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Saints and Their Symbols: Recognizing Saints…
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Saints and Their Symbols: Recognizing Saints in Art and in Popular Images

by Fernando Lanzi

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201515,329 (3.5)None

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In my job I get to visit a lot of churches and finding a handy reference to help identify saints in religious artwork has been difficult. Fortunately "Saints and Their Symbols" has everything I've ever wanted in such a book.

The text has three sections: first, a chronological listing of major saints with biographical information, relevant pictures, and explanations of the major symbols associated with each saint. The next section is a "visual dictionary" -- simple line drawings that are easy to scan so that you can identify saints without knowing their names. The final section is a very complete text index of the saints and their symbols.

The book is lavishly illustrated and includes many color and black-and-white images of the saints; it's as much an art book as it is a reference work, and just flipping through the pages is a pleasure.

The only glaring, if understandable, omission is the absence of Mary, Mother of God in the book. In the introduction the authors indicate that her symbols are still understood well enough that her inclusion isn't necessary. I suspect the significant increase in pages required to include her and her various titles and apparitions would have made the book cost-prohibitive. In any event buyers should be aware that Mary is not covered in the text.

That having been said, this is still an invaluable resource that will have pride of place on my shelves for many years. ( )
  sullijo | Apr 17, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0814629709, Hardcover)

Images that tell the story of salvation illustrate saints in various scenes. They are often depicted by an emblem or icon. It used to be that we knew enough about the saints to recognize them in images or artworks without much trouble, but it is becoming a struggle. Saints and Their Symbols is a solution. It is a guide for recognizing and understanding the saints. This text explains such things as why so many of the saints appear in images with Jesus and the Virgin Mary, yet remain unnamed, which symbols are associated with each saint, and what their roles were in Christian salvation. With full-color images and biographical information about the saints, it is a work of popular religious culture and anthropology.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:16 -0400)

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