Society for the Arts,
Religion and Contemporary Culture

Fall 1998 Program


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John Dillenberger
Theological Perceptions and Visual Images in Sixteenth Century Europe
Oxford University Press,  January, 1999

Jane Daggett Dillenberger
The Religious Art of Andy Warhol
Continuum, November, 1998

The Washington Post review of
The Religious Art of Andy Warhol

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Visit the Continuum Books website for a fascinating
introduction to the book including Warhol illustrations

November 7, 1998

House of the Redeemer
7 East 95th Street
(between Madison and Fifth)
New York, New York

Two case studies in the visual arts and theology

At a time when Western traditions are being challenged by perceptions and methodologies from other times and cultures, it is instructive to look at Western traditions again in the light of this diversity of views. Now a Western world that once seemed fairly coherent is shown to be full of fissures that have been papered over. This is particularly evident when one looks at the relation of the visual arts to theology. The two represent an intricate, complex mosaic, representing affinities and differences, both instructive as they furtively vie with each other in an uneasy and never fulfilled longing for unity.

The November program focuses on two periods as a laboratory of exploration, namely the sixteenth century period of reformations and the present. The period of reformations centers in the differing and unifying perceptions of both theologians and artists, and the ways in which they influenced each other. Obviously, the theologians: Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the artists: Grünewald, Dürer, Cranach the Elder and Michelangelo, are part of the dialogue. The contemporary scene will focus on the work of Andy Warhol, whose life and work in the eyes of many is far removed from the world of religion. Nevertheless, Warhol did extensive work on religious themes reflecting his own faith commitments.


What happens to cultures when some sensibilities drop out;
what happens when some cannot be forgotten.

Wholeness: a barometer of faith or an illusion that distorts what we know.

The past and the present; dialogues that divide and illumine

Schedule, Lecture titles and brief bios

9:30 am registration and refreshments

10:00 am John (Tim) Nuveen, presiding

"Reformations and Artistic Sensibilities (or their absence.)"

John Dillenberger is professor emeritus at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA, received his theological degree from Union Theological and his doctorate from Columbia University, and has taught at various institutions on both the East and West coasts. He was head of the Graduate Theological Union during its formative first decade, president of Hartford Seminary in the late 70’s and early 80's. Grounded in the reformation period, with editions of Selections from Luther and Calvin, he also turned to the natural sciences and the visual arts, having published in both arenas. His book, Theological Perceptions and Visual Images in Sixteenth Century Europe will be published by Oxford University Press in January.

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Da Vinci's Last Supper

11:00 Response by Nelvin Vos, Mulenberg College


1:00 Nelvin Vos, presiding

"The Enigma of Andy Warhol and his religious paintings."

Jane Daggett Dillenberger is professor emerita at the Graduate Theological Union, did her work in art history at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Fogg at Harvard. She was among the first to introduce courses in art history and theology, initially at Drew and then at the Graduate Theological Union. She has been curator of ground breaking exhibitions and their catalogues, such as the Art of Elihu Vedder, The Hand and the Spirit: Religious art in America (with Joshua Taylor), Perceptions of the Spirit in Twentieth Century American Art (with John Dillenberger). Among her books are Style and Content in Christian Art, Secular Art with Sacred Themes, Image and Spirit in Sacred and Secular Art. This Fall, Continuum is publisher of her volume, The Religious Art of Andy Warhol.

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Warhol's Last Supper

2:00 Response by Terrence (Terry) Dempsey, S.J.


3:00 General Discussion on the themes of the day

4:00 Reception

And while you are in  New York why not
visit the Metropolitan's exhibit:

From Van Eyck to Bruegel:
Early Netherlandish Paintings

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Webpage design courtesy ARIL
Charles Henderson, Executive Director

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