The History of the Church through 100 MasterpiecesJacques Duquesne and Francois Lebrette $29.95
Published in 2011 | 225 pages | paper | ISBN: 978-0-8207-0437-1
“Two newly released art books from Duquesne University Press. . . , The History of the Church Through 100 Masterpieces and The Lives of the Saints Through 100 Masterpieces are companion volumes written by Jacques Duquesne and François Lebrette and translated from the French original by M. Cristina Borges.
“The 225-page trade paperback volumes are dominated by handsome full-color plates of impressive artworks from across the centuries. Hermits, monasteries, persecutions, church councils, fathers and doctors, the conversion of the Slavic world, the Borgias, Martin Luther, all process through the pages, in dramatic oil paintings and frescoes from German, French, Italian and Russian masters. . . . [H]andsome in the ways we have come to expect of books produced by Duquesne University Press and . . . impressive [in] content and intelligent design.” —The Pittsburgh Catholic
“Duquesne University Press has done something noteworthy by publishing two new full-color books which present masterpieces of art with accompanying text to illustrate key moments in the history of the Church, and also the lives of the saints.
The format of the books is simple. In each case, an introduction summarizes the overall subject matter in just a few pages, either the history of the veneration and selection of saints or the history of the Church. Then there is a series of 100 facing pages, with a magnificent painting reproduced on the right-hand page and the left-hand page given to the text which explains the scene. Both books are nicely printed on glossy paper with heavy glossy covers and glued bindings, in a size of 8.5 (h) by 6.5 (w). So these are in effect light versions of coffee-table books but happily they are priced accordingly.” —CatholicCulture.org
The rich history of the Christian church — with its centuries of dramas, splendors, achievements, and controversies — has long provided a deep source of inspiration for artists. Our own cultural familiarity with the historical aspects of this tradition, however, has waned in recent years. Thus, there exists an odd paradox: works of art have never been more carefully preserved and enhanced; museum exhibitions and visits to view artwork in churches and cathedrals have never been more popular. Yet the historical events and theological ideals depicted in such artistic masterpieces are quite often unknown or misunderstood.
The History of the Church through 100 Masterpieces has been designed to give that deeper meaning back to our experience of these paintings by providing insightful descriptions of the stories they purport to tell. Jacques Duquesne and François Lebrette choose a beautiful array of works — some already well known to us as visual images — to discuss, recounting both the historical events and the religious and cultural background surrounding them.
JACQUES DUQUESNE is a journalist and author. He is the cofounder and director of Le Point, a French magazine, and he contributes to La Croix and other publications. He is the author of numerous pieces on the themes of Jesus and Mary, including Jesus: An Unconventional Biography and Salve Regina: The Story of Mary, both originally published in French.
FRANÇOIS LEBRETTE is the editorial director of the collection Art et connaissances and the coauthor, together with Jacques Duquesne, of The History of the Church through 100 Masterpieces.