What makes a work of art Christian - is it in the eye of the artist or the viewer?
How was and is Christian art created? How has it been sustained over 2000 years? And what is its relationship to the art of other great world religions?
These are some of the fascinating questions discussed in this thoughtful book about our understanding of Christian art today.
Many themes explored in the book are universal human ones: food as an expression of friendship and welcome, the stories of refugees seeking asylum and how people cope with old age, for example.
Drawing extensively on the international collections of the British Museum, themes in Christian art are followed through a wide range of objects, from pilgrim tokens to ivory figurines and gold and enamel reliquaries, and from a rich selection of prints and drawings to Byzantine, Greek and Russian icons.
Significant paintings and manuscript illuminations are also included.
Stunning examples of the decorative arts yield original and lesser-known Christian iconography. The understanding of Christian art is broadened by showing how Christian artists have responded to a variety of visual traditions, such as post-Renaissance scientific and philosophical discoveries, and concludes with an assessment of the present state of Christian art in the 21st century.