We all want to truly understand and experience great art - especially religious art.
But you need more than just learning to value brush strokes, figure placement, and perspective. As a professor and author, Dr. Jem Sullivan is uniquely qualified to present both the artistic elements of great art and the spiritual dimension inherent in Christian art.
How Art Speaks to Us
Religious art is rooted in the theological foundation of the Church - the Incarnation. A painting, sculpture, or fresco can speak the language of the Incarnation: the Word of God. Professor Sullivan will teach you how to see that language spoken in art, how to hear it, and how to receive it into your heart. She introduces concrete tools for rediscovering the profound messages of religious art that are too often overlooked.
Professor Sullivan discusses:
• The anthropological basis for Christian art - the human person was created for beauty • Our need to rediscover Christian art in our contemporary visual culture • Pope St. John Paul II's Letter to Artists, in which he describes the "call to the vocation of beauty"
Using Lectio Divina to Appreciate Art
Professor Sullivan also adapts the timeless method of Christian meditation on Scripture to studying the "visual gospel" of religious art. The four steps of Lectio Divina - reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation - are ideally suited to rediscovering the spiritual depth of religious art.
1. Begin by "reading" the artwork as you would the pages of a sacred text 2. Move into the "why" of the piece and meditate on the source for the scene depicted - the Bible passage, event in a saint's life, or spiritual reality presented 3. Turn toward God in prayer, with the reflections gathered from the first two steps 4. Rest in the mysteries of faith contemplated in the artwork, and allow God to speak to your heart and mind.
By adapting the method of Lectio Divina to the study of art, we can learn to see with the "eyes of faith" and hear with the "ears of the heart." Our appreciation of beauty should always direct us back to God.
Develop a True Appreciation for Great Art
You are invited to join Professor Sullivan on a journey through the 2,000-year history of the Church, during which you will learn not only how to appreciate art, but how genuine masterpieces can serve as a spiritual aid. With Professor Sullivan, you can finally realize your goal of developing a true appreciation for the religious masterworks of Western Civilization.
About the Author
Professor Jem Sullivan holds a Doctorate from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. For over a decade, she has taught graduate level courses as adjunct professor in the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C. She has taught a course on Christian Art and catechesis and evangelization and writes for a variety of publications on art, including the Catholic liturgical resource Magnificat. She is the author of two books from Our Sunday Visitor, A Study Guide to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, and The Beauty of Faith: Christian Art and the Gospel. She has served as a volunteer docent at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. leading visitors through the museum's masterpiece collections.
Item No: C205 (Grouped)
Publisher: Saint Benedict Press, LLC
Publication Date: 2012
Binding: DVD, CD, MP4 Video Download, MP3 Audio Download and Group Study Edition
8 Lectures (Approx. 30 min. each)
1. Christian Art: A Visual Gospel for a Visual Culture Christian art is a beautiful manifestation of faith and, for this reason, it plays a crucial and powerful role in the Church’s work of evangelization.
2. The Theological Foundations of Christian Art The value of Christian art flows from the theology of the Incarnation: the belief that by becoming man, God was made visible and knowable within the material world.
3. The Anthropological Foundations of Christian Art Because human beings are physical and spiritual, visible and material beauty can lead men and women towards the invisible realities of God.
4. The Witness of Christian Art in History
The history of Christian art, standing as a “memory of beauty,” testifies today to the flourishing life of the Faith through the centuries.
5. Rediscovering Christian Art in Our Contemporary Visual Culture
Christian art holds great educational and spiritual importance—particularly for the evangelization of the youth—in today’s “visual age.”
6. John Paul II's Letter to Artists
A Call to the Vocation of Beauty In his Letter to Artists, Pope John Paul II emphasizes art’s capacity to serve as a dialogue of beauty between the faith of the Church and the secular world.
7. Lectio Divina: A Christian Guide to Art Appreciation
We gain a deeper understanding of Christian art as a “visual gospel” when a work of sacred or religious art is approached through the four steps of lectio divina.
8. General Principles for Discerning Beauty and Interpreting Christian Art
Viewing a work of Christian art with the “eyes of faith” leads to a deep and authentic appreciation of its beauty and understanding of its place within the living tradition of the Church.