Religion in American Art
This section of the Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO) catalogue Topics in American Art is devoted to the topic "Religion in American Art." Articles and essays specific to this topic published in TFAO's Resource Library are listed at the beginning of the section. Clicking on titles takes readers directly to the articles and essays. The date at the end of each title is the date of publication in Resource Library.
Following the listing of Resource Library articles and essays is the heading "TFAO references." Periodically TFAO conducts keyword searches from the Resource Library homepage relating to this topic. The count of pages within Resource Library citing the keywords indicates breadth of coverage in Resource Library for this topic. We recommend that researchers always search within Resource Library for additional material. Please see TFAO's page How to research topics not listed for more information.
After "TFAO references" are links to online resources found outside the TFAO website. Online resources are gathered from TFAO catalogues. Following online resources is information about offline resources including museums, DVDs, and paper-printed books, journals and articles. Our goal is to present complete knowledge relating to this section of Topics in American Art.
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Articles and essays from Resource Library in chronological order
A 11/29/13 search within TFAO's digital library retrieved:
Also from the Web
Museums, art centers and galleries focusing on religious art
Recurring Religious-theme exhibitions
Sister Corita was aired March 03, 2007 on "Weekend America." American Public Media says "When you think about pop art and counter culture, in all likelihood, you don't immediately think of a convent in Los Angeles in the 1960s. Sister Corita Kent was a nun at the Immaculate Heart Convent in Los Angeles, as well as a teacher in the art department at the Immaculate Heart College. She was also an artist whose screen prints garnered world-wide attention. At one point she was on the cover of Newsweek. But she was also criticized by conservative Catholics, including the archbishop of the Los Angeles archdiocese. Sister Corita Kent left the convent at the height of her fame but continued to live a fascinating life. Weekend America host Bill Radke visits the Corita Art Center in Los Angeles to learn more about her life and see some of her work."
National Public Radio provides archives of its radio program series. An example is Black Religious Art from All Things Considered, April 13, 2001. On this Good Friday, Commentator Robert Franklin remarks on the growing role of art in African-American churches.
WNET/New York produced in its Religion & Ethics Newsweekly series The Legacy of Howard Finster on October 26, 2001. Tom Patterson, Howard Finster's biographer, provides insights into the life and career of the acclaimed artist in two audio clips: 1. "Howard Finster's ministry and his visual art career were parallel forces..."; 2. "His work came very much out of his Appalachian background..."
Video titled Ron DiCianni: Painting the Resurrection (04:24) features the artist discussing The Resurrection Mural, 12' x 40', oil on canvas, commissioned by the Museum of Biblical Art in Dallas, TX. Video appeared on CBN.com.
Arts and Uses: Chinese American artists Spiritual Journey, (01:09) "'Routes' is a documentary series about the spiritual odyssey of 12 well-established Chinese American visual artists: Cui Fei, Ho Sin-ying, Hu Bing, Lin Yan, Ma Xinle, Shen Ruijun, Song Xin, Tan Liqin, Wei Jia, Zhang Hongtu, Zhang O, and Zheng Lianjie." from PlaidBagMedia.com. Accessed 11/29/13.
DVD or VHS videos
Divining the Human: The Cathedral Tapestries of John Nava is a 2003 feature-length television documentary in DVD format, directed by David Tlapek, produced by Brookwood Enterprises and narrated by Edward James Olmos, that follows the creation of tapestries by artist John Nava for the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, in Los Angeles, CA.
Fabric of Survival: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz (13-minute DVD or CD) is a documentary film that includes the interview with Esther Nisenthal Available through Art & Remembrance, which says: "In 1998, acclaimed filmmaker Lawrence Kasdan spent three days interviewing Esther Nisenthal Krinitz and family, with her art work as a focal point. In this beautiful 13-minute documentary film, Kasdan has distilled Esther's story and art into into a poignant memory of survival." (left: front box cover of Fabric of Survival: The Art of Esther Nisenthal Krinitz)
Minerva Teichert: A Mission In Paint is a 46 minute video documentary produced and directed by Nicholas J. Gasdik and written by Tim Slover on the art and life of Minerva Teichert. See this page from LDSFilm.com for more information.
