The Image of Christ

Gabriele Finaldi, Author, Neil MacGregor, Introduction by, Susan Avery-Quash, Contribution by
Gabriele Finaldi, Author, Neil MacGregor, Introduction by, Susan Avery-Quash, Contribution by Yale University Press $24.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-300-08365-1
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-85709-292-9
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Published to accompany an exhibition at the National Gallery in London, this gorgeous exploration of the image of Christ throughout two millennia deserves high praise for its determination to discuss nearly 200 works of art in their religious context. Recognizing that the Gallery's increasingly diverse (or secular) museumgoers often lack an understanding of Christian theology, Finaldi and other contributors seek to ""put some of the Gallery's religious pictures in a new context, not--as in other exhibitions--beside works by the same artist or from the same period, but in the company of other works of art which have explored the same kinds of questions across the centuries."" What should Jesus look like? How might Christ's human and divine nature both be represented artistically in the same work? Could his crucifixion be depicted simultaneously as the death of one man and the opportunity for eternal life for others? Although it features the earliest etched symbols of the Christian Church (fish, cross-anchor and 20th-century paintings by William Holman Hunt and Salvador Dal , the collection is strongest for Renaissance-era works. Some unusual pieces capture the imagination, including two gilded 15th-century cradles for Christ child dolls. The collection is culled most heavily from Western sources but also features some remarkable Eastern Orthodox iconography. This is a beautifully designed, theologically sensitive journey through Christian art. (May)
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