The history of modern art has generally been understood as a grand leap away from tradition, religion, and conventional norms, yielding decidedly secular art. Yet a majority of the prominent modern artists in every period had strong interests in the spiritual dimension of life, which they expressed in the new art forms they created. The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art draws on direct statements by scores of leading artists – cited from little known historical documentation as well as contemporary interviews – to demonstrate that spirituality, far from being inconsequential in the terrain of modern art, is generative. This magisterial overview insightfully presents, for the first time, a chronological survey of the major art movements that weaves together spiritual profiles of numerous leading artists and situates their stories within the cultural context of each period. The result is a significantly expanded understanding of the cultural history of modern art.
The religious connotations of the Virgin Mary were "streamlined" when the Roman Catholic Church modernized itself at Vatican II. Although numerous constructive changes resulted from that global conference, the aesthetic, symbolic, cosmological, and mystical dimensions of Mary's spiritual presence were largely discarded in favor of a more rational version: solely the mother of Jesus and the first Christian. Missing Mary examines the cultural forces of modernity that required such a radical diminution and explores the deep meanings of Mary in her fullness.