Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Shop Suki Ad Campaign Pieces Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Amazon Fire TV Shop now Halloween Pets Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Voyage Listen in Prime Learn more Shop now
The Art of Faith: A Guide to Understanding Christian Images and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Art of Faith, The has been added to your Basket
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Like New | Details
Sold by Wordery
Condition: Used: Like New
Comment: This fine as new copy should be with you within 7-8 working days via Royal Mail.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Art of Faith, The Paperback – 1 Jul 2012

1 customer review

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
"Please retry"
£8.11 £9.00
£13.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Save £20 on with the aqua Classic card. Get an initial credit line of £250-£1,200 and build your credit rating. Representative 32.9% APR (variable). Subject to term and conditions. Learn more.

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press (1 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557256306
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557256300
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.9 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 389,217 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


'Couchman offers a readable and user-friendly guide to deciphering and interpreting Christian visual art. She is rightly keen to meet the urgent need for a new depth of theological vision in the church and beyond.' --Jeremy Begbie, Duke Divinity School; Author of Voicing Creation's Praise: Towards a Theology of the Arts

About the Author

Judith Couchman is an author and speaker with a keen interest in Christian art and its history. She s published or compiled more than forty faith-based books, and teaches art history part-time at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Her books include The Mystery of the Cross, The Shadow of His Hand, and Designing a Woman s Life.

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See the customer review
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book of reference and a very good read. I commend the title to anyone wishing to increase their knowledge or discover the influence of Christian Art and Architecture on the culture in which it is to be found.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A Great Guide to Christian Symbolism and Meaning in Art 6 July 2012
By Julie D. - Published on
Format: Paperback
Judith Couchman wished she understood Christian images in art. She wound up with an art history degree, teaching classes at a local college. Later, wishing there was a simple, concise reference that could be carried into a museum, Couchman wrote The Art of Faith. We're lucky she is such a "can-do" person because this book is a real treasure for anyone who ever looked at the painting of Jesus or a saint and said, "Why is all that other stuff in there?"

Couchman uses a few introductory chapters acquainting readers with what constitutes Christian art, when it first began appearing consistently, and the types of art that appears in different eras, and how it was accepted or rejected over the ages. The rest of the book is divided by topic into chapters that has brief descriptions of Christian symbolism, names a painting with an example, and then deciphers a bit of it for us. The subjects seem all-inclusive and widely varied from the expected (stories about Jesus, the cross) to things we might not consider otherwise (plants, animals, shapes, letters). Many of the entries have illustrations so that when you encounter something unfamiliar, such as a "sakkos" for example, you know what you're looking at.

This excerpt gives an example of the unexpected that can be encountered in a painting which seems fairly straight forward.

"WALNUT Saint Augustine compared the walnut to Christ's redemptive work. He likened the shell to the wood of the cross; the bitter substance surrounding the nut to Christ's flesh; and the meat to sweet, divine revelation. In the Jewish tradition, the walnut symbolized Scripture. EXAMPLE: Fruit Still-Life with Squirrel and Goldfinch, painting by Abraham Mignon, seventeenth century. State Museum, Kassel, Germany. For this busy still life, Mignon imagined a squirrel releasing itself from a chain, wearing a bell collar, and munching on a walnut. In the Middle Ages a squirrel signified evil and this particular collar represented a fool or a sinner. Consequently, the former sinner chose Christ's life-giving nature."

I had no idea. This prompted me to look for the actual painting which was one in which I'd have missed all the significance if not curious enough to read in this book about what a walnut could possibly represent. Honestly, it was one I'd never have given a second glance because a still life of fruit isn't my thing, even with a cute squirrel.

The one thing missing is a "how to read a painting" section. It would have been great to have a few different sorts of paintings with call outs showing the different visual symbolic devices and how they interact with each other, opening the artist's meaning even further. This would have been valuable in helping novices learn to look for more than just one symbol, as in the above description where our attention is drawn to the positioning of the squirrel and goldfinch, with meaning given. However, this is a small thing which doesn't interfere with the book's usefulness overall.