Visiting...With Huell Howser #1005 - MOSAICS is a 28 minute 2002 video by Huell Howser Productions, which says on its website: "You've seen his work all across the Southland. Meet Denis O'Connor master mosaic artist, who has created some of the largest and most amazing mosaics in America." In this video, Denis O'Connor creates a large glass mosaic mural for St. John Vianney Chapel on Balboa Island, in Newport Brach, CA. Huell follows the creation of the mural in O'Conner's two studios through to its installation in the chapel.
TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format.
Art, Belief, Meaning: The Visual Arts and the Restored Gospel : Papers Presented at the First Annual Art, Belief, Meaning Seminar for Faculty and Students, November 20, December 4, and December 11, 1998, by Christian F. Sorenson. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, College of Fine Arts and Communications, 1998 - 76 pages
Art and Popular Religion in Evangelical America, 1915-1940, by Robert L. Gambone. Published in 1989 by University of Tennessee Press.
Benjamin West: The Context of His Life's Work with Particular Attention to Paintings with Religious Subject Matter, by John Dillenberger. Published in 1977 by Trinity University Press.
Crossroads: Art and Religion in American Life, Published in 2001 by The New Press. Amazon.com reviewer Michael Joseph Gross says "...Crossroads is a valuable contribution to America's ongoing project of navigating the complex relationship between its aesthetic and spiritual ideals..." with "... insightful anthology of seven essays by prominent artists, art historians, and religious scholars."
Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman, By David Morgan. Published 1996 by Yale University Press. 246 pages. ISBN:0300063423. Google Books says: "This fascinating book focuses on the production, marketing, and reception of one such set of religious illustrations, the art of Warner Sallman (1892-1968), whose '1940 Head Of Christ' has been reproduced an estimated five hundred million times." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (left: front cover, Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman, image courtesy Google Books)
Images of Faith: Art of the Latter-Day Saints, by Richard G. Oman and Robert O. Davis, Publisher: Deseret Book Co. (September 1995), 202 pages. Includes images of artworks in the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City, UT.
Jewish-American Artists and the Holocaust, by Mathew Baigell. Published by Rutgers University Press in 1997.
Jewish Art in America: An Introduction, By Matthew Baigell. Published by Rowman & Littlefield in 2007, 253 pages
Jewish Artists and the Bible in Twentieth-Century America, By Samantha Baskind, Publish Date Expected 2/7/2014, Pennsylvania State University Press, 264 pages, Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-05983-9
The Landscape of Belief: Encountering the Holy Land in Nineteenth-Century American Art and Culture, by John Davis. Published by Princeton University Press in 1998. Google Books says: "This book tells of the nineteenth-century American painters who, along with photographers, archaeologists, writers, evangelists, and tourists, flocked to the biblical Holy Land, a world of striking landscape vistas that reflected, in their eyes, a powerful image of the United States..."
Painting Religion in Public: John Singer Sargent's Triumph of Religion at the Boston Public Library, by Sally M. Promey. Published by Princeton University Press in 2001.
The Religious Art of Andy Warhol, By Jane Dillenberger, Andy Warhol. Published 1998 by Continuum International Publishing Group.128 pages. ISBN:082641334X. Google Books says: "An examination of the spiritual side of Warhol looks at his art during his final years, which includes paintings based on Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper," and Warhol's "Skull" and "Cross" paintings." Note: Google Books offers a Limited Preview of this book. For more information on this and other digitizing initiatives from publishers please click here and here. (right: front cover, The Religious Art of Andy Warhol, image courtesy Google Books)
Religious Folk Art in America: Reflections of Faith, by C. Kurt Dewhurst, Betty MacDowell, Marsha MacDowell. Published by E.P. Dutton in association with the Museum of American Folk Art, in 1983.
