Segments in this Video

Medieval Sculpture (03:45)


Most sculptures produced during the Middle Ages were for religious purposes. Images educated viewers, commemorated the lives of Jesus and the saint's lives, and were devotional. The Tate Gallery wanted to focus on the Reformation.

Object Display (04:41)

Richard Deacon wanted the Tate Gallery to become an active enclosure. The sculptor showed the backs of artifacts in the exhibit and played with height.

Effigies of Knights (03:58)

The sculpture from Furness Abbey depicts one knight with his eyes open. In the Kirby effigy, an army knight and his lady appear to be slumbering in bed. St. Christopher wades through the water with Jesus on his back.

Transition to the Reformation (05:43)

By 1520, Medieval churches were brightly colored with many of images. Within 40 years, images were removed or destroyed and replaced with biblical texts. Waves of iconoclasm occurred during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Elizabeth I, and Archbishop Laud.

Surviving Sculpture (03:58)

Sculptures likely survived because they were placed in an inaccessible area, protected over a long period of time, or were not completely destroyed by iconoclasts. The Madonna and Jesus from Winchester Cathedral has been partially repaired. Many heads are based on portraits of individuals.

South Cerney (04:18)

A rood image is a sculpture of Jesus flanked by Saint John and the Virgin Mary. A workman found the head and foot of a wooden Jesus at All Hallows Church in 1913. Deacon does not have an has no opinion about the destruction of the sculptures.

Medieval Sculptors (03:06)

Some sculptors enjoyed high civic offices such as sheriffs or mayors toward the end of the Middle Ages. Pietro Torrigiano made the craftsman become a creative artist. Dr. John Yonge was the Master of the Rolls.

Charwelton Tomb (04:24)

The effigy of Sir Thomas Andrew and his two wives is the most recent sculpture in the exhibition. Apart from the angels, there is no religious imagery. The inscription ends with a Catholic reflection.

Credits: Image and Idol: Medieval Sculpture (00:26)

Credits: Image and Idol: Medieval Sculpture

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Image and Idol: Medieval Sculpture

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $149.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $224.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $149.95



The extraordinary richness of sculpture from the twelfth to the sixteenth century is revealed in this unique film. Historian Phillip Lindley introduces a selection of surprising and startlingly beautiful artworks from churches and cathedrals in England and Wales. Lindley explores the force and distinctiveness of medieval sculpture and outlines the religious context in which the work was made. Among other examples, he discusses an extraordinary figure of Jesse from Abergavenny, an exquisite Madonna and Child from Winchester Cathedral, and the moving tomb of Sir Thomas Andrew, who lies with his two wives in alabaster on either side. Many of the works featured in the film suffered dreadfully in the iconoclasm of, first, the sixteenth-century Reformation and, later, the fundamentalism of the English Civil War. Their shattered fragments remain both poignant and powerful. The film was made alongside Tate Britain’s groundbreaking exhibition of medieval sculpture, which was selected by Lindley with the distinguished sculptor Richard Deacon. As he discusses, Deacon designed the controversial installation of the works highlighting their striking and memorable qualities.

Length: 35 minutes

Item#: BVL194780

ISBN: 978-1-64623-818-7

Copyright date: ©2002

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.