Bibliography - Visual Arts and Worship
Annotated bibliography related to visual arts, theology and worship.
The following is an annotated bibliography related to visual arts, theology and worship.
Printing the Word: The Art of Watanabe Sadao (American Bible Society, 2003)
by American Bible Society
|Bound for Glory: Celebrating the Gift of African American Spirituals through Expressive Calligraphy (Tyndale House Publishers, 2011)
by Timothy R. Botts
This is Botts' latest collection of 52 calligraphic paintings based on African American spirituals. Reflective readings by Patricia Raybon, lyrics to the songs, and scripture texts are included. Other published works include: Doorposts (1986), Messiah (1991), Proverbs (1994), The Book of Psalms (1997), Best-Loved Bible Verses (1999), The Holy Bible (2000), Portraits of the Word: Great Verses of the Bible in Expressive Calligraphy (2001).
|Art that Tells the Story (Gospel Through Shared Experience, 2011)
by Christopher R. Brewer
An exploration of biblical stories within overarching themes of creation, fall, redemption, and consummation. The stories are told through reflections, scripture, and contemporary art work seen in full color.
|There is a Season (Orbis Books, 1995)
by Joan Chittister and John Swanson
Theologian and artist meet with these reflections (in text and image) on the book of Ecclesiastes. Other published works together include: The Story of Ruth (2000)
|How God Fix Jonah (Boyds Mills, 2000)
by Graham Lorenz and Ashley Bryan
Bible stories of Jonah, Daniel and Ruth told in a lyrical idom of West Africa. These verses have the rhythm of drums and can therefore be enjoyed best when read out loud.
|Dwelling with Philippians: A Conversation with Scripture through Image and Word (Eerdmans, 2010)
by Elizabeth Steele Halstead
This rich, inviting volume illumines Paul’s letter to the Philippians through evocative juxtapositions of visual images, poetry, and other worship-related arts, with theological reflections, prayers, and more. The book’s multidimensional approach creates abundant space for unhurried contemplation, whether in individual reflection or group study. It invites readers to dwell with Philippians—to slow down, to explore the texture and palette of Paul’s message in a deliberately measured way, to be drawn into the mystery, beauty, and life-changing power of this joyful biblical letter.
|The Psalms: An Artist's Impression (InterVarsity Press, 1999)
by Anneke Kaai and Eugene Peterson
Twenty-five paintings grace the pages of The Psalms. The Dutch artist Anneke Kaai explains the imagery and color symbolism she uses to express the psalm on which each painting is based. At the same time, extracts from The Message by Eugene H. Peterson allow the reader to encounter and meditate on a contemporary rendition of the scripture passages.Other published works by Kaai include: In A Word: See What You Believe (2003), From Beginning to End: Creation, Ten Commandments, Apostle’s Creed, The Apocalypse (2007), Seeing a New Song: The Psalms Connection (2008), She Shall be Called Woman (2009)
Imaging the Word (Volumes 1-3) (United Church Press, 1994-1996)
by Kenneth Lawrence, Susan Blain and Sharon Gouwens
|The Glorious Impossible (Simon & Schuster Young Readers, 1990)
by Madeleine L'Engle
For the children of all ages in the congregation, a book on the life of Christ illustrated with the frescos from the Scrovegni Chapel, Padova, Italy, by Giotto. Other published works include: Walking on Water: Reflections of Faith and Art (1980)
|Christ For All People: Celebrating a World of Christian Art (Orbis Books, 2001)
by Ron O'Grady
Christ for All People begins with a brief historical overview of depictions of Christ, then focuses on contemporary artistic interpretations of the life of Christ from every continent of the world—from the annunciation, through Christ’s ministry, to the final triumph. Reflections on the images, by artists and writers, invite the reader to contemplate on the many faces of Christ. Scripture passages are included.
|Drawn to the Light (William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003)
by Marilyn McEntyre
Through McEntyre’s poems, which are based on observing Rembrandt’s paintings, we encounter anew not only the mystery of the interplay of light and dark in Rembrandt’s masterpieces but of the connection to our own lives which the Word still holds for us today.
|The Bible Through Asian Eyes (Pace Publishing, 1991)
by Masao Takenaka
Organized by the Old Testament and then New Testament, The Bible Through Asian Eyes helps us see familiar things in a new perspective. Works from Japan to India, Australia to China is presented. Each example has information on the artist, a description of the artwork and a scripture reference.
|The Father & His Two Sons: The Art of Forgiveness: Images of the Prodigal Son from the Larry and Mary Gerbens Collection (Eyekons, 2008)
The parable of the Prodigal Son is one of the most powerful and evocative stories Jesus told. This book includes original art inspired by the story along with reflections on the work and some collector’s notes on the stories behind the artwork.
