Art and Design Art in Europe Ebook English Printed Art Book

52 Must-read Religious Art and Gothic Art Books for Easter

Easter is not just about such traditional games and customs as egg decoration; egg hunting and rolling…, it is the celebration that has profound religious connection. For millions of Christians, the meaning of Easter lies in the honor and recognition of Jesus Christ’s resurrection from the dead, and His glorious promises of eternal life for all who believe in Him.

With Easter around the corner, it is a good idea to have some basket stuffers in mind, and nothing could make a better gift than a book. Here are some of our recommendations for “must-read” books on Religious Art and Gothic Art, which would make a great addition for your Easter’s basket.

An excerpt from Icons

Christ Pantocrator, 12th century. Mosaic. Museo Nazionale del Bargello , Florence

“Among graphic arts, the icon took first place in Russian life. Apart from the early Novgorod wall painting, we may call the icon the chief expression of religious thought and popular feeling as early as the fourteenth century. Later, when wall-painting became subordinate to icon-painting, the icon became the one and only symbol of faith. In view of its special significance and its derivation from the Byzantine model, the Russian icon takes its place as the continuation of a high artistic tradition and in its development offers an unparalleled example of artistic craftsmanship. In its decorative qualities, the uniqueness of its composition, the severity of its types, the ideal character and spiritual depth of the religious thought it conveyed, the icon is to be compared with the early period of religious art in Western Europe.

Besides this, the historian of art must bear in mind that the easel-picture arose over time from the icon. They must make every effort to comprehend the art form of the Russian icon in order to understand the historical traditions lying behind easel painting and influencing it to this day. Finally, from the early eighteenth century to the present day, the Russian icon has long existed as a handicraft or kustár’ product.”

Introduction to Christ in Art

The Good Shepherd (detail), c. 450. Mosaic. Galla Placidia Mausoleum , Ravenna

“A history of the “Origins of Christianity” touches the obscure and subterranean period where it extends from the first beginnings of this religion to the time when its existence becomes a public, well-known fact, evident to the eyes of all men. Such a history consists of four books. The first, which I now present to the public, addresses the event that served as the starting-point of the new religion. The second will address the apostles and their immediate disciples, or rather the revolutions in religious thought of the first two Christian generations. I will close it about the year 100, when the last friends of Jesus have died, and all the books of the ‘New Testament have become fixed very nearly in the form in which we read them. The third book will set forth the condition of Christianity under the Antonines, slowly developing, and maintaining an almost permanent war against the empire, which having now reached the highest degree of administrative perfection and being governed by philosophers, combats in the infant sect of a secret and theocratic society that obstinately denies and incessantly undermines it. This book will comprise the whole of the second century.

Hugo Van der Goes,The Crucifixion, c. 1470. Oil on panel. Museo Correr , Venice

Finally, the fourth book will show the decisive progress of Christianity from the time of the Syrian emperors. In it, the construction of the Antonines will be seen falling to pieces, the decay of the ancient civilization becoming definitive, Christianity profiting by its ruin, Syria conquering the whole West, and Jesus, in company with the gods and divinized sages of Asia, taking possession of a society for which philosophy and a purely civil government no longer suffice. It is then that the religious ideas of the races grouped about the Mediterranean are radically modified. Oriental religions everywhere assume the ascendancy, Christianity, having become a mighty church, entirely forgets its millennial dreams, breaks its last connection with Judaism, and passes entirely into the Greek and Latin world. The literary struggles and labours of the third century, already public matters, will be set forth only in general terms.”

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