Beginning with the Roman catacomb paintings c. 300 and ending with the Tree of Life film by Terrence Malick in 2011, and including artists from Michelangelo to Johnny Cash, this book offers an overview of Christian art. Each chapter begins with an explanation or overview of the work itself, followed by a brief biography of the artist. As someone who had no prior exposure to many of the pieces featured in this book, I found the book educational and interesting. Knowing the story Messiaen’s musical composition Quartet for the End of Time, for example, added so much depth. He composed for the four instruments he did because those were all that were available to him in the concentration camp where he wrote and first performed the score, and that context adds insight to a piece that might sound strange or boring otherwise. As the author suggested, I found it helpful to look up the musical works especially online and listen to at least a portion as I read the chapter. I’ve also added a few books to my reading list.
Each chapter stands alone and the book is best suited for “small bites” rather than lengthy reading sessions. Glaspey does a good job of summarizing the work and life of each artist in 4-5 pages. He doesn’t spare us the artists’ struggles, and a recurring theme is one of broken, sinful people expressing their faith journey through their art. The book is printed on nice thick paper and includes many color illustrations.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Moody) in exchange for my review.