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Outline ReviewPainting the Word: Christian Pictures and their Meanings by John Drury, an Anglican priest who is dean of Christ Church, Oxford, is a wise, accessible, elegant, and beautiful book about Christian art. Painting the Word presents dazzling color reproductions of masterpieces by Rembrandt, Raphael, Rubens, Velzquez, Piero della Francesca, Czanne, and others, accompanied by a text that does not merely analyze and explain these pictures but also meditates upon them, and even encourages readers to inhabit them. Drury's introduction explains his project: "This is a book about how Christian paintings convey their messages. It takes on whole paintings. It is not content with just picking symbols out of them for identification. Composition, color, contents (including architecture and landscape as well as figures) and the ways in which the paint itself is handled--all are treated as part and parcel of their religious meanings." Drury justifies his critical approach by pointing out that these pictures come from a time when western civilization and Christianity were coterminous. Contemporary spectators are visitors to this foreign world. However, Drury expertly draws us into this world in light, straightforward language. (Many of the chapters in this book began as sermons.) "Worship and looking at pictures require the same kind of attention," Drury explains, "a mixture of curiosity with a relaxed readiness to let things suggest themselves in their own good time." Put this way, paying attention becomes a calling. And as Drury describes this calling, it is hard to imagine a higher one. --Michael Joseph Gross
In this beautifully written book an Anglican priest and theologian looks at religious paintings through the ages and presents them to us in a fresh way. John Drury shows how the Christian images in paintings by artists from Piero della Francesca to Velazquez have a universal quality that fills the works with passion, stories, and meaning, not only for audiences of the past but also for viewers today.
Buy Painting the Word: Christian Pictures and Their Meanings by John Drury from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780300077773 & 0300077777
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