Catalogue


Visual piety : a history and theory of popular religious images /
David Morgan.
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1998.
description
xviii, 265 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520209788 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley, Calif. : University of California Press, c1998.
isbn
0520209788 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
1892803
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-258) and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
David Morgan is Associate Professor of Art History at Valparaiso University and the editor of Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman (1996).
Excerpts
Flap Copy
This superb collection of essays challenges the growing tension about religion and the arts by dissecting the intriguing ways religion and the arts have inte frsected in a long, vivid, necessary, and largely positive relationship from the early nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. The essays here are unusually strong, sophisticated, mature, and insightful. They are remarkably readable, not merely for art historians but for a broadly interested and intelligent audience. The result is a truly fascinating collection whose essays touch on a wide range of important and fascinating topics in the two-hundred year experience of both American art and American religion. --Jon Butler, Yale University, author of Awash in a Sea of Faith: Christianizing the American People and Religion in American History: A Reader.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1998-04-01:
Morgan (Valparaiso Univ.) expands on ideas that first appeared in a volume that he edited in 1996, Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman (CH, Sep'96). In this thought-provoking book, he is primarily concerned with showing how important popular religious imagery has been in everyday life in Europe and America since the Middle Ages. But, along the way, Morgan makes a number of other contributions that make his book worthy of note. His apologia for the study of visual culture, included in the introduction, should be required reading for all college students taking the "visual culture" courses that are springing up in many universities. He also proves, convincingly, that American Protestantism has not been so iconoclastic as was once thought to be the case. And he applies historical methods, for the first time, to a subject that until now has been the province only of sociologists: how popular religious imagery functions in a home setting. Highly recommended. General; undergraduate; graduate; faculty. M. W. Sullivan Villanova University
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 1997-11-10:
"The point behind the visual culture of popular piety is not principally an admiration of skill, which pertains to the manipulation of a medium, but admiration for the object of representation.... We can therefore speak of beauty in visual piety as consisting... in the reassuring harmony of the believer's disposition toward the sacred with its visualization." So writes Morgan, associate professor of art history at Valparaiso University in Indiana, as he attempts to explain how modern American Christianity views popular religious art. Using a variety of cultural, theological and aesthetic theories, Warner focuses especially on the popular artistic representations of Jesus, most notably Warner Sallman's Jesus, as an indicator of ways that art expresses popular piety. Sallman's portrait, which depicts Jesus with flowing locks and intense blue eyes staring heavenward, adorns thousands of homes and churches in the United States and has become the primary face that believers associate with Jesus. In order to uncover popular attitudes to Sallman's painting and other popular religious artworks, Morgan solicited responses from readers of numerous religious periodicals. He uses these responses, as well as theoretical arguments, to examine the ways in which popular religious art and popular piety intersect. Morgan has collected a lot of information, but his argument is often hard to find and his prose is tedious and often sloppy. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, November 1997
Choice, April 1998
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Summaries
Main Description
Drawing from the fields of music, sociology, theology, philosophy, psychology, and aesthetics, VISUAL PIETY is the first book to bring to specialist and lay reader alike an understanding of religious imagery's place in the social formation and maintenance of everyday American life--from Warner Sallman's 'Head of Christ" to velvet renditions of DaVinci's "Last Supper" to prayer card illustrations, and much more. 69 illustrations.
Long Description
This fascinating study of devotional images traces their historical links to important strains of American culture. David Morgan demonstrates how popular visual images--from Warner Sallman's "Head of Christ" to velvet renditions of DaVinci's "Last Supper" to illustrations on prayer cards--have assumed central roles in contemporary American lives and communities. Morgan's history of popular religious images ranges from the late Middle Ages to the present day and analyzes what he calls "visual piety," or the belief that images convey. Rather than isolating popular icons from their social contexts or regarding them as merely illustrative of theological ideas, Morgan situates both Protestant and Catholic art within the domain of devotional practice, ritual, personal narrative, and the sacred space of the home. In addition, he examines how popular icons have been rooted in social concerns ranging from control of human passions to notions of gender, creedal orthodoxy, and friendship. Also discussed is the coupling of images with texts in the attempt to control meanings and to establish markers for one's community and belief. Drawing from the fields of music, sociology, theology, philosophy, psychology, and aesthetics,Visual Pietyis the first book to bring to specialist and lay reader alike an understanding of religious imagery's place in the social formation and maintenance of everyday American life.
Main Description
This fascinating study of devotional images traces their historical links to important strains of American culture. David Morgan demonstrates how popular visual images--from Warner Sallman's "Head of Christ" to velvet renditions of DaVinci's "Last Supper" to illustrations on prayer cards--have assumed central roles in contemporary American lives and communities. Morgan's history of popular religious images ranges from the late Middle Ages to the present day and analyzes what he calls "visual piety," or the belief that images convey. Rather than isolating popular icons from their social contexts or regarding them as merely illustrative of theological ideas, Morgan situates both Protestant and Catholic art within the domain of devotional practice, ritual, personal narrative, and the sacred space of the home. In addition, he examines how popular icons have been rooted in social concerns ranging from control of human passions to notions of gender, creedal orthodoxy, and friendship. Also discussed is the coupling of images with texts in the attempt to control meanings and to establish markers for one's community and belief. Drawing from the fields of music, sociology, theology, philosophy, psychology, and aesthetics, Visual Pietyis the first book to bring to specialist and lay reader alike an understanding of religious imagery's place in the social formation and maintenance of everyday American life.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrationsp. vii
Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Introduction: Constructivism and the History of Visual Culturep. 1
Material Things and the Social Construction of Realityp. 2
The Aesthetics of Everyday Lifep. 12
Images and Their Worldsp. 17
The Practice of Visual Pietyp. 21
High and Lowp. 22
The Aesthetic of Disinterestednessp. 26
Toward an Aesthetic of Popular Religious Artp. 29
The Psychology of Recognitionp. 34
Interactivity in the Reception of Popular Religious Imagesp. 50
Empathy and Sympathy in the History of Visual Pietyp. 59
Catholic Visual Piety from the Late Middle Ages to the Modern Periodp. 60
Jonathan Edwards and the Aesthetic of Pietyp. 74
Sympathy and Benevolence in Nineteenth-Century American Protestantismp. 78
"Home-Sympathy" and Christian Nurturep. 93
The Masculinity of Christp. 97
The Image of Male Friendship: Jonathan and Davidp. 98
The Christology of Friendship and Twentieth-Century Visual Pietyp. 111
Reading the Face of Jesusp. 124
The Head of Christ in Catholic and Lutheran Responsep. 125
The Discourse of Hidden Imagesp. 135
Avant-Garde and Popularp. 143
Domestic Devotion and Ritualp. 152
The Christian Home: A Domestic Description of the Sacredp. 158
Domestic Ritual and Imagesp. 171
Memory and the Sacredp. 181
Space and Timep. 181
Memory and the Sacredp. 183
Modes of Remembrance: Narrative and Anecdotal Memoryp. 197
Conclusion: Religious Images and the Social Construction of Everyday Lifep. 203
Letters and Demographicsp. 209
Notesp. 213
Select Bibliographyp. 253
Indexp. 259
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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