Art and Architecture of Sicily is the first book to cover the rich
artistic heritage of Sicily from prehistory up to the late 20th century. Sicily's
strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean led to settlement or
conquest by a succession of different peoples - Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans,
Byzantines, Muslims, Normans, Germans, French, Spanish - each one leaving its
traces on Sicilian culture.
The book provides a chronological survey, each section opening with a brief historical overview which is followed with an authoritative and engaging account of the development of the period's art and architecture. The leading architects, artists and stylistic currents are all discussed and outstanding individual buildings and works of art are analysed, some famous, others which may be unfamiliar to readers. While architecture is the principal starting point for the understanding of each period, paintings and sculpture are treated in some detail; archaeology, urban development, patronage and decorative arts are also covered.
The development of art and architecture in Sicily not interpreted as a story of artistic conquests, but as one of acculturation and creative transformation. The author instead reveals that successive layering of different cultures, and the way each one interacted with its predecessors produced art and architecture quite distinct from anywhere else in Europe. He thus challenges the commonly held view that Sicilian art and architecture is provincial and derivative, merely imitating the art of others.