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Foundations of Christian Art (Sacred Art in Tradition) (Sacred Art in Tradition)

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Titus Burckhardt was a renowned expert on the art of traditional worlds. This book takes the reader through the history of Christian art, focusing especially upon architecture, iconography, and illumination.
Paperback, 128 pages
Published May 25th 2006 by World Wisdom Books (first published March 21st 2006)
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Titus Burckhardt (Ibrahim Izz al-Din after his Islamic name), a German Swiss, was born in Florence, Italy in 1908 and died in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1984.He devoted all his life to the study and exposition of the different aspects of Wisdom tradition.

He was an eminent member of the "Traditionalist School" of twentieth-century authors. He was a frequent contributor to the journal Studies in Compa
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“A work of art, if it is to be of spiritual import, need not be a "work of genius"; the authenticity of sacred art is guaranteed by its prototypes. A certain monotony is in any case inseparable from traditional methods; amid all the gaiety and pageantry that are the privilege of art, this monotony safeguards spiritual poverty - the non-attachment of the "poor in spirit" (Matt. 5:3) - and prevents individual genius from foundering in some sorts of hybrid monomania; genius is as it were absorbed by the collective style, with its norm derived from the universal. It is by the qualitative interpretations, to whatever degree, of the sacred models that the genius of the artist shows itself in a particular art; that is to say: instead of squandering itself in "breadth", it is refined and developed in "depth". One need only to think of an art such that of the ancient Egypt to see clearly how severity of style can itself lead to extreme perfection.

This allows us to understand how, at the time of the Renaissance, artistic geniuses suddenly sprang up almost everywhere, and with an overflowing vitality. The phenomenon is analogous to what happens in the soul of one who abandons a spiritual discipline. Psychic tendencies that have been kept in the background suddenly come to the fore, accompanied by a glittering riot of new sensations with the compulsive attaction of as yet unexhausted possibilities; but they lose their fascination as soon as the initial pressure of the soul is relaxed. Nevertheless, the emancipation of the "ego" being thenceforth the dominant motive, individualistic expansivity will continue to assert itself: it will conquer new planes, relatively lower than the first, the difference in psychic"levels" acting as the source of potential energy. This is the whole secret of the Promethean urge of the Renaissance.”
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