I like to integrate fine art and Biblical themes when I teach, whether it is in my own home or in our home school co-op English or history classes.
Our 5th and 6th graders have been studying the early church in history class and reading through the book of Acts in English class. In class this week, I showed them several pieces from the huge volume of Great Bible Stories and Master Paintings by Owen S. Rachleff, which was a gift from my late father-in-law in our early home schooling years. I wish we had more time to take a long look at them! Maybe next week... You can look up these paintings on-line, keeping in mind that there are variations in titles. I have linked some of them here:
- “The Liberation of St. Peter” by Raphael (Italian, 1483-1520)
- “Apostle Paul in Prison” by Rembrandt (Dutch, 1606-1669)
- “St. John the Evangelist on Patmos” by Hieronymous Bosch (Flemish, c. 1450-1516)
Another masterpiece that I've been enjoying lately is "The Adoration of the Lamb of God" by Flemish painter Jan Van Eyck. This picture has graced the front of our church bulletin every week in this liturgical season after Pentecost. I wonder what painting will come next?
The painting you see above is not even the full piece of art. It is a portion of the lower center panel in a polyptych (multi-panel) piece.
You can find wonderful commentaries on masterpiece paintings on-line. Here are two which are particularly helpful for this piece:
For example, within its lengthy description, the latter of these sites notes, "Thus the central panel of the lower tier portrays the saints symbolizing the eight Beatitudes gathered round the altar where the sacrifice of the Lamb is taking place, at the centre of the heavenly garden which has sprung from His blood."
I encourage you to look at the sites I linked and study this painting and others. On my class blog in previous years, I posted several lessons which include a lot of Biblical art along with associated writing and literature assignments.