Art and Spiritual Experience: Exploring the Romantic Period (Paperback)
Recent years have seen an increasing interest in spirituality, notwithstanding the decline in church attendance and general disengagement from formal worship.
In this original book David Greenwood explores how works of art, and especially landscape paintings, can trigger awareness of the transcendental, open paths to religious and spiritual experience, and offer artistic windows into God.
This interdisciplinary study begins by setting the philosophical background, starting with the reawakening of the discipline of aesthetics, and the development of Idealism in Germany promoted by Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Schelling, one of the consequence of which was the recognition of landscape painting as an expression of high art.
The author argues that some artists express their view of God through their paintings, producing images transfigured by the divine which can induce mystical experiences in the mind of the viewer and could be used as aids to devotion and even be regarded as sacred. A discussion of religious experience and trigger factors is included, embracing the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher and Rudolf Otto. The works of a number of artists have been considered in this study but special emphasis is given to Samuel Palmer in Britain and to his contemporary, Caspar David Friedrich in Germany
David Greenwood holds degrees in engineering and theology and achieved his doctorate with a multidisciplinary study bringing together elements of art history, philosophy and theology. This unusual background in both science and the humanities allows him to write with both lucidity and coherence.
This work should appeal to all readers interested in the relationship between art and religion, and especially in novel approaches to the numinous. It treats with the interconnections between art history, spirituality, philosophy, mysticism and theology. Questions which are often left unexamined when these disciplines are looked at individually are here subjected to interdisciplinary enquiry, raising the study of spiritual experience to a level not often encountered.