The Foundations of Christian Art (Sacred Art in Tradition Series)
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Titus Burckhardt was a renowned expert on the art of traditional worlds. This book takes the reader through the history of Christian art, focusing especially upon architecture, iconography, and illumination.
tympanum of the Royal Door 48 The Foundations of Christian Art The Foundations of Christian Art 49 According to the teaching of the Fathers the incarnation of the Word as such is a sacrifice, not only by virtue of the Passion, but more especially because the Divinity is brought to an extreme of “humiliation” by the descent into a human and terrestrial form. It is true that God as God, in His eternal Essence, does not undergo the sacrifice; however, since the suffering of the Divine Man
fifth century; the Virgin is depicted in the attitude of prayer with 86 Above: The Nativity of Christ, Novgorod, Russia, c. 1475 Right: St. Basil the Great, Macedonia, 1699 The Foundations of Christian Art Her hands uplifted and with the medallion of the young Christ Emmanuel on Her breast. It is the “Virgin who shall be with child” according to the Prophet Isaiah, and it also the prayerful Church or soul in which God will manifest Himself. The icons of saints find their doctrinal
special needs of times and places, in so far as these may be legitimate. This last reservation is of capital importance in a period when almost unlimited rights are attributed to “our times.” The Middle Ages were not concerned with being “up to date,” the very notion did not exist; time was still space, so to speak. The fear of being taken for a “copyist,” as well as the search for originality, are very modern prejudices. In the Middle Ages, and to a certain extent even in the Renaissance and
Chartres Cathedral, 12th century. p. 70: Different hieratic forms of the Cross. p. 71: The “Cross of Victory,” Oviedo Cathedral, Cámara Santa, Spain, 908. p. 72: The Portal of St. Gall, Basle Cathedral. p. 74: The Mandilion, Russian icon, Oslo, Collection Zeiner- Henriksen. p. 75: The Volto Santo, Lucca. p. 76: Madonna and Child on a Curved Throne, Greece, 13th century. Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art. p. 77: The Great Panaghia, Yaroslavl, 12th century. Moscow,
meant in the early years of the Christian West. The few books that had survived the onslaught of the barbarian invasions, with which an abbot would have been able to endow a new monastery or a bishop a new church, and which were then copied again and again, were at the same time the spiritual and intellectual seeds which were to lead to all later harvests. Some transmitted the fundamental premises of Roman and Greek knowledge, others passed down the teaching of the Fathers of the Church, while