The Forge of Vision: A Visual History of Modern Christianity

David Morgan

Religions teach their adherents how to see and feel at the same time; learning to see is not a disembodied process but one hammered from the forge of human need, social relations, and material practice. Morgan, professor of religion and visual studies, argues that the history of religions may therefore be studied through the lens of their salient visual themes. He tells the history of Christianity from the 16th century through the present by selecting the visual themes of faith that have profoundly influenced its development.

After exploring how distinctive Catholic and Protestant visual cultures emerged in the early modern period, Morgan examines a variety of Christian visual practices, ranging from the imagination, visions of nationhood, the likeness of Jesus, the material life of words, and the role of modern art as a spiritual quest, to the importance of images for education, devotion, worship, and domestic life. An insightful, informed presentation of how Christianity has shaped and continues to shape the modern world, this work is a must-read for scholars and students across fields of religious studies, history, and art history.