Sometimes enjoying considerable favor, sometimes less, iconography has been an essential element in medieval art historical studies since the beginning of the discipline. Some of the greatest art historians – including Mâle, Warburg, Panofsky, Morey, and Schapiro – have devoted their lives to understanding and structuring what exactly the subject matter of a work of medieval art can tell. Over the last thirty or so years, scholarship has seen the meaning and methodologies of the term considerably broadened.

This companion provides a state-of-the-art assessment of the influence of the foremost iconographers, as well as the methodologies employed and themes that underpin the discipline. The first section focuses on influential thinkers in the field, while the second covers some of the best-known methodologies; the third, and largest section, looks at some of the major themes in medieval art. Taken together, the three sections include thirty-eight chapters, each of which deals with an individual topic. An introduction, historiographical evaluation, and bibliography accompany the individual essays. The authors are recognized experts in the field, and each essay includes original analyses and/or case studies which will hopefully open the field for future research.

part I|163 pages

The great iconographers

chapter 1|21 pages

Andrea Alciato

chapter 2|15 pages

Ripa, The Trinciante

chapter 3|10 pages

Adolphe-NapolÉon Didron

(Paris 1867–Hautvilliers 1906)

chapter 4|8 pages

Louis Réau

chapter 5|10 pages

Émile Mâle

chapter 6|14 pages

Aby M. Warburg


chapter 7|16 pages

Fritz Saxl

Transformation and reconfiguration of pagan gods in medieval art

chapter 8|18 pages

Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968)*

chapter 10|12 pages

Hans van de Waal, A Portrait

part II|46 pages

Systems and cataloguing tools

chapter 13|9 pages

The Anthropology of Images

chapter 14|8 pages

Classifying Image Content in Visual Collections

A selective history

chapter 16|18 pages


A key to collaboration in the digital humanities

part III|315 pages

Themes in medieval art

chapter 17|14 pages

Religious Iconography

chapter 18|16 pages

Liturgical Iconography

chapter 20|15 pages

Erotic Iconography

chapter 21|13 pages

The Iconography of Narrative

chapter 24|18 pages

Medicine’s Image 1

chapter 25|16 pages


A useful category of art historical analysis? 1

chapter 26|17 pages

Royal and Imperial Iconography

chapter 29|13 pages

Medieval Maps and Diagrams

chapter 30|13 pages

The Iconography of Gender

chapter 32|16 pages

The Iconography of Color

chapter 36|12 pages

The Other in the Middle Ages

Difference, identity, and iconography

chapter 37|14 pages

Animal Iconography

chapter 38|16 pages

Monstrous Iconography