The Passion in Art The Passion in Art
Ashgate Studies in Theology, Imagination and the Arts

Richard Harries
ISBN 9780754650119 (0754650111)
Ashgate, 2004

Category: Arts & Media
Reviewed by: Sue Groom

The Rt Revd Richard Harries, Bishop of Oxford, has written several books about religious art. This one concentrates on representations of the crucifixion of Christ from its earliest depiction in the fifth century through to the twentieth century. It shows how each age has its own insights into the meaning of Christ's passion as demonstrated in its art.

As well as depictions of the crucifixion, the book includes some of the resurrection because the crucifixion of Christ cannot be considered apart from his resurrection. It is only in the light of the resurrection that the crucifixion can be understood. The book includes over thirty full-page colour plates with a couple of pages of comment on each one exploring the historical and theological background which led to such differing depictions.

Some of the images are very well-known: scenes from the Catacombs of Domitilla, Cimabue's Crucifix, Giotto's Noli me Tangere, Caravaggio's Supper at Emmaus, Rembrandt's Christ on the Cross and Chagall's White Crucifixion, others less so: various mosaics, stonework and book covers. There are also several contemporary paintings by Stanley Spencer, Graham Sutherland, Helen Meyer and Nicholas Mynheer. The book is currently being serialised in the Church Times (Lent 2005).

This is an excellent aid to reflection on the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

Sue Groom, March 2005

The Revd Sue Groom is the Director of Deanery Licensed Ministry for the Kensington Episcopal Area of London. Before this she was Vicar of St Matthew's, Yiewsley and also served as the Reader Training Officer for the Willesden Episcopal Area. She is the author of Linguistic Analysis of Biblical Hebrew (Paternoster Press, 2003).


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