Ideal for Study, Thought, & Discussion
|Visual Art in the Life of the Church: Encouraging Creative Worship and Witness in the Congregation (Augsburg Press, 1983)
by Richard R. Caemmerer, Jr.
Out of print but worth searching for or checking out of the library. Black and white drawings illustrate content that is practical and theologically significant. Caemmerer looks at church history, church liturgy, and the church mission to encourage congregational participation in worship through the use of the arts.
|Art and Worship (Liturgical Press, 2002)
by Christopher Irvine and Anne Dawtry
A theological look at the arts in the church. Beginning with a brief history, the authors then turn to guidelines for placing art in churches, for viewing art, and for understanding art for worship. Resource list, references with furthering reading list, and index.
|Art in Service of the Sacred (Abingdon Press, 2006)
by Caherine Kapikian
Art in Service of the Sacred encourages congregations to take seriously the role of visual art in worship and in the broader life of the church. Case studies are used to explore the dynamics between art, artist, and the church. A DVD is included to show before and after pictures of space installations, vestments, etc. in color.
|A Place for Baptism (Liturgy Training Publications, 1992)
by Regina Kuehn
Mark Searle states in the forward to A Place for Baptism: “Kuehn has written a book that does far more than offer ten tips on how to upgrade your baptistery. She draws on the riches of scripture, history and contemporary liturgy to unfold the symbolic or sacramental dimensions of the baptismal font. Why is this important? It is important because, after about a thousand years… we have recently come to reappropriate a much older mentality which saw the whole rite and its participants and its timing and the spatial context of its unfolding as sacramental.”
|The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming (Doubleday, 1992)
by Henri J.M. Nouwen
A spiritual classic with the use of Rembrandt’s painting on the Prodigal Son. Sure to inspire a sermon as well as a new interest in the visual arts as biblical commentary. Other publications include: Behold the Beauty of the Lord: Praying with Icons (1987/2002).
Art and the Bible (InterVarsity Press, 1973)
by Francis A. Schaeffer
|Rainbows for the Fallen World: Aesthetic Life and Artistic Task (Tuppence Press, 1980)
by Calvin Seerveld
Out of print with limited availability, yet a classic worth finding. A must-read for anyone interested in aesthetics. Covers topics such as the biblical charter, an obedient aesthetic life, the contribution of Christian aesthetics to reading the Bible, theory, and modern art. Appendices look at iconography, the Reformation, "glory to God in the kitchen," and Henry Moore. Other publications include: Bearing Fresh Olive Leaves: Alternate Steps in Understanding Art (2000)
|Art and Worship: A Vital Connection (Liturgical Press, 1991)
by Janet R. Walton
An excellent resource to begin studying connections between art and worship— looking to the past, listening to the church and listening to artists plus thinking about the future with principles for partnership between the artist and the church.
Perfect for small group study on worship and congregational life
|Spaces for Spirit: Adorning the Church (Liturgy Training Publications, 1998)
by Nancy Chinn
It's getting harder to find this gem! Keep searching! Chinn talks of the process of doing art, the practicalities of forming an art committee, but more importantly, she looks at why using the visual arts would benefit the church and enhance worship. The use of case studies is helpful and the wide variety of ideas can be tailored to any size church.
