Toledo Cathedral

Building Histories in Medieval Castile

By (author) Tom Nickson

Paperback - £31.95

Publication date:

15 September 2017

Length of book:

324 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271066462

Medieval Toledo is famous as a center of Arabic learning and as a home to sizable Jewish, Muslim, and Christian communities. Yet its cathedral—one of the largest, richest, and best preserved in all of Europe—is little known outside Spain. In Toledo Cathedral, Tom Nickson provides the first in-depth analysis of the cathedral’s art and architecture.

Focusing on the early thirteenth to the late fourteenth centuries, he examines over two hundred years of change and consolidation, tracing the growth of the cathedral in the city as well as the evolution of sacred places within the cathedral itself. He goes on to consider this substantial monument in terms of its location in Toledo, Spain’s most cosmopolitan city in the medieval period. Nickson also addresses the importance and symbolic significance of Toledo’s cathedral to the city and the art and architecture of the medieval Iberian Peninsula, showing how it fits in with broader narratives of change in the arts, culture, and ideology of the late medieval period in Spain and in Mediterranean Europe as a whole.

“This superb volume is unlikely to be read from cover to cover. It is a mosaic of different studies dealing with disparate themes related to the architectural origins of each part of the building. The intending reader needs to dip into it rather than attempt to absorb its contents at a sitting. Perhaps Nickson’s most valuable contribution is to give us not merely an analysis of stonework but a very lucid presentation of the evidence for multiple aspects of identity, and the claims of the cathedral to power and primacy. . . . Tom Nickson gives us an expert analysis, superbly illustrated, in a highly detailed but also well-accomplished piece of research.”

—Henry Kamen, Times Literary Supplement