Seeing Salvation: Images of Christ in Art - Neil MacGregor with Erika LangmuirLondon: BBC Worldwide Ltd., 2000, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper very slightly rubbed at the edges. Text complete, clean and tight overall but the last few leaves have a faint wave to the top corners.
Illustrated by way of: Black & White Photographs; Colour Photographs;
From the cover: “Christian belief and practice have shaped Western European art for nearly two thousand years. The subjects of Christ’s life and death have formed the language with which the great artists have addressed universal questions of love, hope and suffering — the language of Rembrandt and Rubens, Leonardo and Michelangelo. Such art not only engages the viewer emotionally and intellectually with the life of Christ, but it is also a meditation on human experience which still determines the way artists deal with these themes for a largely non-Christian audience.
Jesus came from a tradition that allowed no portraits, and there arc no contemporary accounts of his appearance. Thus his image is able to reflect the spiritual world of the artist, the desires of the patron or the needs of the spectator. Yet one of the most astonishing facts of European visual culture is that over the centuries a likeness of Jesus has emerged that we all now recognize. In Seeing Salvation Neil MacGregor explains how this likeness was agreed upon, and considers the varying ways in which artists, at different times and from different cultures, have represented the story of Christ.
Certain works have a special meaning to Christians as well as a wider emotional power. The author shows that some of the greatest reveal also the inner spiritual turmoil of their creators. In Michelangelo’s successive sculptures of the Picta, for example, the artist left a record of the evolution of his faith, and of the anguish and doubt that coloured his last days. In the same way, Rembrandt’s reworking of his etching of the Crucifixion reveals not just his changing understanding of the event but also his darkening view of life.
Neil MacGregor argues that paintings of Christ can still speak powerfully even to non-believers, and that they are as important to us now as a way of understanding our lives as they were when they were made. As Seeing So/radon reveals, even if the great Christian images of the past are admired today mainly for their aesthetic qualities, there is still one image of Jesus that has universal meaning — the newborn baby, a symbol of hope throughout the world.”