|Visual Faith: Art, Theology, and Worship in Dialogue (Baker Book House, 2001)
by William A. Dyrness
In Visual Faith, Dyrness shares insights into the biblical, historical, theological and practical relationship between the arts and worship. This overview would be particularly helpful for churches beginning a dialogue on worship and the arts. Excellent sections on dealing with contemporary challenges, new opportunities for Christian involvement in the arts, and how culture can be engaged. Includes bibliography for further study. Other published works include: Reformed Theology and Visual Culture: The Protestant Imagination from Calvin to Edwards (2004), Senses of the Soul: Art and the Visual in Christian Worship (2008) Other published works include: Reformed Theology and Visual Culture: The Protestant Imagination from Calvin to Edwards (2004), Senses of the Soul: Art and the Visual in Christian Worship (2008)
|The Substance of Things Seen: Art, Faith, and the Christian Community (Eerdmans, 2004)
by Robin M. Jensen
In a pragmatic way Jensen looks at “the arts as a way of expressing, exploring, forming, and challenging faith” [author’s preface]. Six essays “open the conversation” on art and spiritual formation, visual exegesis, idol or icon, moving beyond decorative and didactic, distinction of place and space, and a conversation on taste and religious value. Other publications include: Understanding Early Christian Art (2000); Face to Face: Portraits of the Divine in Early Christianity (2004)
|Church Architecture: Building and Renovating for Christian Worship (Abingdon Press, 2002)
by James F. White and Susan J. White
In its second printing, this book has been a standard work in the area of church architecture. This is a must-read for those thinking of building or reorganizing their worship space. The authors discuss six distinct spaces: gathering space, movement space, congregational space, choir space, altar-table space, and baptismal font- pulpit space, to see how space functions as an essential agent in forming the worship life of the congregation. Other publications include: Protestant Worship and Church Architecture:Theological and Historical Considerations (1964)
|Images of Faith (CIVA, 2009)
by Sandra Bowden (ed.)
An interactive application of images and essays centered on biblical themes. It contains 100 images by contemporary artists to be used for projection in teaching, preaching, and devotional purposes by churches, colleges, and seminaries. The interactive application brings you to the current websites of the artists to explore their work further.
|Visuals for Worship (CD included) (Faith Alive Christian Resources, 2006)
by Elizabeth Steele Halstead
Visuals for Worship offers beautiful original woodcut images by Elizabeth Steele Halstead for your church to use in a variety of ways. Halstead combines symbols with explanations of their theological and historical background and biblical references. Accompanied by a CD so you can download high-resolution images for a professional look on bulletin covers, banners, and more.
|Raise the Banners High!: Making and Using Processional Banners (Liturgy Training Publications, 2002)
by Pamela Hardiman and Josephine Niemann
A banner book for beginners as well as for advanced textile artists and their pastors. The first chapter begins where we all should begin, asking “Why.” Why do we celebrate and use banners in worship? How do we bring together elements of worship and make a coherent whole from all of the parts? A look at the liturgical year is included. The second half of the book is about the process. Design patterns, complete instructions, pole and hanging guides, and even a banner stand are described in detail. Excellent list of resources.
|Dictionary of Biblical Imagery: An encyclopedic exploration of the images, symbols, motifs, metaphors, figures of speech and literary patterns of the Bible (InterVarsity Press, 1998)
by Leland Ryken
This reference book is essential for every pastor, artist, worship committee member and church’s library shelf! No reference book is such a joy to read and so packed with information and references. Each paragraph you read will give you a broader, more vivid picture, and a deeper understanding of the imagery of the Bible.
|Clip Art of the Old Testament (Liturgical Press, 1994)
by Helen Siegl
Though this book is out of print it is worth searching for a used copy or going regularly to the library and checking out. With character and playfulness Siegl’s woodcuts bring to life over a hundred images from Old Testament stories. Organized by books and scripture references. Other publications include Clip Art: Block Prints for Sundays, Cycle A, B, C (1990)
|Beholding the Glory: Incarnation Through the Arts (Baker Academic, 2001)
by Jeremy Begbie (ed.)
Beholding the Glory is an anthology of eight essays on the engagement between theology, different art forms, and the significance of the incarnation. Contributors include: Trevor Hart (arts), Malcolm Guite (literature), Andrew Rumsey (poetry), Sara B. Savage (dance), Jim Forest (icons), Lynn Aldrich (sculpture), Graham Cray (popular music), and Jeremy Begbie (music). Each essay has an introductory paragraph by Jeremy Begbie, notes, and a bibliography for further reading. Also included is a general index and index of scriptures.
|Seeing the Psalms: A Theology of Metaphor (Westminster John Knox, 2002)
by William P. Brown
This is not just a functional analysis of the psalms but a beautiful exploration of the metaphors. As Brown says, “To read the psalms is to hear their rhythms; to hear them is to behold the rich imagery they convey; to behold the psalms is to feel them in all their pain and promise; and to feel them is, ultimately, to 'taste and see that the Lord is good.' (Ps 34:8a)"
Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling (InterVarsity Press, 2008)
by Andy Crouch
A wonderful exploration of the Christian’s calling to be culture makers. This resource would be a perfect book to read as a group and discuss the biblical approach to creativity and how we interact with the world at our fingertips.
