Few subjects in Christianity have inspired artists as much as the last judgment. Last Judgment Iconography in the Carpathians examines images of the last judgment from the fifteenth century to the present in the Carpathian mountain region of Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia, and Romania, as a way to consider history free from the traditional frameworks and narratives of nations. Over ten years, John-Paul Himka studied last-judgment images throughout the Carpathians and found a distinctive and transnational blending of Gothic, Byzantine, and Novgorodian art in the region. Piecing together the story of how these images were produced and how they developed, Himka traces their origins on linden boards and their evolution on canvas and church walls. Tracing their origins with monks, he follows these images' increased popularity as they were commissioned by peasants and shepherds whose tastes so shocked bishops that they ordered the destruction of depictions of sexual themes and grotesque forms of torture.
A richly illustrated and detailed account of history through a style of art, Last Judgment Iconography in the Carpathians will find a receptive audience with art historians, religious scholars, and slavists.