. Valentine for lovers.

The more famous the saints, the more pages and more paintings are devoted to them. There are many "one-pagers" like St. Isidore or St. Cajetan (who?). St. John the Baptist is depicted in 9 paintings over 9 pages. This is because it must be shown that: he was Jesus' cousin, he baptized Jesus, he lived in the widerness and was beheaded at the behest of Salome. Each saint's story is told and in each painting, there are lines drawn to important parts and captioned so we can understand the meaning. For example, timely now, St. Nicholas was the bishop of Myra and hearing of three sisters who were going to be forced into prostitution, he secretly gave them money to save them from this fate. In paintings, just seeing three little girls asleep alerts you which saint this is about.

Each saint has a brief "bio" on the side of the first page. The headings include the "Name" and its origin, the site and time of their "Earthly Life," their "Characteristics and Activity," "Patron" (who calls upon them), and "Connections with Other Saints." Some saints have additional information such as when they were "Venerated," what "Special Devotions" are attributed to them and when is their "Feast Day."

I found a few flaws such as the lists in the back not perfectly matching a given saint's info. For example, I'm attorney and I was surprised to see Jesus adopted father, St. Joseph, is the patron saint of attorneys. There is no listing for "attorney" though...but there is for "lawyer." However, only St. Ivo is given for lawyers.

It has taken me quite a while to write this review as I keep getting lost in the interesting text and paintings. Other books in this great series include:

Symbols and Allegories in Art (A Guide to Imagery)
Symbols of Power in Art (A Guide to Imagery)
Artists' Techniques and Materials (A Guide to Imagery)
Icons and Saints of the Eastern Orthodox Church (A Guide to Imagery)
Astrology, Magic, and Alchemy in Art (A Guide to Imagery)
Music in Art (A Guide to Imagery)
Love and the Erotic in Art (A Guide to Imagery)
Angels and Demons in Art (A Guide to Imagery)
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on January 9, 2010
Great book for anyone who visits galleries and wonders why St. Catherine is always depicted with a wheel... With Internet, these days one can Google "Attributes of saints," but this book is great to handle, smell, browse through, even read, from cover to cover. And it is a nice conversation piece on a coffee table.
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on June 12, 2013
I love this type of reference book. The artwork is vivid, the history of each saint is well-drawn, and I have used this work repeatedly.... especially when I am at Eucharistic Adoration. Highly recommended!
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on July 16, 2013
Another fine book in the series published by the J. Paul Getty Museum. See my reviews of other volumes in the series: "Music in Art" and "Medicine in Art". The text gives short biographies of each saint: if you want more detailed ones, consult Donald Attwater's Penguin Dictionary of Saints, and, of course, if you can get hold of it, Caxton's translation of Jean de Voragine's Golden Legend, with its many preposterous stories. There are explanatory notes to the beautifully reproduced paintings, many of which are little known. The 122 saints dealt with here are only a small fraction of the more than 10,000 canonized saints in the Roman Catholic Church, but even the 122 dealt with here include some which are not all that well known.
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on October 15, 2014
I LOVE THIS BOOK! Visually stunning pictures and beautiful artwork fill the pages, with small stories of who's depicted, too! Perfect for a little Catholicism on the go, or in a comfy corner of your house!
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on March 2, 2016
its great
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