This volume responds to calls in visual and material cultural studies to move beyond the visual and to explore the multi-sensory impact of the image, across a wide range of cultural and historical contexts. What does it mean to practise art history after the material and sensory turns? What is an image, if not a purely visual phenomenon, and how does it prompt non-visual sensory experiences? The multi-sensoriality of the image was a less challenging concept before the ocularcentric modern age, and so this volume brings together a global array of scholars from multiple disciplines to ask these questions of imagery in premodern or non-western contexts, ranging from Minoan palace frescoes, to Roman statues, early church sermons, tombs of Byzantine saints, museum displays of Islamic artefacts of scent, medieval depictions of the voice, and Stuart court masques. Each chapter presents a means of appreciating images beyond the visual, demonstrating the new information and understanding that consequently can be gleaned from their material.
As a collection, these chapters offer the student and scholar of art history and visual culture an array of exciting new approaches that can be applied to appreciate the multi-sensoriality of images in any context, as well as prompts for reflection on future directions in the study of imagery. The Multi-Sensory Image thus illustrates that it is not only possible to explore the non-visual impact of images, but imperative.