Book Review: Elizabeth Valdez del Álamo, Palace of the Mind: The Cloister of Silos and Spanish Sculpture of the Twelfth Century Page: 114
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Volume V, Number 1 (Autumn 2015)
Book Review: Elizabeth Valdez del Alamo,
Palace of the Mind: The Cloister of Silos and
Spanish Sculpture of the Twelfth Century
(Brepols, Turnhout, 2012), 532pgs, 139 plates,
176 images (ISBN# 978-2-503-51711-7).
By Mickey Abel, University of North Texas
Elizabeth Valdez del Alamo's much anticipated study of the cloister at Santo Domingo
de Silos is a tour de force in the grand monograph tradition. Large in format at approximately 10
x 12 inches and richly illustrated with over 300 images and plates, one might at first glance
confuse it with a "coffee table" edition. The reading of its 400 pages of dense text, coupled with
the 20 pages of bibliography, proves otherwise. While it is clear that the writing of this opus
magmas was a labor of love, years in the making, the vast and thoughtfully organized material
contained within its binding reaches far beyond what one might expect of a monograph, seeking,
as the title suggests, to contextualize the sculptural production at Silos within the larger
landscape of Spain in the twelfth century. Anyone familiar with the historiography of
Romanesque architectural sculpture knows how contentious and politically fraught a terrain this
is, with volumes written on just the "Spain or Toulouse" issue. Undeterred, however, by the
weight of the field's heavy-hitters-the likes of Porter, Male, Berenson, Whitehill, Schapiro,
Werkmeister, and Williams--each having staked their claims of authority over this well-worn
territory, Valdez del Alamo demonstrates quite amply her own credentials in the grand tradition
Published by Digital Kenyon: Research, Scholarship, and Creative Exchange, 2015
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Abel, Mickey S. Book Review: Elizabeth Valdez del Álamo, Palace of the Mind: The Cloister of Silos and Spanish Sculpture of the Twelfth Century, review, 2015; Gambier, Ohio. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1213683/m1/1/: accessed March 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Visual Arts + Design.