Seeing the Unseen, by Marianne Lettieri, Founding Director of Arts of the Covenant in Menlo Park, CA, to be published by Christians in the Visual Arts. According to Fr. Jim Blaettler, SJ., Director of Manresa Gallery, Seeing the Unseen will provide a guide for those interested in launching and managing a church-based art gallery.
Seven Visions: The Spirit of Religion in Contemporary Regional Art, by Arnot Art Museum -1991
Signs of Grace: Religion and American Art in the Gilded Age, by Kristin Schwain. Published in 2007 by Cornell University Press. On the back cover, Leigh Eric Schmidt of Princeton University says: "Signs of Grace offers a revealing window on the way in which the visual arts were given a distinct religious bearing in late Victorian America-one that accentuated momentary experiences of spiritual and aesthetic illumination. In this rich and sumptuous book, Kristin Schwain has done an excellent job of analyzing these forms of spiritualized visuality through the works of Thomas Eakins, Henry Ossawa Tanner, F. Holland Day, and Abbott Handerson Thayer." (left: front cover, Signs of Grace: Religion and American Art in the Gilded Age, image courtesy Google Books)
Saved by Beauty: Sister Mary Charles McGough, OSB, published by St. Scholastica Monastery, 2014. 108 pages.
The Spirit and the Vision: The Influence of Christian Romanticism on the Development of 19th-century American Art, by Diane Apostolos-Cappadona. Published by Scholars Press, in 1995.
Transforming Images: New Mexican Santos In-between Worlds, by Claire J. Farago, Donna Pierce. Published by Pennsylvania State University Press in 2006.
The Visual Arts and Christianity in America: From the Colonial Period to the Present, by John Dillenberger. Published in 1984 by Scholars Press (Chico, Calif). Book Review: "Stalking the Spiritual in the Visual Arts" by David Morgan.
The Visual Culture of American Religions, by David Morgan, Sally M. Promey. Published by University of California Press in 2001.
A Google Book Search conducted February 12, 2011 located 307 books featuring the search phrase "American Religious Art. Forty five books featured Limited Preview.
Journals and Magazines
ARTS Magazine is published by United and the Society for the Arts in Religious and Theological Studies, New Brighton, MN
Image Journal focuses on the contribution of religious art in America
Imaginatio et Ratio: A Journal of Theology and the Arts is "a peer reviewed journal primarily focusing on the intersection between the arts and theology, hoping to allow imagination and reason to be seen as intimately intertwined-as different expressions of the same divine truth."
Ruminate Magazine "...is a quarterly magazine of short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, and visual art that resonate with the complexity and truth of the Christian faith."
Articles in paper-printed journals and magazines
Julianne Burton-Carvajal and Scott Shields, "The Carmel Mission in Art" American Art Review, January-February 2008 (Volume XX, Number 1
Gail E. Husch, "The Landscape of Belief: Encountering the Holy Land in Nineteenth-Century American Art and Culture," (book review) Sept, 1997 from The Art Bulletin (Link found expired as of 7/24/09 audit. Source site may contain this content via a revised URL)
In 2014 TFAO published an article titled "Options for Art Exhibit Programs by Religious Institutions," by J. Philip Christensen. The article is intended to provide information to organizations considering establishing an art exhibit program within their campus.
To date, TFAO has not been able to locate significant information on American art derived from faith communities other than that for Judeo-Christian topics and information from Middle East Influences in American Art. Readers and institutions with links and materials derived from other faith communities to share with TFAO will be appreciated.
TFAO extends thanks to Fr. Jim Blaettler, SJ and Chet Murray
for suggesting information for this topic and to Gayle Larkin, an artist
in San Juan Capistrano, CA, for providing a reference in the above list.
Return to Topics in American Representational Art
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