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Signs and Symbols in Christian Art: With Illustrations from Paintings of the Renaissance (Galaxy Books) Paperback – 30 Jun 1977


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: OUP USA; New Ed edition (30 Jun. 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195014324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195014327
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 1.6 x 13.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 172,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

The late George Ferguson was Rector of Saint Philip's In the Hills Episcopal Parish in Tucson, Arizona.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Ape. In Christian art, the figure of the ape has been used to symbolize sin, malice, cunning, and lust. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Mr. W. P. Simpson on 11 Jan. 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book quite uninteresting.Various symbols are traced back to their biblical roots, as are assorted biblical stories.None of these, however, are linked to illustrations which would help the reader to interpret pictures.
All illustrations are in black and white ( in 2003 !!) and all the paintings are in American galleries, with scant reference to anything to be found in Europe.
Probably suited to a devout fundamentalist readership, but the art is definitely in second place.Buy the second hand copy from Amazon and save the difference to buy the Oxford companion to Christian Art and see the difference!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. Clayton on 2 May 2006
Format: Paperback
This book was very drab, with an aged feel to the pages, and not what I expected at all. Most of the paintings are located in the States. Not very good for research as all paintings are in black and white. Its very much aimed at theology rather than art history.
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By Sulpicius Servus on 17 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Brief but valuable background informatiom when trying to read symbo;s in churches.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
A Staple Reference for Any Library 25 Oct. 1999
By Sorrel Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you've ever wondered about the seemingly strange choices of modern writers or film directors (such as the repeated reference to chocolate "mouse" in the film "Rosemary's Baby"), "Signs and Symbols in Christain Art" will deepen your enjoyment of contemporary artforms as well as antique paintings found in museums.
Built around the symbol-system of Roman Catholic Church art, Ferguson's book illustrates the ways in which medieval and rennaissance artists tried to visualize scripture and cannon for their illiterate audiences.
Compact and consise, "Signs and Symbols" serves as a perfect bring-along for your next museum trip - but since the reader can look up various saints and doctrines (such as the Seven Deadly Sins and the Seven Virtues) as well as visual symbols, this book is more than just an art reference.
First-year art students are typically required to use this book in Survey of Western Art 101, but it deserves a place on the bookshelf of any home which aspires to cultural literacy.
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
one of the best 1 April 2004
By C.J.A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ferguson's book is simply one of the best of its kind. The numerous entries (far more than most) are divided into reasonable sections (animals, plants, saints, etc.). Black and white images in the outer margins assist identification. A thorough explanation of each entry's various meanings within a Christian context is provided (with few oversights). The book is a convenient, portable size and weight. Though I have found books which contain Christian symbols & meanings Ferguson overlooked, I have not yet found a text that is better as a whole, and I collect books of art symbolism.
Every art historian--student, amateur, or professional--should own a copy of this book. Art lovers will find it a substantial aid to appreciation. It's a great book to take on museum and cathedral tours, e.g. if you intend to travel around Europe. Christians may also find it a helpful meditation aid.
The only real drawback is that Ferguson is limited to Western Christian art. For help with Eastern Christian art symbolism, I recommend starting with Linette Martin's "Sacred Doorways: A Beginner's Guide to Icons." It's less like a reference guide and contains few images, but it's a great start.
I look forward to finding more gems like these.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Beginning reference for lives of saints and iconography 27 Oct. 2005
By Brian J. Fegely - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although not encyclopaedic, this book, first published in 1954, is indispensable to the art history, religious art, iconographic, and religious lives student. The essays are of significant depth without excessive volume, and the illustrations, although of a limited period (Medieval through Renaissance), are pungent enough from which to learn. Two limitation I will remark:

There are no representations from Eastern- or Byzantine- iconography.

The illustrations are all black and white.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Great reference guide 28 Jun. 2007
By Belinda A. Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I use this book frequently, especially when studying art books of Christian art as well as during a recent Bible study of the Book of Exodus. This was an invaluable guide to the symbolism used in art and the various meanings. For example, when studying the symbolic meaning of the priests robes of the Old Testament, the meaning of the pomegranate for the OT and NT is significant. In the OT, the pomegranate stood for the 613 Mosaic laws (the pomegranate was thought to contain 613 seeds). In the NT, the pomegranate is the symbol for the resurrection of Christ. The Hebrews believed following the law led them to God. For the Christian, belief in Jesus' death and resurrection leads to God! Enjoy this read.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
A must for art history students 7 Feb. 2005
By C. K. Lyons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are an art history student, this book is an absolute must. While there are many books that contradict one another when it comes to symbolism, this book is one that commonly agrees with others I have read or consulted.

For as inexpensive as this book is, you cannot afford NOT to get this book!
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