- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: BBC Books; 1st thus edition (23 Mar. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0563551119
- ISBN-13: 978-0563551119
- Package Dimensions: 24.6 x 19.2 x 2.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 472,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Seeing Salvation Hardcover – 23 Mar 2000
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Were you, like thousands of others, outraged by Mark Wallinger's vulnerably life-sized Millennium sculpture Ecce Homo which stood in London's Trafalgar Square because it didn't "look like Jesus"? In fact no one knows what Jesus looked like because there was no portraiture in the Jewish tradition. But images of Jesus in art galleries offer centuries of interpretations. Each artist--from late Roman, to Michelangelo, Murillo, Stanley Spencer and the rest across two millennia of Christian history--meditates in, and mediates for, his own times. "The Word made paint" is how Neil MacGregor, Director of The National Gallery, and Erika Langmuir, Open University Professor of Art History, describe it.
Lavishly illustrated, Seeing Salvation was written in connection with a National Gallery Exhibition of the same name (26 February--7 May 2000), a nationwide lecture programme and four BBC TV programmes, presented by Neil MacGregor during April 2000. Yet it stands on its own and requires no knowledge of any of those.
The book is unpretentious and never patronises. It unravels the Christian background, scripture and belief with unobtrusive elegance as it goes along. You don't have to be a believer to respond either. Rembrandt's exquisite Nunc Dimittis, for example, shows old Simeon lovingly holding the infant Christ. He and the prophetess Anna could be any overjoyed grandparents at the end of their lives. The baby is their promise for the future and the sense is universal.
It's wryly witty too. "The learned ingenious devout Rubens", for example, "made a virtue of necessity" when commissioned to produce an altarpiece for Antwerp Cathedral. The sponsors, The Guild of Arquebusiers, wanted their patron saint, St Christopher, featured--but that smacked too dangerously of legend for the Council of Trent. Result: the magnificent Deposition of Christ in which the body is being tenderly and collaboratively lowered from the cross. "Christopher" means "bearer of Christ". --Susan Elkin
Top Customer Reviews
Through an analysis of various paintings, mostly from the early and late Renaissance, MacGregor reveals, quite convincingly, the symbolism, politics and sometimes subversive qualities of Christian art. After reading this well written and well conceived book, you will feel that you have learned something new, and that alone makes this book a good place to start.
The authors are Neil Macgregor, then director of the National Gallery, before moving on to the British Museum, and Erika Langmuir, also an eminent scholar.
The authors consider how Christ has been represented in art from the Rome of the Catacombs to Mark Wallinger's Ecce Homo in 2008. How should an artist represent someone of whom there are no contemporary images or descriptions? At least as important is that the artist had also to do more than project a physical "likeness" but also provide a spiritually potent and theologically meaningful image. As an artist he wants to craft a thing of beauty, too.
The text is relatively short, but there are scores of beautiful illustrations of the sculptures and pictures. Some of the most wonderful art ever reproduced is here and reproduced well - the Isenheim Altarpiece, Titian's Deposition, Stanley Spencer's Resurrection, the Turin Shroud. It is arranged thematically - Christ as an infant, Christ during his earthly ministry, on the Cross, after the Resurrection and finally at the Second Coming. The "meaning", the theology of different pieces is really well-explained. It is apparent that Christian art conveys complex, even elusive ideas. I assume the author(s) write(s) as a Christian. This is not a criticism. In fact, I think it explains much of their understanding as most of the artists, known or unknown, placed themselves in that tradition. For me, it reinvigorated thoughts and beliefs dormant, if not lost.
and the people of faith who have honoured Him throughout
The book explains key artistic themes that illustrate
the past, present and future of the church.
This book is an invaluable source of inspiration for
seekers of truth and all interested in the history of
To have a copy is well worth the search!