Artists and their Art of the Bible Gathering Class, March 16-April 13

Event Date: 
Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - 10:15am - Sunday, March 13, 2011 - 1:00pm

Great art has dreadful manners.  The hushed reverence of the gallery can fool you into believing masterpieces are polite things … but actually they are thugs…. The greatest paintings rearrange your sense of reality… The power of art is the power of unsettling surprise.(The  Power of Art, Simon Schama ).

I believe that the words above say something true about great art. There have been times when I have been walking through art galleries and a work of art has reached out and grabbed me, and insisted that I stand and look at it. The first time that ever happened to me was almost 40 years ago at the Art Institute of Chicago. They had a Monet exhibition; and when I came to one of the larger “Water Lilies” paintings, I was almost physically forced to stop walking and stare at it.

Though I am very, very much an amateur as an art critic and appreciator, art has become increasingly important to me as a source of inspiration. Some of the art that I have appreciated most is art on Biblical themes. The Chagall Museum in Nice, France, has (among many other works) twelve of Chagall’s large paintings on themes found in Genesis and Exodus. They are filled with Biblical, historical and autobiographical symbolism.

There will be one Gathering class during this Lenten season, and it is called “Artists and their Art of the Bible.” Many artists have used Biblical images and themes in their paintings, and those images, in turn, may aid in interpreting the Biblical text. The different ways that various artists treat Abraham’s Sacrifice of Isaac, for example, might help us think about that story in new ways. Below are three different treatments of that theme – one by Rembrandt, one by Caravaggio, and the modern sculpture by George Segal. Each of these works deals with the story in a slightly different way.

In our class this Lent, we will look at projected images of various art works and talk about what we see in them and if they illuminate in any special way the Biblical text upon which they are based. Of course, we will be seeing projected electronic images, not the real things. The effect can never by the same. However, I hope we will learn something about both art and the Bible in our times together.

As a very special treat, one of our sessions will be led by Jennifer Tishler, and it will be on Russian Icons. There will be an Icon exhibit at the Chazen Museum this spring. Jennifer’s presentation could serve as an excellent introduction to seeing the exhibit at the Chazen.

Signing up for the class after worship on Sunday, or by calling the church office, will help us have a sense of how much food to order for the 5:30 soup supper.





em>                    Rembrandt

Posted on March 8, 2011 at 12:56 pm in Featured Content.

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