ReVisioning: Critical Methods of Seeing Christianity in the History of Art

By James Romaine and Linda Stratford (editors)

Essays exploring how the methods of art history have been used to address the Christian content of artistic works, from iconography to postwar modernism.

ISBN: 9780718893361


ReVisioning examines the application of art-historical methods of investigation to the study of Christianity and art. As art history has become more interdisciplinary, discussions of religion in art and visual culture more generally have emerged. The contents of this book represents the first critical examination of scholarly methodologies applied to the study of Christian subjects, themes, and contexts in art. ReVisioning contains original work from a range of scholars, each of whom addresses the question “How have particular methods of art history been applied, and to what effect?” with regard to a well-known work of art or body of work. The study moves from the third century to the present, providing extensive treatment and analysis of the history of Christianity and art.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 376
Illustrations b&w and colour

Trade Information LPOD

About the Author

James Romaine is Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of the Department of Art History at Nyack College, Nyack, NY. He is also the President of the Association of Scholars of Christianity in the History of Art (ASCHA). His recent scholarship includes Art as Spiritual Perception: A Festschrift for Dr. E. John Walford (2012), and contributing to the exhibition catalogue, Tim Rollins and K.O.S.: A History (2009).

Linda Stratford is Associate Professor at Asbury University, Wilmore, KY. She is a board member of ASCHA and has produced a number of publications and presentations that draw upon cross-disciplinary training in art history and aesthetics, including a manuscript in progress, “Artists into Frenchmen”, a study of art and identity in modern France.


List of Color Plates
List of Illustrations

Expanding the Discourse on Christianity in the History of Art
     James Romaine
Methodological Issues from the Fields of Art History, Visual Culture, and Theology
     Linda Stratford

Part I: Methodological Issues of Iconography in Early Christian and Medieval Art
Iconographic Structure: Recognizing the Resurrected Jesus on the Vatican Jonah Sarcophagus
     Llinda Møskeland Fuchs
Icon as Theology: The Byzantine Virgin of Predestination
     Matthew J. Milliner
Marginalia or Eschatological Iconography?: Providence and Plenitude in the Imagery of Abundance at Orvieto Cathedral
     Rachel Hostetter Smith
Iconography of Sign: A Semiotic Reading of the Arma Christi
     Heather Madar
Hybridizing Iconography: The Miraculous Mass of St. Gregory Featherwork from the Colegio de San José de los Naturales in Mexico City
     Elena Fitzpatrick Sifford

Part II: Methodological Issues of Reading Theology in Renaissance and Baroque Art
Reading Hermeneutic Space: Pictorial and Spiritual Transformation in the Brancacci Chapel
     Chloë Reddaway
Reading Theological Place: Joachim Patinir’s Saint Jerome in the Desert as Devotional Pilgrimage
     Matthew Sweet Vanderpoel
Reading Theological Context: A Marian Interpretation of Michelangelo’s Roman Pietà
     Elizabeth Lev
Reading Visual Rhetoric: Strategies of Piety and Propaganda in Lucas Cranach the Elder’s Passional Christi und Antichristi
     Bobbi Dykema
Reading Devotion: Counter-Reformation Iconography and Meaning in Gregorio Fernández’s Cristo yacente of El Pardo
     Ilenia Colón Mendoza

Part III: Methodological Issues of Historical-Religious Context in Nineteenth-, Twentieth-, and Twenty-first Century Art
Historicism and Scenes of “The Passion” in Nineteenth-Century French Romantic Painting
     Joyce C. Polistena
Consuming Christ: Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Biblical Paintings and Nineteenth-Century American Commerce
     Kristin A. Schwain
Figuring Redemption: Christianity and Modernity in Max Beckmann’s Resurrections
     Amy K. Hamlin
Embodiment as Sacrament: Francis Bacon’s Postwar Horror
     Rina Arya
Media, Mimesis, and Sacrifice: Paul Pfeiffer’s Contemporary Christological Lens
     Isabelle Loring Wallace

Subject Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Romaine and Stratford’s collection raises the question of how methodologies of art history – formulated within the secular context of modern academe – have failed and succeeded at understanding the Christian content of works of art. The question becomes urgent when the artworks under examination are also from the modern period and thus suffer from the doubling of denial of Christian content, but the collection is also enriched by material from earlier periods of art.
Natasha Seaman, Rhode Island College, Providence, RI

ReVisioning sustains intellectual sophistication while it revises, reconsiders, and reimagines the rich threads in the fabric of critical Christianity. These thoughtful essays venture courageously into the space within academe too often dismissed, suppressed, or maligned – that is to say, the space of the sacred. ReVisioning is a courageous and long-overdue stake in the ground.
Ronald R. Bernier, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston, MA