At its peak in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the
so-called Spanish Reconquest transformed the societies of the
Iberian Peninsula at nearly every level. Among the most vivid signs
of this change were the innovative images developed by Christians
to depict the subjugated Muslims and Jews within their vastly
expanded kingdoms. In Art of Estrangement, Pamela Patton traces the
transformation of Iberia's Jews in the visual culture of Spain's
Christian-ruled kingdoms as those rulers strove to affiliate with
mainstream Europe and distance themselves from an uncomfortably
Art of Estrangement scrutinizes a wide range of works--from
luxury manuscripts and cloister sculptures to household ceramics
and scribal doodles--to show how imported and local motifs were
brought together to articulate and reinforce the efforts of Spain's
Christian communities to renegotiate their relationships with a
vibrant Jewish minority. The arsenal of stereotypes, symbols, and
narratives deployed to characterize Jews and their changing social
roles often paralleled those found in contemporaneous literature
and folklore; they ranged from such time-honored European formulae
as the greedy usurer and the "Jewish nose" to locally resonant
conflations of Jews with Muslims. The book's close, contextualized
reading of works from the late twelfth through early fourteenth
centuries draws on recent scholarship in Iberian history, religion,
and cultural studies, shedding new light on the delicate processes
by which communal and religious identities were negotiated in
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