On Art Articles from Christian Century http://www.christiancentury.org/section/54/feed en Five Books of Moses, by Carole P. Kunstadt http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/five-books-moses-old-testament-series-carole-p-kunstadt <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>The viewer engages anew with the Hebrew Bible through Carole P. Kunstadt’s manuscript blocks. “The text and illustrations remain hidden with no access to the actual contents of the book,” notes Kunstadt. “The simple physical presence of these varying shapes emphasizes their literal, historical, and spiritual impact. The imprint on our consciousness, not the actual details of the stories, is therefore emphasized.” Using a two-volume set of the Old Testament that once belonged to her grandfather, Kunstadt stripped off bindings, cut, arranged, and then reconstructed text blocks to create her Old Testament series.</p> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 28594 at http://www.christiancentury.org Sermon on the Mount, by Fra Angelico (1387–1455) http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/sermon-mount-fra-angelico-1387-1455 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>While in residence at San Marco’s, a Dominican monastery in Florence, Fra Angelico and his assistants were commissioned to decorate the meeting rooms and cells of the lay brothers, novices, and clergy. Many of the more than 40 frescoes depicted scenes of the crucifixion. One room that is slightly larger than the monks’ cells and in close proximity to the magnificent library (commissioned and funded by Cosimo de’ Medici) contains this fresco of the Sermon on the Mount. The room presumably functioned as a classroom. In Matthew 5, Jesus is presented as the “new Moses” whose teaching was intended not to destroy the law, but to fulfill it.</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Heidi J. Hornik 28473 at http://www.christiancentury.org Saintly Ruin, Corazón 1, Fear No Evil, Broken Sinner, and Wipe My Fragility Clean (clockwise from top left), by Marisol McKee http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/clockwise-top-left-saintly-ruin-corazon-1-fear-no-evil-broken-sinner-and-wipe-my- <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>A mixture of playfulness, whimsy, profound faith, and, well, creepiness hums through the works of Marisol McKee. A daughter of Mexican emigrants, her work is informed by the Mexican Catholic observance of <em>Día de los Muertos</em> (All Souls Day). The painting titled <em>Fear No Evil</em> is part of her Road to Salvation series. “I have to push through whatever difficult times come my way,” she writes, “even if I do not know what the outcome is going to be. I guess some people call this faith.”</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 29 Aug 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 28007 at http://www.christiancentury.org Delivering the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter (Sistine Chapel), by Pietro Perugino (1448–1523) http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/delivering-keys-kingdom-st-peter-sistine-chapel-pietro-perugino-1448-1523 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>This painting was commissioned by Pope Sixtus IV for his private chapel. According to Roman Catholic tradition, Matthew 16:18–19 is the scriptural basis for apostolic succession and establishes Peter—here being handed the papal keys by Christ—as the first pope. The decoration of the Sistine Chapel, most famous for Michelangelo’s ceiling (1508–12), began in the 1480s with the walls of the chapel. The plan, established by the pope in conjunction with his advisers, was to depict significant scenes from the life of Christ on the north wall and the life of Moses on the south wall. Many of the most popular Renaissance painters throughout Italy were brought to Rome to paint in the new style, using linear perspective, harmonious color, balanced compositions, and lifelike figures.</p> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 11 Aug 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Heidi J. Hornik 27876 at http://www.christiancentury.org Mask of Fear, by Sergio Gomez http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/mask-fear-sergio-gomez <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>Sergio Gomez’s works are explorations of personhood and identity. “The human form is the most important element in my work,” writes Gomez, “and it exists as an anonymous representation of the self.” Even anonymous, these representations are precise and concrete in their use of symbolic language. Each work strips off another layer of humanity to reveal aspects of formation, identity, and psyche or spirit. Through this unmasking we see something emerge in the murky dark: a veined pale light in the chest, a long, meandering umbilical-like red line, and the tiny red dots of the eyes—evidence of spark, some life beneath the mask.</p> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 28 Jul 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 27759 at http://www.christiancentury.org Multiplication of the Loaves and Fishes (from Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry ), by Paul, Herman, and Johan Limbourg (fl. 1399–1416) http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/multiplication-loaves-and-fishes-les-tres-riches-heures-du-duc-de-berry-paul-herm <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>This manuscript illumination depicting Jesus’ multiplication of the loaves and fishes (Matt. 14:13–21 and parallels) is from one of the most famous books of hours, <em>Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry</em>, by the Limbourg brothers. A book of hours is a set of prayers and meditations correlated with the canonical hours. This one consists of 206 pages (approximately 9 x 6 inches) with 66 large miniatures and 65 smaller illustrations. The Limbourg brothers were trained in the northern part of Europe but probably visited Italy and were influenced by the artists of Lombardy and Tuscany. The French court (King Philip the Bold’s brother was the Duke of Berry) enjoyed these custom-made, lavishly illustrated, portable prayer books.