return to religion-online

Painting, Painters

  1. Anselm Kiefer: Art as Atonement by Ronald Goetz

    The Nazi catastrophe is Kiefer’s all-consuming subject: Hitler’s perversion of the German nation and culture is the deep shadow that sometimes merely lurks in the background of Kiefer’s art, but more often darkens the entire foreground. Somber, guilt-ridden, accusing, mocking, enigmatic -- Kiefer’s vision of life, religion, ideology, national identity and history has been charred by the flames of the Holocaust.

  2. Broken Continuities: "Night" and "White Crucifixion" by Karl A. Plank

    The works by two Jewish artist -- the painter Marc Chagall and the novelist Elie Wiesel -- exemplify Karl A. Plank’s contention that, "as the Holocaust chronicles make starkly clear, the Lord whom the church confesses is also its victim.

  3. Finding the Face of Jesus by Ronald Goetz

    It is curious that none of the evangelists, and certainly none of the great theologians of the church, ever met and conversed with Jesus, yet all have had strong, though differing, views of who he was. Christian artists have produced revealing, incisive portraits of a face no artist has ever seen (visions and raptures aside). The portraits of Jesus by some of the great classical artists are discussed.

  4. From Preaching to Painting: Van Gogh’s Religious Zeal by Kathleen Powers Erickson

    In van Gogh, the most mundane acts of human experience conveyed the presence of the divine with far more poignancy than the traditional subjects of cross and cathedral.

  5. On Being Alive to the Arts and Religion: Painting by F. Thomas Trotter

    This essay on art from a religious perspective deals with painting. After a brief account of the history of the church’s ambivalent understanding of art, Trotter proposes a scheme for identifying three types of "religious" art, going beyond subject matter to the effect different paintings have on us. Trotter demonstrates both an appreciation for art in general as well as theological insight on how we can be deeply enriched by our experience of fine art.

  6. On Being Sideswiped by Edvard Munch by F. Thomas Trotter

    This piece provides a glimpse of Totter doing what he has discussed in other essays in this book. The occasion was visiting an exhibition of the work of Edvard Munch. Trotter provides a blending of background information with analysis of Munch’s work which provides a model of how a believer goes about "understanding" the work of a particular artist, opening one’s self to enrichment and surprise.

  7. Spirituality in Abstract Art by Pamela Schaeffer

    It was long assumed that abstract artists were engaging in abstraction for its own sake, but that theory is losing ground as it becomes increasingly evident that many such artists use abstraction to suggest ultimate ideals.

  8. Stalking the Spiritual in the Visual Arts by David Morgan

    John Dillenberger’s Visual Arts and Christianity in America is "an unprecedented contribution" to American art history, states David Morgan, but nevertheless he takes exception to much of the book.

  9. The Prints of Sadao Watanabe by Helen H. Merritt

    East and West draw closer together in this Japanese artist’s seemingly na´ve images. His spirit seems to permit forces beyond himself to flow through his brush and knife, touching fundamental chords that are universal.

  10. The Protestant Struggle with the Image by David Morgan

    It is no wonder that the church and modern art have largely gone separate ways; the two do not see with the same eyes.

  11. What is Religious Art? by F. Thomas Trotter

    This essay offers an indication of how seriously Trotter takes the issue of art and religion. This treatment appeared in 1974, to be followed in his 1978 article, "The Church’s Stake in the Arts." This article contends that art has the effect of raising questions by expanding one’s experience of the world. Trotter challenges the reader to test out his approach by visiting a gallery or museum and asking the questions posed in coming to one’s own "answer" to the question posed.