Monday, July 12, 2010

Iconic AND Iconclastic: Reformation of the Image Cannot Be Preached

Who would have guessed that the third massive volume of a majesterial trilogy by art professor Joseph Leo Koerner would be so prophetic and profound for church?

The first volumes are "The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art," and
"Caspar David Friederich and the Subject of Landscape."

Uh, not the type of volume usually on my bedstand.

But the third volume is "The Reformation of the Image," and I thank God and Mark DeRaud for turning us onto it (Reading the preface suggests that the first two volumes are..surprisingly... relevant theologically as well).

Why doesn't this guy get invited to speak (and show art) at pastor's conferences??
Don't answer that (Though Mark will)!!

At the outset, the author offers that the book:

"rests on the dual premise that images never go away,and that they persist and function by being perpetually destroyed." (p. 12).

But it's the very last sentence (p. 444) that will really preach (oops, that is precisely and ironically the wrong phrase...and that is the point):

"After struggling to say something more than the word turned image in the picture, we are greeted by the image that cannot be preached."

BONUS: Here below is part of a video interview I did with Mark for a church history class I taught, where he mentions and plugs the book. Here's a link to an interview with Koerner (also see the "labels" below for more related posts)." And the best bonus of all, much the book itself is
a free read on Google Books.

Imagine that.

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