</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Heidi J. Hornik 27630 at http://www.christiancentury.org Seeds of Harmony (series), by Jeff Kennel http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/seeds-harmony-series-jeff-kennel <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>Many of Jeff Kennel’s photographic works are based on world travels, but a recent series of photos records a gathering of world cultures on a small plot of land in New Columbia, a large housing project in Portland, Oregon. Seeds of Harmony, a community garden, is part of Village Gardens, whose tagline is “uniting cultures through dirt.” Kennel comments, “There are at least 14 nationalities represented, and you are as likely to hear Oromo or Chuj spoken in the garden as you are English.” Kennel is a fellow gardener in the community. “My intention is to introduce viewers to these amazing people and to encourage them to hear their stories and share their own.” For more about the gardening community, see <a href="http://vimeo.com/46690152">Kennel’s short video</a>.</p> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 27503 at http://www.christiancentury.org Sacrifice of Isaac (Florence baptistery), by Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378–1455) http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/sacrifice-isaac-florence-baptistery-lorenzo-ghiberti-1378-1455 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>In 1401, under the patronage of the Arte di Calimala, a competition to decorate the east doors of the baptistery in Florence was announced. Of the seven Tuscan sculptors who entered the competition, the young Lorenzo Ghiberti, barely 20 years of age, emerged the victor. The subject of the doors was the story of the near sacrifice of Isaac (Genesis 22), and the theme was that of divine intervention. In this climactic scene, Abraham is poised to strike a fatal blow with his knife. Isaac is depicted as what some have called “the first truly Renaissance nude”—perfectly proportioned, energetic yet graceful. An angel’s gesture stops the sacrifice, and the viewer notices a ram caught in the thickets in the upper left-hand register. This text has long challenged communities of faith. Some Jewish interpretations, such as the <em>Targum Pseudo-Jonathan</em>, posited that Isaac was 37 years old, and the near sacrifice was an act of faith of not one but two consenting adults, both Isaac and Abraham. Christian interpreters from the patristic period (if not earlier; cf. Hebrews 11:17) had interpreted the story typologically. Melito of Sardis, for example, wrote: “For as a ram he [Christ] was bound . . . And he carried the wood upon his shoulders. And he was led up to be slain like Isaac by his Father. But Christ suffered, whereas Isaac did not suffer” (cf. Frag. 9–11).</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Heidi J. Hornik 27370 at http://www.christiancentury.org Upper Room (Judas/Jesus/John), by Alfonse Borysewicz http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/upper-room-judasjesusjohn-alfonse-borysewicz <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>In his triptych <em>Upper Room</em>, Brooklyn artist Alfonse Borysewicz depicts “the drama of Holy Thursday with the focus on Judas (pointing and distant on the viewers’ left), Jesus (girded with a towel that will call all to service), and John not distant but close to the Lord on the right. All three paintings use a honey&shy;comb motif that points to community as our Christian identity.” Borysewicz draws from the visual languages of iconography and contemporary art. “Sacred spaces have to inspire again,” said Boryse&shy;wicz in a recent interview. “So many churches rest on what they’ve been given. There’s a younger generation out there who want to authentically give their voice to it.”</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 30 May 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 27245 at http://www.christiancentury.org Pentecost (Scrovegni Chapel, Padua), by Giotto di Bondone (1266–1336) http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/pentecost-scrovegni-chapel-padua-giotto-di-bondone-1266-1336 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>Giotto di Bondone painted a fresco cycle of the life of Christ at the Scrovegni Chapel (also called the Arena Chapel) in Padua, Italy, in 1304–06. <em>Pentecost</em> is the final scene of the cycle. The arrangement of the disciples around a table is similar to the painting of the Last Supper directly opposite on the south wall. Such balance is typical of Giotto. The artist placed the figures inside an architectural space, which creates the illusion that the event occurred within a small church. This is probably the first visual depiction of Pentecost in a prominent location. The Holy Spirit is represented through rays of light emanating from outside the room and above the painted ceiling. It is striking that this series on Christ’s life concludes not with the ascension but with Pentecost, the birth of the church. The image visually anticipates C. K. Barrett’s aphorism, “In Luke’s thought, the end of the story of Jesus is the church.”