How can we see art from a Christian worldview? In 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know, Terry Glaspey shares the fascinating stories behind great works of art, literature, music, and film.
Connect to the Christian Faith
What intrigued me the most was the scope of this book. It begins with paintings in the Roman Catacombs, c. 300, and ends with Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life film from 2011. Glaspey says that the book is not meant to be comprehensive, but these works meet certain standards, are generally well-known, and are considered great.
Glaspey has fantastic insight to share about each work of art and the artists behind them, showing how they connect to the Christian faith. The featured churches and cathedrals, such as the Chartres Cathedral (1134) have an overt connection, and they are a testament to how architecture can give glory to God. Literature also has much to say about the Lord, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov (1879) teaches about grace and forgiveness.
Understand and Interpret
Of course, classic paintings are included – and this book opened my eyes to see them in new and fresh ways. I had never seen William Holman Hunt’s painting The Light of the World (1854) and I was haunted by the forbidding mood but encouraged by Hunt’s faith. Of the many paintings depicting Christ’s passion, Emil Nolde’s The Life of Christ (1912) stood out to me for being bright and bold – what Glaspey describes as “violent color.” Glaspey has a way with words to help us grasp, interpret, and understand the art for ourselves.
The sections on film and music are fun as they intersect with popular culture. Classical works and popular songs are included, such as Symphony no. 5, The Reformation, by Felix Mendelssohn (1830), and A Love Supreme by John Coltrane (1964). The book concludes with Terrence Malick’s 2011 film The Tree of Life, a fitting testimony where Glaspey shows how the art and the artist are intimately connected.
Show Us More of God
This book can be used in your daily devotions, in a small group to study together, or simply for your own enjoyment. Full-color photos are a necessity for this type of book, and this book delivers them well. As a curator, Glaspey provides us with wonderful works of art across the ages. As a Christian, he shows us more of God.
I received a media copy of 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know and this is my honest review.