Book Series Arts and the Sacred, vol. 11

Theology, Modernity, and the Visual Arts

Ben Quash, Chloë Reddaway (eds)

  • Pages: 330 p.
  • Size:225 x 300 mm
  • Illustrations:78 col.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60712-2
  • Hardback
  • Available

From Pablo Picasso to Kent Monkman and Paul Cézanne to Cornelia Parker, how does modern and contemporary visual art coexist with, counter, illuminate, and serve Christianity?


The Revd Professor Ben Quash is Professor of Christianity and the Arts; Director, Centre for Arts and the Sacred, King's College London.

Dr Chloë Reddaway is Research Fellow, Arts and the Sacred at King's College London and McDonald Agape Theology and the Arts Research Associate, Duke University, NC.


Not only do the visual arts raise and explore some of the deepest questions of life and death, meaning and purpose, they are also the medium through which the 21st century is increasingly communicating.  In the digital domain, where billions now interrelate, the visual arts have become a uniquely privileged form of exchange, particularly on a growing number of social media platforms.  We are witnessing what in retrospect may look like a revolution in the use of visual imagery. Visual ‘language’ is becoming a new lingua franca that crosses geographical, historical, and cultural boundaries.

Christian theology must ask how this new lingua franca can be ‘spoken’ with maximum nuance and integrity, as well as how (to quote Rowan Williams) it can be ‘interrupted and transfigured by revelation’.

Theology, Modernity, and the Visual Arts brings together a group of theologians, biblical scholars, art historians, and curators to consider what questions about Christ and modernity might be posed by the visual arts, and what truths about Christ and modernity they might ask us to face.  Its authors explore modern and contemporary artists from Pablo Picasso to Kent Monkman and Paul Cézanne to Cornelia Parker, addressing questions of theory, practice, and interpretation.  Their contributions are orientated by an enquiring and critical focus on how modern and contemporary visual art coexists with, counters, illuminates, and serves Christianity.


Art with Christianity

Thinking with Christianity: A Grammar of Doubt and Belief in Contemporary Art (Jonathan Anderson)

The Right Eyes: Curating a Theology of Modernist Painting (Daniel A. Siedell)
Making Pain Incarnate: An Iconophilic Interpretation of Pablo Picasso's Guernica (Christina Carnes Ananias)
Secularization as Realization? (Johann H. Claussen)

Art instead of Christianity 

Missionary Position: Kent Monkman & Christianity (Matthew J. Milliner)
Monochromes and Monotheisms: An Apophatic Dialogue with Ad Reinhardt (Aaron Rosen)
Lines of the Sacred: Toward a Heterology of Drawing (Jeremy Biles)

Squinting at the Invisible: Spiritual Seeing and the Art of Michael Simpson (Jennifer Sliwka)
Inheriting the Mantle: Modern and Contemporary Art as the Inheritor of the Prophetic and Apocalyptic Tradition (Casey A. Strine) 

Art about Christianity 

How About...? R.G. Collingwood, T.J. Clark, and the Conditions of a Haveable World (Ben Quash)
Scandalous Particularity: Visual Depictions of Jesus in Modern Art (Rebekah Eklund)
Optical Allusions? Exploring the Ambiguity of Biblical Texts in Modern and Contemporary Art (Christine E. Joynes)
A Search for Symbols and Images Adequate to Our Predicament (Neil MacGregor)
Strange Flesh: The Body of the Risen Jesus in the Art of Edward Knippers (W. David O. Taylor)

Art for Christianity

Showing People Jesus: Sight and the Visual Arts at Canterbury (Felicity Harley-McGowan)
Vision and Mission: Making Art for a Word in Danger (Frances Spalding)
Re-Visting Creation (Chloë Reddaway)