Enjoy the holiday season by reading a good art book
The holiday season is the best time for family reunions, for giving gifts, and for showing attachment and love for our loved ones. Offering an art book that recalls the history of Christianity and reading it on a cold snowy night is the ideal gift and the height of pleasure. Here are some ideas:
Christ in Art
Since the dawn of Christianity, artists have been fascinated and stirred by the figure of Christ. His likeness appears in frescoes on the walls of catacombs that date from Roman times; he is featured in the stained glass windows of Gothic churches, and he can be found in various forms in today’s pop culture. The Biblical Saviour is not a static, immaterial deity: Christ’s mortal birth, unusual life and dramatic death make him an accessible subject for religious and secular artists alike. Whether they show the spirituality of God Incarnate or the earthly characteristics of a flesh-and-blood man, artistic depictions of Christ are the most controversial, moving or inspirational examples of religious art.
This richly illustrated book explores the various ways that Christ is rendered in art, from Cimabue’s Nativity scenes and Fra Angelico’s paintings of the Crucifixion to the provocative portraits of Salvador Dalí and Andres Serrano. Author Joseph Lewis French guides the reader through the most iconic representations of Christ in art – tender or graphic, classical or bizarre, these images of the Messiah reveal the diverse roles of the Son of God in the social milieus and personal lives of the artists.
The Virgin in Art
The artworld is filled with the presence of the Virgin Mary – a fundamental symbol of motherhood, who has been radiating youthfulness, tenderness, and compassion for two thousand years. Finding in her an inexhaustible source of inspiration, artists have consistently used the image of the Virgin Mary to reflect our own sufferings and joys. The author Kyra Belán leads us on a comprehensive tour analysing the profound meaning to be found in the images of the Virgin – from personal interpretations to spiritual reflections on a universal level. These works of art present a fascinating visual commentary on the evolution of Western art as well as a striking record of the rise in status of women in society. With more than 200 illustrations, two thousand years of human history are expressed in a single image; that of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of Christ.
Icon painting has reached its zenith in Ukraine between the 11th and 18th centuries. This art is appealing because of its great openness to other influences – the obedience to the rules of Orthodox Christianity in its early stages, the borrowing from Roman heritage or later to the Western breakthroughs – combined with a never compromised assertion of a distinctly Slavic soul and identity.
This book presents a handpicked and representative selection of works from the 11th century to the late Baroque period.
Those who have had the chance to hold a medieval manuscript in their hands cannot fail to have been impressed by the feeling of being in touch with a long-passed epoch. Back when a book was a true handicraft and every copy the result of a laborious process, the object was more a work of art than a volatile commercial product. The Mega Square Illuminated Manuscripts puts the reader in touch with amazing medieval illustrations and unique adornments, which document the imaginative power of their creators.
Art of the Eternal
Since the first funerary statues were placed in the first sepulchres, the ideas of death and the afterlife have always held a prominent place at the heart of the art world.
An unlimited source of inspiration where artists can search for the expression of the infinite, death remains the object of numerous rich illustrations, as various as they are mysterious. The ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, the forever sleeping statues on medieval tombs, and the Romantic and Symbolist movements of the 19th century are all evidence of the incessant interest that fuels the creation of artworks featuring themes of death and what lies beyond it.
In this work, Victoria Charles analyses how, through the centuries, art has become the reflection of these interrogations linked to mankind’s fate and the hereafter.
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