</p> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 22 May 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Heidi J. Hornik 27109 at http://www.christiancentury.org Selection from Drawings in Church, Vol. 3, by John Hendrix http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/selection-drawings-church-vol-3-john-hendrix <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>John Hendrix’s work has appeared in a variety of publications, from children’s books to <em>Rolling Stone</em> and the <em>New Yorker</em>. He has also produced a series of “drawing in church” sketches, created during worship services at his Presbyterian church. “As the preacher climbs behind the pulpit, I open my sketchbook and uncap my pen. I respond to what I hear and coax an image out of the language and concepts of faith, ritual, and liturgy.” Hendrix is a professor of design and illustration at Washington University in St. Louis.</p> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 26981 at http://www.christiancentury.org Scenes from the Lives of Sts. Stephen and Lawrence (1448–1449), by Fra Angelico http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/scenes-lives-sts-stephen-and-lawrence-1448-1449-fra-angelico <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>An early Renaissance fresco by Fra Angelico (1395–1455) in the chapel of Pope Nicholas V at the Vatican commemorates St. Lawrence (m. 258) and St. Stephen. Scenes from the lives of the two martyrs extend across three walls of the chapel. The scenes were selected to show the saints’ parallel activities: being ordained, preaching, and helping the poor. They were both arrested, persecuted, and martyred. The arrest of Stephen can be seen on the left-hand side of the lunette, and the stoning is visible on the right. The wall of Jerusalem separates the scenes. The Sanhedrin brings Stephen to his doom before the men with the rocks who will stone him. As the stones are hurled at his back, Stephen kneels in prayers of petition, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59; cf. Luke 23:46), and forgiveness, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (7:60; cf. Luke 23:34).</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 25 Apr 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Heidi J. Hornik 26840 at http://www.christiancentury.org Lenten Departure, Jumping Off Point 1, and Jumping Off Point 2, by Mary Cahill Farella http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/lenten-departure-jumping-point-1-and-jumping-point-2-mary-cahill-farella <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>Mary Cahill Farella, a painter based in Framingham, Massachusetts, was known for her landscape paintings of the cliffs and pastures of Ireland. Then she began exploring the colorations of eucalyptus bark. This led her to a more intense focus on abstraction and color marked by free-form brushstrokes—what she calls “dancing with the color in your hands.”</p> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 08 Apr 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 26667 at http://www.christiancentury.org “Entry into Jerusalem” from the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/entry-jerusalem-sarcophagus-junius-bassus-st-peter-s-basilica-vatican <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>The triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, a popular theme in early Christian art, is depicted on the sarcophagus of Junius Bassus, a Roman prefect who became a Christian convert shortly before his death (ca. 359). The scene, used to depict Christ’s authority on earth, appears on the sarcophagus directly beneath an image of Christ enthroned with his feet on the head of Caelus, a primal god of the heavens in Roman myth—an image showing that Christ is also ruler of heaven. There are striking similarities between depictions of Christ’s triumphal entry and those showing the triumphal arrival or <em>adventus</em> of an emperor in a newly conquered province. But there are significant differences as well. In the <em>adventus</em> iconography, the emperor is typically depicted in full military apparel, riding a royal steed, and leading a military procession in a victory parade. Christ, on the other hand, sits astride a humble donkey, amid simple followers, with no royal or military entourage accompanying him. Christ is a different kind of king.</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 05:00:00 +0000 Heidi J. Hornik 26506 at http://www.christiancentury.org Diptych / A Spiritual House (digital laminate to black aluminum) by Deborah Risa Mrantz http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/diptych-spiritual-house-digital-laminate-black-aluminumby-deborah-risa-mrantz <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>Deborah Risa Mrantz, founder of Guildworks iAbraham Ministries, works with socially conscious artists at the converging planes of Abrahamic traditions. Influenced by urban design, street-art sensibilities, and modern typography, she develops scripture-based art using repurposed materials. Mrantz’s works speak of “a world being repaired and made beautiful again.”</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 07 Mar 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 26401 at http://www.christiancentury.org Annunciation, by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/annunciation-leonardo-da-vinci-1452-1519 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>The importance of the annunciation to medieval and Renaissance Florentines is best reflected in the fact that until 1750 the beginning of the new year corresponded directly to the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25. Leonardo’s <em>Annunciation</em>, probably commissioned for the monastery of Monte Oliveto outside Florence, depicts the initial moment of encounter between Gabriel and Mary, when Gabriel announces to Mary: “The Lord is with you!” (in the Vulgate: <em>Dominus tecum</em>). Mary is seated behind a lectern, which is best understood as an altar, underscoring her priestly role. On the lectern rests a book whose fluttering pages (presumably stirred by the rush of Gabriel’s arrival) are stilled by Mary’s fingers. The 13th-century <em>Meditations on the Life of Christ</em> (written by a Franciscan monk in Tuscany) suggests that at the moment Gabriel appeared, Mary may have been reading Isaiah 7:14, a passage traditionally understood as a prophecy of the virginal birth. The lily that Gabriel holds is a symbol of Mary’s purity.