There are also several excellent cross-reference indexes, a list of internet resources for viewing art, a glossary of art terms, and much more. Altogether this is a really fine reference book which will be useful to anyone interested in looking beneath the surface to find what the artist was really trying to tell us.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Truly a Guide, a Muse, a Gift 9 Oct. 2012
By myjoetogo - Published on
Format: Paperback
I adore this book. I keep it close at hand on my desk, not because it tells me what to think. Rather, it unlocks how to see and experience art for myself, art that is all around: in the eaves of a neighbor's home, sculpture on the city streets, beneath the roof of my own church and others, on chamber walls and in city halls, among museum treasures, in film and books. Succinctly, vividly, creatively, Judith Couchman introduces the language of art and how it articulates not only faith but faith's handmaiden, doubt (for without doubt, there is no need for faith). In six parts and 32 chapters, she unlocks symbolism in art about Heaven and the divine. She introduces common images, both seen (trees, birds, fruits and grains) and unseen (angels, demons, the Heavenly realm)--and how artists used these images to get us to look closer, listen harder, experience more fully what God and Life would have us know. Judith Couchman is an expert guide, and her gift is in her knowledge that beckons you sit before art for an experience of your own. This book, for me, is much like that 1907 exhibit by Paul Cézanne (who had died just months earlier) that called to a young art secretary and apprentice, Rainer Maria Rilke, to visit his works in a Paris gallery every day the Autumn of 1907 until, as Rilke described (in what is now the book *Letters to Cézanne*), "suddenly one has the right eyes ... one sees." The experience of taking in art, experiencing it can forever change you and unlock your destiny. It did so for young Rilke, who was the assistant to the great sculptor Auguste Rodin, but upon *seeing* Cézanne's art, the color and textures, compositions and scale, discovered the language to see life, and opened his poet's heart. Art has always unlocked such riches: Rembrandt Harmensz van Rijn's painting the "Prodigal Son" gave Henri Nouwen new understanding of forgiveness and God's love for us (and resulted in the illuminating book *The Return of the Prodigal*). Hieronymus Bosch's triptych "The Garden of Earthly Delights" became the seven-year study of Terry Tempest Williams, awakening her to live more fully each day (and produced the book *Leap*). Art can feed you and make you and undo you and recreate you, just like grace, just like God. Norman Maclean puts this so beautifully, quoting his father, a Presbyterian minister, in *A River Runs Through It*: "To him, all good things--trout as well as eternal salvation--come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy." No, art does not come easy, nor does life, nor has the grace of God; and this beautiful book from Judith Couchman helps us understand that more deeply, more completely, more fully. *The Art of Faith* is a gift, a key to discoveries about yourself and what you believe, and a muse calling you to higher living, greater things.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Resource 21 Sept. 2012
By Modelk66 - Published on
Format: Paperback
DISCLAIMER: I received an Advance Reader's Copy of the book The Art of Faith by Judith Couchman from Paraclete Press in exchange for a publicized review of the book.

This book is a tremendous resource, especially for those of us who are not familiar with all of the various artistic elements used in certain Christian traditions. It is most likely a good academic resource, as it goes into lengthy detail in explaining the various subtleties about design, colors, style, material, symbolism, and the relevance to the Christian faith. It bridges the gap between artwork or symbols we have seen to understanding why and when they are used. Couchman has done a nice job of making the explanations and definitions concise. Though the book is just over 300 pages in paperback, it could easily have been much lengthier. The book does not show pictures of the various artworks, but uses minimal drawings instead. This is a book that would be good on a pastor's or priest's or bishop's shelf as a resource to teach their congregation about why things are done as they are. It would also be very useful for any minister or congregation that would like to become more liturgical and follow the lectionary schedules. Art is sometimes overlooked in various congregations, and I think this book could help diminish that.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A soulful, artful, easy to use resource 28 Aug. 2012
By Mona Pineda - Published on
Format: Paperback
Judith Couchman's newest book is a beautiful resource for anyone interested in Christian art. It is thorough in its research and attention to detail...yet there is none of the tedium and weight that often accompany scholarly books. It is bright, delightful and compelling. I keep my copy in a convenient place in my library...ever at the ready to answer a question about symbols, history or color in Christian art.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know