The Christian Image and Contemporary British Painting: by studionicholaswyatt []
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The Christian image and contemporary British painting : the communication of meaning and experience in religious paintings.

by Nicholas Wyatt; Loughborough University,

  Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File

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The Christian Image and Contemporary British Painting:    (2021-05-01)


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by studionicholaswyatt


This is a preview of this publication written by the author, not a review. This thesis explores what relationship might exist between aesthetic practices in contemporary British Painting and historical Christian devotional imagery (principally European painting from the time of the Counter-Reformation) arguing that there has been a fundamental shift during this period from experiencing Christian artworks as vehicles for religious devotion to experiencing them as aesthetic devices.

The argument, which is practice-led, then asks whether it is possible for contemporary painting (particularly, the painting of the author) to return to a similar (since it cannot be the same) experiential register as those historical religious works.

The research draws upon the painting practice of the author to test the capacity of practical aesthetics to generate similar or analogous experiences to the non-dualist reception aesthetics of certain key examples of post-Tridentine (1563) Catholic Counter-Reformation devotional imagery, particularly “The Ecstasy of St. Theresa” (1647-1652) by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and “The Incarnation” (1596-1600) by El Greco.

The research applies an interpretative method to the development of Christian imagery within painting in the post-Reformation period and its relationship to the economic system of modern capitalism and the Enlightenment aesthetic of the sublime. The experiential register which the author explores in his work is an affective and experiential narrative of presence, - T S Eliot’s ‘unity of thought, feeling and action’, argued to be ‘pre-Enlightenment’: a religio-aesthetic locus in which the dualities of mind/body, rational/sensory, knowledge/belief would be entangled through the agency of the work.


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