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Spirit and Art

Pictures of the Transformation of Consciousness

Paperback
January 2002
9780880104975
More details
  • Publisher
    SteinerBooks
  • Published
    21st January 2002
  • ISBN 9780880104975
  • Language English
  • Pages 256 pp.
$30.00

“As an art student in the late sixties, I recall how painfully dry and intellectual my art history classes were. I thought to myself, or rather felt to myself, ‘There must be something more’” (Van James).

Artist Van James offers that something more. This is a richly readable and lavishly illustrated text that reveals how, at every stage, human consciousness has evolved through the medium of art. It makes the case for a hidden stream that has put forth art works and art movements throughout history, in an ongoing visible revelation of invisible spiritual currents.

Art, originally a part of the secret Mystery cults of the ancient world, has become an expression of the individual creative intuition. At every stage, Albert Einstein’s comment applies: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

“This coffee-table book on sacred art has a rather unique twist: It concentrates on art that reveals ‘the transformation of consciousness,’ narrowing in particularly on images from ancient mystery cults and cave drawings from Paleolithic times. James has selected art from ancient Greece, Egypt, Africa, and parts of Asia, explicating what he sees as its spiritual themes. This is in some ways a personal book, as its selections are eclectic and highly individual, but the text is also rigorous, informed by theorists such as Mircea Eliade, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and especially Rudolf Steiner. One wishes that the 300-plus illustrations were larger and in color, but an eight-page color tip-in helps to stimulate visual interest.”

- Pacifica Journal, no. 33, 2008

C O N T E N T S:

Introduction: The Spiritual in Art

PART ONE: FROM WEST TO EAST

I. ECHOES OF ANCIENT MYSTERIES

1. The Spiritual in Modern Art
2. A Modern Master
3. The Road to Modernism
4. The Dance of Death
5. Renaissance and Realism
6. Cathedral
7. Catacomb

II. ANCIENT ART OF THE GRECO–ROMAN ERA

1. Power and Glory
2. The Mithraic Mysteries
3. The Art of Balance
4. Free Form
5. The Oracles and the Mysteries
6. The Labyrinth and the Bull

III. THE ART AND MYSTERIES OF ANCIENT EGYPT

1. The Art and Craft of the Mysteries
2 Egyptian Theosophy
3. Immortal Images
4. Art of the Riddle
5. The Royal Art
6. The Temple Is Man
7. In Praise of the Sun

IV. MEGALITHIC CULTURE AND ART

1. Hibernian Mysteries
2. Druidism
3. Three faces of Megalithic Man
4. Megalithic Monuments
5. Cosmic Script
6. Sun and Cross

PART TWO: FROM EAST TO WEST

V. MYSTERY IMAGES

1. Image and Symbol
2. Asian Art
3. Near-Eastern Art
4. African Art
5. Art of the Americas
6. The Art of Oceania
7. Australian Aboriginal Art

VI. PALEOLITHIC ART AND CAVE MYSTERIES

1. Primal History, Prehistory, and History
2. The Primal Human Being
3. Initiatory Art
4. Animal Magic
5. The Shaman
6. The Goddess

Epilogue: Art and the New Mysteries
Appendices

Van James

Van James is an artist, author, Steiner–Waldorf educator, and international advocate for the arts. A longtime teaching artist in Hawai’i, he is a council member of the Visual Art Section of North America, a mentor with the Academy of Himalayan Art and Child Development, editor of Pacifica Journal, and an award-winning author of numerous books on culture and the arts, including Painting with Hand, Head and Heart: A Natural Approach to the Art of Painting (2013); The Secret Language of Form: Visual Meaning in Art and Nature (2007); and Spirit and Art: Pictures of the Transformation of Consciousness (2003).