Four Holy Gospels

At the beginning of the summer, I was lucky enough to visit the White Stone Gallery, an art gallery in Manayunk near Philadelphia, for David Chang’s display Manuscripts. Chang combined various coloring techniques with calligraphy to create quiet reflections on snippets of Scripture. You can probably make out a few of the words from the visual at the right ( this piece outlines the fruits of the Spirit), but the picture obviously can’t compare to seeing Chang’s pieces up close.

While at WSG, I also saw my very first original Makato Fujimura painting; I tell


Fujimura’s Charis-Kairos (The Tears of Christ)

 you I don’t think I’ve ever seen such vibrant color! Fujimura uses a technique called Nihonga, an artistic tradition practiced for centuries in Japan that actually is a form of watercolor. Along with the paints themselves, rock pigments,  ground from natural minerals, shells,  and sometimes semiprecious stone,  are crushed into surfaces. Fujimura is also fond of using gold leaf in his paintings.

I’m sure you won’t be able to resist doing a little bit of online digging to find out more about Fujimura, but I wanted to direct you to one of his most exciting projects, the Four Gospels Project. You can access the website here.

In honor of the King James Version Bible’s 400th anniversary in 2011 ( read a Touchstone article commemorating the occasion here), Crossway commissioned Fujimura to illuminate a special leather-bound edition of the four gospels.  The project includes five major pieces and detailed “drop caps” which introduce many of the chapters. The website desribes this innovative project as follows:  ”It is this unprecedented marriage of a modern, usually secular art form with ancient scripture that most interests Fujimura, who aims to depict ‘the greater reality that the Bible speaks of… for the pure sake of integrating faith and art in our current pluralistic, multicultural world.’”

Happy summer Salvo readers!

 

2 thoughts on “Four Holy Gospels

  1. One of the art critics said, “He’s able to produce works that say this is who I am”, referring to Fujimura. The images are saturated with subjectivity, revealing too much of Fujimura and too little of Christ and the content of the Gospels. The deference paid to the New York city elite is passe. Did Fujimura accomplish his aim, showing the viewer the “greater reality that the Bible speaks of…”? From the little I’ve seen of his watercolor work, the answer is a resounding no. The color red “symbolizes” one of the Gospels? Rather than a greater reality being revealed, we see a lessened reality, reduced to it’s most basic, symbolic property, entirely subjective and oriented to server the artists inner need.

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