Great Monasteries of Europe

By Bernhard Schütz

Photographer Henri Gaud, Joseph Martin, Florian Monheim, Antonio Quattrone, Ghigo Roli, and Marco Schneiders

Release Date
Format Hardcover 492 pages 10.63 x 12.75 inches
Category Architecture
ISBN-13 978-0-78920-829-3 SKU 1014311

This remarkable volume is the most comprehensive examination to date of the art and architecture of European monasteries, featuring an authoritative text and more than five hundred stunning, full-color photographs.

European cultural history is inextricably linked to the presence of monasteries, especially during the Middle Ages. In addition to serving as religious refuges, monasteries provided sanctuary for the pursuits of art, education, science, and book production. This lavishly illustrated book traces the development of the art and architecture of these important buildings, from early Carolingian examples in the eighth century to a modern structure by Le Corbusier in 1960.

This unsurpassed survey offers a fresh chronicle of a largely overlooked subject and hundreds of marvelous images, many of them newly photographed, of more than 150 of the most interesting and best preserved monasteries in Spain, Portugal, France, Great Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Italy — all of which are accessible to visitors. Here are unique views of the art and architecture of such treasured places as Mont St. Michel, a wondrous Benedictine sanctuary off the coast of Brittany, and the fabled pilgrimage site in Assisi founded by St. Francis.

In an insightful text the author describes the cultural heritage of each of the monasteries portrayed and provides an introduction to monasticism and to the various orders dating from the early Christian era to the present. In addition, the volume offers plans of the sites, a glossary, and a bibliography. Historians and collectors of great books of art history will be intrigued by this unsurpassed collection of photographs and fascinating account of the artistic glory of European monasteries.


“...[I]t’s not the physical heft of the volume that packs the real punch here; it’s the erudition and comprehensiveness of Schutz’s text, combined with masterful documentary images from seven photographers...Great Monasteries of Europe is a scholarly work and it reads accordingly. But unlike monks, whose senses were to experience no pleasure but that which glorified God, the less tenacious readers among us can be shamelessly stimulated by the rich color plates that capture the magnificent and often moody spaces of another world.” -- Shelter Interiors

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