Larisa Grollemond and Bryan C. KeeneMar 27, 2023
The Fantasy of the Middle Ages
An Epic Journey through Imaginary Medieval Worlds
Getty Publications 2022
This abundantly illustrated book is an illuminating exploration of the impact of medieval imagery on three hundred years of visual culture.
From the soaring castles of Sleeping Beauty to the bloody battles of Game of Thrones, from Middle-earth in The Lord of the Rings to mythical beasts in Dungeons & Dragons, and from Medieval Times to the Renaissance Faire, the Middle Ages have inspired artists, playwrights, filmmakers, gamers, and writers for centuries. Indeed, no other historical era has captured the imaginations of so many creators.
The Fantasy of the Middle Ages: An Epic Journey Through Imaginary Medieval Worlds (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2022) aims to uncover the many reasons why the Middle Ages have proven so applicable to a variety of modern moments from the eighteenth through the twenty-first century. These “medieval” worlds are often the perfect ground for exploring contemporary cultural concerns and anxieties, saying much more about the time and place in which they were created than they do about the actual conditions of the medieval period. With over 140 color illustrations, from sources ranging from thirteenth-century illuminated manuscripts to contemporary films and video games, and a preface by Game of Thrones costume designer Michele Clapton, The Fantasy of the Middle Ages will surprise and delight both enthusiasts and scholars.
This title is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center from June 21 to September 11, 2022.
Larisa Grollemond is the assistant curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania and was a contributing editor for Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World (Getty Publications, 2019).
Bryan C. Keene (he/él/they/elle) is assistant professor of art history at Riverside City College and a former associate curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He specializes in codex cultures of the global Middle Ages and fantasy medievalisms. He holds a Ph.D. from the Courtauld Institute of Art, at the University of London.
Evan Zarkadas (MA) is an independent scholar of European and Medieval history and an educator. He received his master’s in history from the University of Maine focusing on Medieval Europe, the Eastern Mediterranean, medieval identity, and ethnicity during the late Middle Ages.