Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Journey into Christian Art

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

A Journey into Christian Art

Article excerpt

A Journey into Christian Art. By Helen de Borchgrave. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press. 2000. Pp. 223; 103 color, 2 black-and-white illustrations. $35.00.)

Although it looks and feels something like a textbook, this beautifully illustrated volume has neither academic ambitions nor utility. It is more like a personal retelling of a once-standard form of art history survey, illustrating many of the same masterpieces but discussing them only in relation to their biblical content and ability to make that content come alive for the devout. In the author's own words, the goal of her book is to "stir the imagination, encourage contemplation, and stimulate wonder and praise to `Ponder anew all the Almighty can do.'" To this end she has selected more than 100 works of art made between the fourth and the twentieth centuries, most of which are reproduced to accompany her own reflections on Christian values and the contemporary saeculum. The style is homiletic and the tone is elegiac, saturated with nostalgia for a quiet and tranquil time before the contemporary one, which is considered ruined by money, materialism, noise, and speed. …

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