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How Catholic Art Saved the Faith: The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  105 ratings  ·  16 reviews
Not long after Martin Luther's defiance of the Church in 1517, dialogue between Protestants and Catholics broke down, brother turned against brother, and devastating religious wars erupted across Europe. Desperate to restore the peace and recover the unity of Faith, Catholic theologians clarified and reaffirmed Catholic doctrines, but turned as well to another form of evan ...more
Paperback, 310 pages
Published September 20th 2018 by Sophia Institute Press
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Incredible! I know that when you read this, you will come back and write your own five-star rating.
Aline Mullen
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the book I never knew I was waiting for. A wonderful example of the marriage of art and faith in brief, easy essays. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the visual descriptions as well as the historical and papal contexts for art in the Catholic world post-Reformation. Lev does a brilliant job engaging and inspiring the reader to continue a tradition of understanding Catholic art in a modern environment not much different than that of 1600. Her arguments are perspective-changing. And with the mo ...more
This book is incredibly done, with beautiful photographs of the masterpieces Lev discusses in each of the chapters. I had heard Liz Lev being interviewed on EWTN, and I was intrigued. Knowing that I was going back to Italy this past spring, I wanted to be more aware of the artwork I would see in the churches in Rome. Who knew that this book would teach me how art played an important role in the Counter Reformation? I am not an art student, but Lev writes clearly, and I found myself going back an ...more
C. Michael
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is both visually attractive and attractively written, as befits a book about art. It presents a substantial amount of history, theology, and art interpretation in prose that never bogs down with excessive detail or wordiness. Many of the works that are featured will be familiar to anyone who has studied art history, but Lev's interpretations are not always the same as those promoted in current mainline art history texts. Paintings are featured, but sculpture, architecture, and urban de ...more
Peter Darcy
Sep 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written book with high definition graphics in just about every chapter. The publisher (Sophia Institute) must have spent a fortune printing it. Elizabeth Lev has serious creds in the Catholic art world, and that shows in her analysis of the post-Reformation period. Exquisitely researched but written as if she were standing in front of the painting offering a casual analysis with students while pointing out details. The whole theme of art saving the Faith was new to me and deeply refr ...more
Emily Simon
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I wholeheartedly appreciate the fact that this book included so many full-color treasures of Catholic art. One of the more memorable lessons I learned throughout the book was to notice how artists, through unoccupied space or a pointed gaze, left a place in their work for the viewer. It's amazing to think how many individuals have interacted throughout the years with the messages included in these beautiful monuments. So grateful to Elizabeth Lev for providing an introduction into this world! ...more
Connor Curts
Sep 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Interesting and a nice overview of some art that the Church produced in response to the Reformers, but a bit misleading with the title. It doesn’t go very much in depth about how the art saved the faith or how it truly affected people, mostly just the intent behind it and historical background of why and where it was created.
Jill Poulsen
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I love this theory that art was what saved the faith and it is obviously very personal for Liz Lev. The printing of this book and the replications of the art are fantastic. I highly recommend having Liz give you a tour of the Vatican Museums after you've finished it! ...more
Eugene Wong
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic-art
Got this as a Christmas gift and it is truly a gem of a gift. This is a book that will open your world to beauty and truth. It has ignited my love for the Catholic Faith, Art and our salvation history. Highly recommended!
A Reading
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: heaven-on-earth
A great book to read before traveling to Rome. I learned much about why there is such abundant beautiful art there and how to "read" the artwork as well. ...more
Joy Mistur
Feb 11, 2021 rated it it was ok
Beautiful reproductions
Akasleen Ryan
Beautiful photos. Short essays.
Nov 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting and accessible! Amazing how much we have lost the ability to "read" great works of art, but I also appreciated her suggestions for how to recapture that vision. ...more
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gorgeous book with lots of information that is both orthodox and historically accurate. Wonderfully informative about art history in relation to Christianity.
Tomas Riklius
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history-of-art
Splendidly written, a wonderful rendition of post-Tridentine artworks and their contextual meanings in the Catholic reform.
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: catholic-faith
Interesting look at the Counter Reformation time period ( 1520s-1650) inside the Catholic Church through Catholic art, artists, popes, clergy, and the faithful. Descriptions of individual art pieces is extremely thought provoking. I most enjoyed part III of the text. Well done.
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Elizabeth Lev is an American-born art historian with the good fortune to live and work in Rome. Life in the “Eternal City” allows her the perfect environment to pursue her many passions. For on an average day, one can find Elizabeth working on her latest article or book, preparing for one of her worldwide speaking engagements, touring visitors through the treasures of Rome, or using her skills as ...more

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