The Art of Faith: A Guide to Understanding Christian Images

The Art of Faith: A Guide to Understanding Christian Images

by Judith Couchman


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Have you stood in front of a painting and thought, What does this mean?

The Art of Faith answers this question again and again, with insight, wit, and verve, providing a thorough reference to Christian art through the centuries. Practical and easy to read, this book unfolds the ancient world of Christian images for believers who want to enrich their faith, college students studying art history, and travelers to religious sites. With this book in hand, you can visit museums, churches, or other sacred places and identify a work of art’s style and meaning. Or even explore the signs and symbols of your local church.

Whatever your relationship to art or Christianity, open this book when you’re curious about a painting, sculpture, symbol, or other sacred work. It will answer your questions about The Art of Faith.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781557256300
Publisher: Paraclete Press
Publication date: 07/01/2012
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 16 Years

About the Author

Judith Couchman is the author of over 40 books and compilations, and an international speaker. She also teaches art history online for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Her other books include The Mystery of the Cross, The Shadow of His Hand, and Designing a Woman’s Life.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

Part 1 The Art of Faith

1 Defining Christian Art 5

2 The Missing Years 9

3 The Eras of Christian Art 12

4 The Art of Survival 19

Part 2 The Holy Trinity

5 God the Father 25

6 Jesus Christ 28

7 Stories About Jesus 36

8 Miracles of Jesus 53

9 The Christian Cross 61

10 The Holy Spirit 70

Part 3 The Unseen World

11 Choirs of Angels 75

12 The Afterlife 80

Part 4 Faithful Followers

13 Old Testament People 87

14 New Testament People 101

15 Church Doctors and Saints 110

Part 5 Sacred Symbols

16 Flowers and Plants 123

17 Fruit, Nuts, and Grains 133

18 Trees and Bushes 140

19 Real and Mythic Animals 146

20 Birds, Fish, and Insects 157

21 The Human Body 168

22 Sacred Colors 173

23 Geometric Shapes 179

24 Monogram Letters 184

25 Popular Numbers 187

Part 6 Liturgical Art

26 The Church Year 195

27 Holy Days 201

28 The Seven Sacraments 204

29 Rituals and Customs 207

30 Objects and Vessels 216

31 Liturgical Books 228

32 Vestments and Adornments 235

Questions to Ask About Sacred Art 253

Looking for Images Online 254

Galleries, Libraries, and Museums 255

Glossary of Art Terms 257

Author Notes 269

Index of Art 273

Index of Names and Terms 285

About the Author 306

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