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The Image of Christ in Modern Art


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Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The break; The explosion of modernism; Distinctive individual visions; Catholic elegance and joy; Post-war recovery of confidence; Searching for new ways; A vibrant contemporary scene; Index.

About the Author

Richard Harries was Bishop of Oxford from 1987-2006. On his retirement he was made a Life Peer and as Lord Harries of Pentregarth he continues to be active in the House of Lords. He is an Emeritus Gresham Professor, and a Fellow and an Honorary Professor of Theology at King's College, London. He is an Honorary Doctor of Divinity of the University of London and an Honorary Fellow of Selwyn College, Cambridge and of St Anne's College, Oxford. He is the author of 26 books mainly on the interface of Christian faith and the wider culture, including the arts, and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is the author of The Passion in Christian Art (Ashgate, 2004). His book Art and the Beauty of God, (Continuum 2000) was chosen as a book of the year by the late Anthony Burgess in The Observer. His most recent books include The Re-enchantment of Morality (SPCK), was which was shortlisted for the 2011 Michael Ramsey prize for theological writing.


'The art of our age is by no means as secular as some think, and in this fascinating and finely documented study, Richard Harries traces some of the ways in which the image of Christ has tunnelled its way back into the central territory of the imagination in the work of some surprising modern artists. A fascinating and fresh survey.' Rowan Williams, Magdalene College, Cambridge, UK 'This is a finely written, important and original take on the art of the last hundred years. Richard Harries faces the difficulty that modern artists have had in representing Christ in a largely secular and indifferent world. He calls up as witnesses artists such as Rouault, David Jones, Elizabeth Frink, John Piper and many others who make his point that Christ still lives on, and dynamically, in modern art. His argument is bold and completely convincing.' Melvyn Bragg, writer and broadcaster 'Until fairly recently, modern art used to be discussed primarily in terms of its formal challenge and its rupturing of traditional habits and expectation. Today, we bring to this art a wider embrace, owing to the many perspectives from which it is now viewed. It is especially interesting to see what happens when a theological lens is held over modern painting and sculpture, as happens here. Richard Harries is an authoritative voice on the relationship between theology and the arts, and he is a brisk, compelling guide to Christian iconography in art. He focuses our attention on a rich seam of imagery, sourced by many things, not least a recurrent desire to return to the old in order to make it new.' Frances Spalding, Newcastle University, UK 'This book is informative, engaging and challenging... [Harries] provides encouragement to view modern art in a positive way to consider what emotions the artists are conveying... I am left with two tasks: to obtain a copy of Richard Harries' book, The Passion of Art, and to recommend The Image of Christ in Modern Art wholeheartedly.' The Retired Clergy Newsletter 'Harries has produced an important study...' Church of England Newspaper '...Harries demonstrates the vitality of modern art, and in the plurality of images of Jesus which he provides, the reader can glimpse an aspect of the divine Christ whose beauty transcends all human conceptualisation.' Art and Christianity 'This book is a very good introduction to the whole question of what is known as Christology (the study of the nature of Jesus Christ) as expressed in modern art. The book is clearly written and easy to read...' Cassone '... this book will provide an invaluable introduction. More than anything else, the book offers hope in the contemporary world. Norman Adams, Albert Herbert, and John Reilly have all died in the past decade, but the likes of Mark Cazalet, Peter Howson, Nicholas Mynheer, and Shirazeh Houshiary offer an adventure in seeing art and faith in our day.' Church Times '...a sympathetic and illuminating tour through an area of modern art which is far larger, more varied and unexpected than I could have anticipated.' The Tablet 'I am glad to have this book in my own collection... It is indeed good to have such firm evidence that the image of Christ is so very much live and well in the galleries of modern art.' Regent's Reviews '...ambitious and well-illustrated...' Times Literary Supplement '[Harries] consideration of so many artists is a delight.' Theology '...Harries demonstrates his overall case admirably. He has provided a fresh and convincing argument that Christ has continued to live, and powerfully, in modern art.' Transpositions

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