The medieval wall paintings that remain in English churches are for the most part shadows of their former selves – the rare fragments of this beautiful art to have survived not only the Reformation but also successive waves of iconoclastic zeal and unsympathetic restoration. The whitewashed walls of most parish churches belie the riot of colour and decoration that once adorned them, but the remnants of paintings tucked into corners or rescued from later layers of paint help us to understand the role of art in medieval religion. Roger Rosewell here offers a guide to the role played by medieval wall paintings, as religious, didactic and commemorative works of art, telling the stories of those who created them and those who used them on a daily basis. He also compares and contrasts religious and domestic wall paintings, using beautiful colour photography throughout.
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