In discussing Hans Belting’s contributions to the current debate on the image, it is important to emphasize his academic training in Medieval studies. The Middle Ages, in fact, represent not only the German scholar’s early field of study, but also the one where, time after time, he has tested new developments of his ideas: even his reflection on the image, so central in his current work, is related to his early training. The present volume by Luca Vargiu investigates how the issue of medieval images enters, takes form,and becomes articulated in Belting’s conceptual horizon. This study analyzes Belting’s work starting from when he expanded his research field in the 1980s (when the study of devotional images played a central role, together with his contributions to the projects Funkkolleg Kunst and Kunstgeschichte. Eine Einführung) until the publication, in 1990, of Bild und Kult, a volume where the Middle Ages are presented as a chapter in an unfolding history of the image. Vargiu closes the volume with an analysis of the theoretical implications of the latter work and of Belting’s almost contemporaneous studies on monumental painting in the age of Dante, highlighting also the change of perspective that has taken place since the 1990s and that sees Belting at work on developing a Bild-Anthropologie.
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