Listen to podcast - Brian Moss interviews Andy Crouch on "Visual Art and Power"
Christianity, Art and Transformation: Theological Aesthetics in the Struggle for Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2001)
by John W. De Gruchy
|The Biblical Rembrandt: Human Painter in a Landscape of Faith (Mercer University Press, 2004)
by John I. Durham
Written from the perspective of a biblical scholar who has pored over Rembrandt’s testimony, Durham writes not for the art historian, but for those who love the Bible, for those who love Rembrandt, and for those who want to know more about the meeting of this Dutchman and his biblical text. [from jacket cover]
|The Shoes of Van Gogh: A Spiritual and Artistic Journey to the Ordinary (Crossroad, 2004)
by Cliff Edwards
Other publications include: Van Gogh and God: A Creative Spiritual Quest (1989)
|At Eternity’s Gate: The Spiritual Vision of Vincent van Gogh (Eerdmans, 1998)
by Kathleen Powers Erickson
In this very readable study of Van Gogh, Kathleen Erickson explores the intense spirituality of the painter. Erickson argues (against many Van Gogh scholars) that the artist's mature work reflects not a rejection of Christ so much as a rejection of a dogmatic church, seeing instead in the famous images of his art a profound connection to Christian symbols. Throughout, she helps us to discover the source of the power in Van Gogh's stars and sunflowers. [Doug Thorpe]
The Color of Light: Commissioning Stained Glass for a Church (Liturgy Training Publications, 1999)
by Sarah Hall
|Art in Action: Toward a Christian Aesthetic (Eerdmans, 1980)
by Nicholas Wolterstorff
This is a must-read for those interested in Christian aesthetics. Wolterstorff explains how works of art are instruments and objects of action. He develops his proposal for a functional approach to art. A bibliography is included.
by Cecelia Gonzalez-Andrieu
An exploration in theological aesthetics that seeks to engage art in order to reveal its religious significance and to mine the depths of creative beauty and discover variegated theological truths that enable greater communion with each other - and the One source of all that is beautiful.
Christ and Architecture: Building Presbyterian/Reformed Churches (William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 1965)
Churches (HarperCollins Publishers, 2001)
Re-Pitching the Tent (Liturgical Press, 1999)
by Richard Giles
|Theology in Stone: Church Architecture from Byzantium to Berkeley (Oxford University Press, 2004)
by Richard Kieckhefer
“For individuals and for communities, liturgy is a means of integration. Liturgical formulas and the environments provided for them can seem to present a jumble of unrelated images and notions…Liturgy and liturgical space are effective to the extent that they give scope for experiencing and expressing the connections” [p. 137-138].
|From Meetinghouse to Megachurch: A Material and Cultural History (University of Missouri Press, 2003)
by Anne C. Loveland and Otis B. Wheeler
An architectural look at the rise of the evangelical megachurch, designed to attract a large following. This book reviews the evolving models and influences.
|An Architecture of Immanence: Architecture for Worship and Ministry Today (Eerdmans, 2007)
by Mark A. Torgerson
Traditional architectural styles highlight the transcendence of God. In An Architecture of Immanence Mark Torgerson asserts that modern architecture has heavily influenced the construction of new sacred spaces, producing a new way of building that emphasizes God’s coming near to us.
|Sacred Passion: The Art of William Schickel (University of Notre Dame Press, 1998)
by Gregory Wolfe
This is an excellent, wonderfully inspiring, example of a contemporary artist working in the Midwest who has mastered the weaving together of all elements of the worship environment into an integrated whole.
Fine art stock photo archive with thousands of searchable fine art images.
Fine art search engine.
Fine art archive.
The Bridgeman Art Library
Large art library and image collection with historical and fine art stock licensing.
Timothy R. Botts - calligraphy
Sarah Hall - stained glass
Linda Witte Henke - textiles
Anneke Kaai - painting
Jeanne Logan - textiles
Scott Parsons - stained glass
Jan Richardson - mixed media
Art and the Church
Art, Theology, Imagination, and Culture
International Arts Movement
IAM is a cultural movement dedicated to inspiring all people to engage their culture to create a more good and beautiful world. IAM presents lectures, performances, exhibitions, screenings, projects, and workshops.
Transpositions: Theology, Imagination and the Arts
Transpositions is a collaborative effort of students associated with the Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts at the University of St Andrews whose goal to create conversations between Christian theology and the arts.
Faith and Form
An interfaith journal on religion, art and architecture.
St. John's Bible
A hand-written, illuminated Bible on vellum by calligrapher Donald Jackson, commissioned by Saint John's Abbey and University.