This book, and the exhibition it accompanies, express the confidence that modern secular audiences can engage with the masterpieces of Christian art at an emotional as well as a purely aesthetic or historical level. Their aim is to help the viewer understand these pictures by focusing attention on the purpose for which they were made, and exploring why they might have meant to their original viewers.
How to convey the divine through human representation has always been an artistic paradox. For medieval artists, Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Messiah, was a subject overflowing with symbolism and passion. In this companion book to a recent exhibition, Seeing Salvation: The Image at Christ, at the National Gallery in London, selected pieces are examined for the evolving approaches medieval artists took with this subject. Finaldi (Discovering the Italian Baroque), a curator at the National Gallery, and contributing authors of equal authority pull together not only a catalog but an exploration of spiritual meaning conveyed by the pieces. Ranging from very early Christian symbols to 20th-century paintings, concepts are conveyed in a conversational text, accompanied by wonderful color illustrations. This book stands independently beside Jaroslav Pelikan s The Illustrated Jesus Through the Centuries (LJ 12/97), which focuses more on theological than artistic development. Highly recommended for most collections. Karen Ellis, Nicholson Memorial Lib. Syst., Garland, TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.