The emotional separation of boys from their mothers in early childhood enables them to connect with their fathers and their fathers’ world. But this separation also produces a melancholic reaction of sadness and sense of loss. Certain religious sensibilities develop out of this melancholic reaction, including a sense of honour, a sense of hope, and a sense of humour. Realizing that they cannot return to their original maternal environment, men, whether knowingly or not, embark on a lifelong search for a sense of being at home in the world.
At Home in the World focuses on works of art as a means to explore the formation and continuing expression of men’s melancholy selves and their religious sensibilities. These explorations include such topics as male viewers’ mixed feelings toward the maternal figure, physical settings that offer alternatives to the maternal environment, and the maternal resonances of the world of nature. By presenting images of the natural world as the locus of peace and contentment, At Home in the World especially reflects on the religious sensibility of hope.