Item description for A Journey into Christian Art by Helen DeBorchgrave...
Overview Searching always for the spirituality that inspired their work, de Borchgrave's work shows us how Christian artists through the ages strove in mosaic, paint, and stone "to enrich the mind, touch the heart, and feed the soul." For all who want to broaden and deepen their appreciation of religious art, this magnificent volume offers: *Over 100 superb color reproductions of some of the world's greatest paintings. *The story of 2000 years of Christian art from early wall-paintings to contemporary works by living artists *Explorations into the lives of more than fifty of the world's greatest artists *Fascinating insights into the spirituality of the artists and how it informed and shaped their work
1. Introduction 2. The Image Of Christ 3. The Rebirth Of Realism 4. The Humanization Of Faith 5. The Flemish Altarpiece 6. Before The Body Was Broken 7. The Summit Unsurpassed 8. Inner Fervor 9. Two Sides Of The Christian Coin 10. After The Age Of Reason
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Reviews - What do customers think about A Journey into Christian Art?
Good for art lovers, slightly deficient for a philosopher. Sep 30, 2005
The entries have very good brief historical and religious background. It just failed to show the gradual deterioration of art, in general, and of painting in particular from the time of the Rennaisance to modern times. The entries for modern art were very charitable; the attempt to be sacramental in the descriptions was futile because there was nothing sacramental in most modern art. But the attempt was well-intentioned and acceptable to most reader but it would be disappointing to the theologian.(But the book was not meant for theologians but for artists.) In which case the artist should give it 4 and a half-stars.
Spiritual journeys May 13, 2005
As the book itself states, 'A Journey into Christian Art' is lavishly illustrated - Helen de Borchgrave's text is accompanied by over a hundred full-colour-process, large-size reproductions of major paintings, as well as stunning photographs of frescos, mosaics, statues and other works of art. Hardly is there a two-page spread throughout the book that does not have a primary image dominant - art is not merely something to be talked about, but something to be experienced, and in a useful way, this book helps the reader accomplish this goal.
This is no simple survey of art, however; it concentrates primarily on the art of Christendom, which is the major portion of the post-Roman Empire artistic tradition of the West until the Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment artistic streams headed in additional directions not directly tied to Christianity. de Borchgrave's purpose here is to do an historical survey simultaneously developing the idea of art with the idea of the spirituality of the artists involved - we as the readers do not simply see the paintings, etc. and admire the handiwork, but are drawn into discussion about the inspiration of the artists, and the hope of the artists in what they mean for their art to inspire.
Beginning with largely anonymous works from late antiquity, de Borchgrave quickly advances into the period where we have names associated with the works (as it is difficult, although not impossible, to get deeply into the spiritual biographies of the anonymous). She explores the images of Christ in different settings during the first thousand years, and sees a division between East and West in different ways - she quotes Chesterton, who said 'the East was the land of the cross and the West was the land of the crucifix.' The issue of symbolism versus realism was one early parting of different artistic streams, which would often flow back across each others' paths.
Key artists such a Giotto, Fra Angelico, Piero, Bosch, Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, and van Gogh are included among lesser-known figures (or persons whose names are less famous perhaps than their works). Workers in media other than painting are included - Durer's etchings and Henry Moore's sculptures, for example.
'Art, as the eastern church discovered through icon painting, can be a force that takes us beyond knowledge and into prayer,' de Borchgrave writes. This idea is woven throughout the text - she writes about the modern painter Roger Wagner as someone who sat in the same spot where Fra Angelico, centuries before, 'had prayed his frescoes into life'.
This is a truly beautiful book, not just in appearance, the 'look and feel' of it, but also in its text and the message, that art and the spirit are deeply connected, and that the artistic sensibility is both heightened by and heightens in turn the spiritual/religious aspects of Christian experience. The crucifixion and resurrection can be drawn in many different ways, yet always remain the same. The image of Christ takes on many varying characteristics, both realistic and symbolic, and yet always remains a powerful guide to the faithful, leading them to new insights and discoveries of something already familiar.
Helen de Borchgrave is herself an art restorer and a leader of art tours throughout Europe. This book is a good tour for those who are more of the arm-chair traveler variety. It is a great gift for others, and a great treat for oneself.