</p> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 26 Feb 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Mikeal C. Parsons 26246 at http://www.christiancentury.org Faithmarks, Sweet T Studios in conjunction with St. Marks Church, Chattanooga http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/faithmarks-sweet-t-studios-conjunction-st-marks-church-chattanooga <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>Tattoos, according to tattoo artist Danny Siviter, represent some of the most permanent statements a person can make. Some people use them to tell stories, some just to decorate their bodies, and some to proclaim what is most important in their lives. For many, what’s important is some aspect of their faith. Curated by Anna Golladay and Carl Greene, the exhibit Faithmarks, an initiative of St. Marks Church in Chattanooga, Tennessee, reflects the stories and spirituality of the city’s Northshore community. Each photograph is accompanied by a personal narrative. Portions of the exhibit are available to travel. More information is at ourfaithmarks.com.</p> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 12 Feb 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 26125 at http://www.christiancentury.org The Transfiguration, by Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio) (1483–1520) http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/transfiguration-raphael-raffaello-sanzio-1483-1520 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>The transfigured Christ is miraculously lifted above Mount Tabor between Moses (on the right) and Elijah (on the left). James, Peter and John (from left to right) react to the blinding light and powerful drama occurring above them. Raphael is often called the great assimilator of the High Renaissance style, and the work exhibits the expected characteristics of balance, proportion and symmetry. The transfiguration appears in the upper half of the large altar painting (13'4" × 9'2") while the story of the possessed boy (which follows the story of the transfiguration in Matthew 17) inhabits the earthly realm. This is the last piece of art that Raphael worked on before his death on Good Friday, April 6, 1520, at age 37. It was brought from his studio in Rome and placed above his bier during the funeral in the Pantheon. The painting was originally commissioned by Cardinal Giulio de’ Medici for the Cathedral of Narbonne, France. He established a competition between Raphael and Sebastiano del Piombo, a Venetian artist, and Raphael may have included the rendering of the possessed boy to outdo Sebastiano.</p> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 24 Jan 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Heidi J. Hornik 26004 at http://www.christiancentury.org Tomorrow, by Rick LaMarre http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/tomorrow-rick-lamarre <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>Artist and illustrator Rick LaMarre imagines what the disciple Peter would do the day or two after denying Jesus. Would he return to fishing, the world he knows? Would he go fishing but find himself unable to focus on the work?&nbsp; “What do you do between the time when you blow up your whole world and the time when God rescues you?” wonders LaMarre. “How is it when faith is the only thing you have, yet you feel you don’t even deserve that?”</p> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 09 Jan 2014 06:00:00 +0000 Lil Copan 25909 at http://www.christiancentury.org Presentation in the Temple, by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (fl. ca. 1311–1348) http://www.christiancentury.org/artsculture/on-art/presentation-temple-ambrogio-lorenzetti-fl-ca-1311-1348 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd field-item-first"> <p>Ambrogio Lorenzetti created a profound visual interpretation of Jesus’ presentation in the temple. The viewer’s eyes (along with the eyes of most of the figures) are drawn to the character of Simeon, an older, bearded man, holding the Christ child in his arms. Mary holds the child’s white blanket, but her attention is directed to the child. Two women behind her look at Simeon, the only figure whose clothing depicts movement. Joseph seems to have just stopped a gesture with his hand. Likewise, the High Priest’s sacrificial act is arrested. Just as Luke combined two separate rituals, the purification and the presentation, into a single event (2:22–40), so Ambrogio telescoped two separate elements in the narrative, Simeon’s song (<em>Nunc Dimittis</em>) and Anna’s prophecy, into a single epiphany. While Anna is holding her prophetic scroll (which begins with the words <em>et haec ipsa hora</em>, “at that moment”), Simeon opens his mouth to speak. For Ambrogio, his patrons and his audience, this event was not simply a historical moment preserved in time. The viewer is invited to proclaim with Simeon: “Mine eyes have seen thy salvation!”</p> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 30 Dec 2013 06:00:00 +0000 Mikeal C. Parsons 25815 at http://www.christiancentury.org