1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A fantastic tool and essential read for Christian artists,
This review is from: Art and Soul: Signposts for Christians in the Arts (Paperback)
I bought this book very quickly after dipping into a copy my sister has and being won over from the little I read then. It has not disappointed me one bit, and has probably been the most inspiring, and most enjoyable book I have read all year (which is saying quite something).
One reason why this is such a good book in itself, apart from anything else about it, is that it is so well written. The authors are witty and charming, but they know the benefits of straight-forward and direct writing. I certainly felt as though I was being talked to by two passionate people, and not talked at by an inanimate lump of 200 pages. I don't think this is a small point, especially as it does, actually, fit in completely with what Brand and Chaplin are arguing for.
Essentially, the book goes through some basics of art history and then tries to boil down what we, as Christian artists, should be interested in, how we should engage with our art, in a way that is both glorifying to God and which captures the serious attention of the world around. (Although it does have a bias towards the visual arts, because they can be more easily represented on the page, the book concerns "art" as meaning all types of creative art, and snippets of plays and poems are sometimes used as examples.) The theology Brand and Chaplin base their approach on is simple (perhaps refreshingly so), and many people will take issue, as I did, with this or that within what they say. But this is not a theological book, one more cut-price-for-Christians instruction manual at the back of the Church by a big name. Rather, they want to get to the matter in hand properly and quickly (and they do), and all credit to them. Thus I am more than happy to give them the benefit of the doubt in where we stray from one another's interpretation of the Bible, and I don't think it is that hard to adapt what they say when we do think differently.
"Art & Soul" is a good book in its message. As I say, it got me very excited, because it says something that I have been longing to here within the Christian world for a long time: a wake-up call to engage with the world around us. Brand and Chaplin are interested in making Christian art a force to be reckoned with once more, no longer where the label inspires insipid and downright substandard artwork from the last generation, but at the cutting edge and leading the charge. Better still, the book is well researched, drawing on a wide range of primary artworks, of various media, and consulting many critics and artists, Christian and non-Christian alike.
What more can this book give? Well, it will give anyone with a slight interest in the arts a very pertinent and useful view into what art is all about. It is reinvigorating, and will make anyone want to go and see the nearest exhibition, latest play, or read the classics again. So there is my advice: BUY & READ!
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