Crucifixions and Resurrections of the Image
Reflections on Art and Modernity
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George Pattison offers theological reflections on a range of works of art and films which have attracted wide discussion such as Anthony Gormley's 'Angel of the North'. Pattison takes seriously the modernist movement in art and constitutes an argument for its continuing relevance.
The book centres on artists active in the mid- to late twentieth century, whose work reflects both the cultural and social crises of that era - Beuys, Rothko, Kiefer, Natkin and film directors such as Bergman and Tarkovksy.
The studies are contextualized in broader reflections on modern art that suggest 'the death of God' as a motif that links theology and modern art itself. This enables a Christian theological engagement with works that often appear alien or even hostile to Christian faith.
George Pattison takes the secular seriously in its own right, arguing that both secular art and theological reflection are often different but related responses to a common existential situation.
'Readers of George Pattison's earlier work on art and theology will quickly recognize his ability to carry profound learning lightly, his delight in great works of art and his clarity as a writer. The modest claims of this book emphatically avoiding any attempt to offer a "theology of art" lie at the heart of its value. With Pattison we stand before some of the greatest of contemporary art and film, and some less well known, such as the work of Vilhelm Hammershoj in a living conversation that has its origins, to some extent, in the enormous growth if public interest in exhibitions of the great masters. The terms of the conversation are profoundly Christian and always open-minded, for, as Pattison reminds us, neither art nor religion are simply about themselves. This is an accessible book which deserves to be widely read for its love of art, and its love of theology.’ -- David Jasper, University of Glasgow