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Art History & Appreciation

There are works of art so inherently beautiful or stunning that anyone looking at them ends up choking back tears, or standing transfixed, or simply unable to breathe for several seconds. What you won't often hear is that those are the exceptions, that most paintings, buildings and sculptures require anterior knowledge to be fully appreciated.

Once you know what to look for, the once-abstruse and confusing world of chiaroscuro, Pre-Raphaelite, and oxidation fire becomes navigable and even a welcome place from the ho-hum mundanities of the everyday world. Though, of course, we'd be the last to encourage art appreciation for mere escapism—if a work can't reveal some element of human nature or help us understand things a little better, it isn't worth much.

This is one reason a lot of modern art can't really be considered art at all. It isn't intended to reveal anything, but simply to be "living commentary," a mere reflection, not of reality, but of the artist's inner conflict or angst. Sometimes it's not even that deep, and simply reflects the belief that there is no meaning in the world, that everything is empty, that nihilism is the only truth.

We reject those claims entirely. Everything is meaningful because Christ has made it so. Taken too far that idea is sometimes used to defend all kinds of non-art and just plain bad art, but all it really means is that everything is either consistent with or in rebellion against God's truth, and that artistic endeavours reveal which side the artist is on.

For Christians, understanding art from this perspective should be the primary motive in studying anything from the Sistine Chapel to Rembrandt's portraits to the illustrations of N.C. Wyeth. Art has the potential to entertain and delight, but it also affects the attitudes and thoughts of those who come in contact with it. Understanding a work's context and significance will immensely help us determine whether it's beneficial or pernicious.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur.Read more of his reviews here.

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150 Items found Print
"I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat"
by Jerry Beck
from Henry Holt and Company
for 4th-Adult
in Theater, Drama & Film (Location: ART-03B)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
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by Robert Cumming
from DK Publishing
for 6th-9th grade
in Great Artists (Location: ART-02B)
$15.00 (1 in stock)
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by Carol Strickland
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in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ART-02C)
$19.54
Art and Civilization: Ancient Rome
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by Giovanni Di Pasquale & Matilde Bardi
from Peter Bedrick Books
Roman History Reference for 4th-6th grade
in Ancient Rome (Location: B02-03C)
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Art Coloring Book
by Sarah Courtauld
from Usborne
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Usborne Activities (Location: A01-02A)
$7.19
Art for Children: Renaissance
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by Lillo Canto
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in Renaissance & Reformation (Location: B02-04D)
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by Marty Noble
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in Dover Coloring Books (Location: A01-DOV)
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Art Museum: A Sticker Story Coloring Book
by Sylvia Walker
Clr Csm from Dover Publications
for Kindergarten-5th grade
in Sticker Books (Location: A01-01A)
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Art of the Middle Ages
by Jennifer Olmstead
from Heinemann Educational Books
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in Middle Ages (Location: B02-04A)
$4.50 (1 in stock)
Art Smart: Spot the Details and Find Out the Facts
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for 1st-7th grade
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$9.99
Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary
from DK Publishing
in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ART-02C)
$50.00
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by Marina Vaizey
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in Biographies (Location: A12-01A)
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ARTistic Pursuits Junior High Book 2
by Brenda Ellis
for 4th-6th grade
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$24.00 (1 in stock)
ArtWorks for Kids
by Lori Schue
from Evan-Moor Educational Publishers
for 1st-6th grade
in Evan-Moor Art & Drawing (Location: ART-01D)
$17.59
Atelier Art Curriculum Level 4
from Arts Attack Publications
for 1st-6th grade
in Atelier Art Curriculum (Location: ART-01D)
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from Arts Attack Publications
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in Atelier Art Curriculum (Location: ART-01D)
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by Marguerite Henry & Wesley Dennis
Reprint from Aladdin Paperbacks
for 3rd-6th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: A06-03A)
$6.79
Bill Peet
by Bill Peet
from Houghton Mifflin
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1990 Caldecott Honor Book
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
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by Barbara Brenner
from Houghton Mifflin
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in Clearance: Biographies (Location: A12-05)
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by Joan MacPhail Knight
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by Blue Balliett, Brett Helquist (Illustrator)
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Child's Book of Prayer in Art
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Children in Art
for 5th-Adult
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in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ART-02C)
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for Kindergarten-3rd grade
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Come Look with Me: Enjoying Art with Children
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Come Look With Me: Exploring Landscape Art With Children
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Come Look With Me: Modern Art
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by Gladys S. Blizzard
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Complete Guide to Calligraphy
by Ralph Cleminson
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from First Avenue Editions
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in Clearance: Biographies (Location: A12-05)
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by Ernest Raboff
from Lippincott
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
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in Art History & Appreciation (Location: ART-02C)
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for Kindergarten-3rd grade
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for 3rd-6th grade
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Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists
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in Great Artists (Location: ART-02B)
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