Book Review: Ars Sacra

While the title perfectly describes the scope of this magnificent volume, it fails to convey the fact that this publication is a work of art in its own right. From the brilliantly executed cover art to the multitude of full color photography showcasing the world’s Christian art and architectural treasures, everything about this book is breathtaking. Illuminated books, stained glass, paintings, baptismal fonts, pulpits, chalices, crosses, altars and altarpieces are just a few of the items presented with knowledgeable descriptions about how and when they were created. Divided into eight chapters beginning with Late Antiquity, on through Early Middle Ages, Gothic, Baroque and up to Modern Age, each opens with an overview of the time period. Clear maps along with cultural history, aspects of Christian belief and their influence on art and so much more add to reader’s appreciation of the art, most of which cannot be viewed as is shown here. Several pieces are photographed in their entirety and then with close-ups showing exquisite attention to detail.

With eight hundred pages and weighing in at twenty pounds, this book deserves special care. Religious scholars, students, historians and art lovers will find it challenging to read the well-researched material when they are so busy drooling over the pages of artwork. The only weak point is portions of the text translation into English are not as smooth as might be hoped. Find a comfortable chair, a sturdy table and be prepared to be awed, this is worth every penny and is certain to become the benchmark book on the subject.

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