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5.0 out of 5 stars
Modern art and the death of a culture
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on 20 November 2013
Only part way through this so not a review so much as a recommendation. This is a seriously thought provoking insight into arts relationship with contemporary thought. Rookmaaker certainly deserves a much higher profile.
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on 16 August 2009
It is an almost unique work for a practising Christian to read, particularly if involved in the arts. There is a paucity of profound study of the subject of art and culture from an evangelical perspective, and this book stimulates thought and provides material for building a theology and philosophy of art for the practising christian. It answers many questions I had as a practitioner and a Christian, and provides intellectual tools for answering those questions unaddressed in the book. It is invaluable for Christians interested in art and culture, and for those with pastoral resposibility for them.

Rookmaaker attempts to describe how culture and art have moved particularly since the Enlightenment, and describes in detail the kind of dilemmas Christians might find themselves in by wishing to be good artists but rejecting the world view of much art. This could help practitioners by helping them formulate the questions they need to ask of themselves and their art so they can do good art consistent with their faith. I think it is important that those Christians who want their faith to be Real and Godly and Scriptural, and who want to do real art in a world hostile to their relationship with God, to ask these questions and formulate rigourous and profound thought to substantiate their art. It is a work and subject in my experience little addressed, with either faith or art being substantially compromised in process. More thought and writing on this subject would be welcome.
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on 10 December 2007
As a book that was first published in 1970 you would think that it is somewhat dated. But this is not the case. Rookmaker takes us on a roller coaster ride through the history of art in the West and as such is it also a history of philosopohy, ideas, science, religion, culture, politics and just about anything else you care to name.

His knowledge of his subject is widespread. His writing lucid and his analysis superb. There are many memorable quotes. If you want food for your mind and if you want to understand where we are today and how we got here (and what can be done about it) then this book would be hard to beat. Highly recommended.

"Scientism is still the way man hopes to make a better world. It is, and will be, a technocratic world, a technocracy, which includes man, too, is at its heart. Man is no longer a human being who buys things: no, he is a consumer. He has become a little wheel in the big machine, a unit in social statistics, an electronic oscillation in the computer". p48 (in the section on the Enlightenment and Existentialism).
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on 19 June 2007
As a former student of Dr Rookmaaker I was and am still grateful for the opportunity and am still in awe of his depth of scholarship,his wide ranging interests,and his humanity in general and indeed his own bravery during the Second World War when his own beloved Holand was overrun and occupied by the Nazi's.Indeed it was during his time imprisoned by the Nazi's that Rookmaaker through reading the bible became convinced of the reality of God and how God interacts with the world and the people in it.it was partly among other things his engineering background which gave him the impulse to deal intricately with many of the aspects of Art History in such a clear way.He was a man who had a rich laughter buried not so far below the surface and had a great love for Jazz and blues and spirituals in especial the African American connection.He had a very large personal collection of jazz records and published a book on the above subjectThe six volumes of the complete works include books written originally in Dutch and published in English for the first time.These six volumes are a worthy addition to any library and will especially help assist and guide the Christian and/or christian artist about his or her vocation or calling and the place of the arts in general in the christian life.They are however instructive for anyone who knows the arts and wishes to expand the length and breadth of any analysis of the arts he or she might care to make.One should read these volumes in my view with the six volumes of Dr Francis Schaeffer's complete works who was Dr Rookmaaker's friend and colleague and who together formed L'abri Fellowship which continues the work first started by them to give honest answers to honest questions that arise on the quest for living a life of meaning and purpose and a reason why that is possible in a world like this. He writes clearly and distinctively and is an antidote to much of the muddled thinking that passes for art appreciation and art history in these days.
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