Essay / Art

The Baptism of Christ: 3. The Jordan River

The landscape in which the baptism of Christ is ususally portrayed is a rocky wilderness, with craggy mountain peaks in the background and cliff-like stony river banks on either side of the Jordan. While Jesus stands in the middle of the river itself, John is

Essay / Art

The Baptism of Christ: 2. John the Baptist

Pictures of the baptism of Christ are visually busy, filled with characters and details. Since it’s a baptism, it makes sense to start with a close look at John the Baptist. John is an important New Testament character, and Christian artists have assigned him his

Essay / Art

The Baptism of Christ: 1. The Earliest Images

The baptism of Christ is among the earliest New Testament scenes selected for depiction in Christian art. Günter Ristow mentions this in Die Taufe Christi (Recklinghausen: Verlag Aurel Bongers, 1965, 12). It is found in the catacombs, on early christian sarcophagi, and in the very

Essay / Art

Albrecht Dürer, Northern Renaissance Man

Albrecht Dürer (born 1471, died on this day, April 6, in 1528) was widely hailed as the greatest artist of his generation in the northern Renaissance. All kinds of voluptuous shenanigans were going on in the wonderful world of the southern Renaissance, but if you

Essay / Art

Top Five Christian Comic Books

I sometimes promote myself as the “world’s greatest systematic theologian cartoonist,” because it’s a pretty safe boast. If I ever meet another professional theologian who’s also a published cartoonist, I’ll have to adjust my bragging to something like “one of the two greatest.” But while

Essay / Art

The Space of a Sonnet

Nuns fret not at their Convent’s narrow room; And Hermits are contented with their Cells; And Students with their pensive Citadels: Maids at the Wheel, the Weaver at his Loom, Sit blithe and happy; Bees that soar for bloom, High as the highest Peak of

Essay / Art

Edward Knippers, Theologizing in Paint

The folks over at Theology Forum are hosting a blog exhibition this week on the work of Edward Knippers, an important American painter. On Monday they posted several pictures along with a statement by the artist. Not all artists are able to write about their

Essay / Art

The Communion of the Apostles

Joos van Wassenhove (a.k.a. Justus of Ghent) was a Renaissance Netherlandish painter who spent the greater part of his career in Italy. He became a member of the Antwerp Guild in 1460, but by 1464 had moved to Ghent. Sometime after 1468 he went to

Essay / Art

Beautiful Isle of Somewhere

Do you know the hymn, “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere?” Written by Jes­sie B. Pounds in 1897, it was apparently a very popular hymn for funeral services in the early twentieth century. It was sung at President William McKinley’s funeral, for instance. Google it along with

Essay / Art

Two Lost Dogs in Berkeley

Thursday afternoon in Berkeley there was a small concert by Terry Taylor and Mike Roe, who are the two members of the Lost Dogs who live in northern California. Terry Taylor has been recording music since the 70s, Mike Roe since the 80s, and the

Essay / Art

Curtain of Flowers and Gaps: Jim Hodges at SFMOMA

Modern art often seems as if it’s just going out of its way to bug you. It was with some trepidation that I visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art last weekend. I knew I’d get to see some of my favorite pieces: Things