The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art Art History Reconsidered, 1800 to the Present

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2014-10-23
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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The history of modern art has generally been understood as a grand leap away from tradition, religion, and conventional norms, yielding decidedly secular art. Yet a majority of the prominent modern artists in every period had strong interests in the spiritual dimension of life, which they expressed in the new art forms they created. The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art draws on direct statements by scores of leading artists - cited from little known historical documentation as well as contemporary interviews - to demonstrate that spirituality, far from being inconsequential in the terrain of modern art, is generative. This magisterial overview insightfully presents, for the first time, a chronological survey of the major art movements that weaves together spiritual profiles of numerous leading artists and situates their stories within the cultural context of each period. The result is a significantly expanded understanding of the cultural history of modern art.

Author Biography

Charlene Spretnak is the author of several books on cultural history, religion and spirituality, and social criticism, including States of Grace, The Resurgence of the Real, Missing Mary, and Relational Reality. A professor emeritus in religion and philosophy, she lives with her husband in Ojai, California.

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Great Underground River That Flows Through Modern Art
1. The 19th Century: Expressing Christian Themes in a Newly Secular World
2. 1880-1918 in an Industrializing Europe The Quest to Save Civilization from Materialism through a New Art Informed by Esoteric Spirituality
3. The Inter-War Period (1919-1939): The Reaction against Esoteric Spirituality
4. The Post-World-War-II Period to the Present: Subtle Expressions That Allude to the Ineffable
5. A Steady Stream from the 1850s to the post-1980 Florescence: Sacred Presence in Body and Nature: Spirituality of Immanence
6. 1950 to the Present: Art That Was 'Rocked in the Bosom of Abraham'
7. The Aesthetic Holds the Mystery
Appendix: From the Ineffable to the Unspeakable … and Back?
Index of Artists

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