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Christian Art: A Very Short Introduction

Beth Williamson

Publication Date - 09 September 2004

ISBN: 9780192803283

144 pages

In Stock


This Very Short Introduction decodes the key themes, signs, and symbols found in Christian art: the Eucharist, the image of the Crucifixion, the Virgin Mary, the Saints, Old and New Testament narrative imagery, and iconography. It also explores the theological and historical background of Christian imagery, from the devotional works of the Medieval and Renaissance periods, to the twenty-first century.
Williamson uses examples from, amongst others, Cimabue, Michelangelo, and Rosetti. She concludes by outlining the co-existence in contemporary 'post-Christian' culture of the deliberately controversial works of artists such as Andres Serrano and Chris Ofili, alongside the consciously devotional works of those such as Eric Gill and Peter Blake.


  • Concise, general introduction to Christian Art - providing the tools needed to decode the signs and symbols used in Christian art and architecture
  • Features such well-known artists as Michelangelo, Rosetti, and Chris Ofili, as well as famous buildings, such as the Sistine Chapel, and Westminster Abbey
  • A broad-ranging historical account - from the Medieval period to the present day
  • Examines the development of the cult of the Virgin Mary
  • Explores the ongoing fascination with the blood of Christ, and the image of the crucifixion
  • Discusses the role of art in campaings for canonization, and the cult of relics

About the Author(s)

Beth Williamson is Lecturer in the History of Art at the University of Bristol.

Table of Contents

    1. Images of the Eucharist and images of Christ's Passion
    2. The Virgin and Child
    3. The Saints
    4. 'Bibles for the Illiterate': Old and New Testament Narrative Imagery
    5. Icons
    6. Conclusion: the Twentieth Century