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Yale University Press
Painting the Word: Christian Pictures and Their Meanings

Painting the Word: Christian Pictures and Their Meanings

by John Drury
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Christianity is another country, says John Drury, and we need to familiarize ourselves with it in order to understand the universal meaning of its art. In this beautifully written book, Drury, an Anglican priest and theologian, looks at religious paintings through the ages and presents them to us in a fresh way—as works filled with passion, stories, and meaning. They become the poetry of such eternal human concerns as birth, death, sacrifice, love, and moral goodness and failure.
Drury points out the religious meanings in paintings that range from works by Piero della Francesca to those by Velazquez. In each case he views the whole picture—its composition, color, drawing, figures, and even architecture—and shows how it creates a religious image that addresses the spectator as a spiritual human being. Drury also provides a historical context for the works, comparing our perception with the perceptions of, for example, the medieval monarch or the Renaissance merchant who first commissioned the work. He examines how these pictures are able to speak to audiences across time and space, and in the process he allows us to respond to them at a more imaginative, empathetic level.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300092943
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 02/08/2002
Series: National Gallery London Publications
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 6.75(w) x 9.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

John Drury is Dean of Christ Church, Oxford.

Table of Contents

Preface ix
Part I
Worlds and Times
Kind Regards
Part II
The Incarnation of the Word and the Words
The Birth of the Redeemer
The Sacrificial Body
Partakers of the Altar
The Social Body
Part III
Two Worlds/One World: Rubens
Two Worlds/One World: Velazquez
Epilogue 183(5)
Bibliography 188(5)
Index 193(6)
Illustrations 199

What People are Saying About This

Sister Wendy Beckett

A superb book: never has the art of looking been more clearly and pervasively—not explained, but demonstrated.
(— Sister Wendy Beckett)

Eamon Duffy

Painting the Word is a treat in every way, from the marvelous pictures to the beautiful and penetrating writing, with insight and hard looking compressed into every paragraph. I found it constantly fresh and illuminating, forcing me to look again at pictures I thought I knew. The book is a tour de force, gracefully and wittily written.
(— Eamon Duffy, author of Stripping the Altars (Yale University Press))

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