Art and Prayer: The Beauty of Turning to God


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1st in the Mount Tabor Book series!

Renowned art historian Timothy Verdon explores how sacred art can teach us to pray in this stunningly beautiful, richly illustrated book. "Images put before believers can in fact teach them how to turn to God in prayer…" This is the "art of prayer," when faith and prayer become creative responses by which the creatures learn to relate to the Creator. Read this book slowly and let the words and the art inform your meditations. A perfect gift for anyone who loves sacred art.

The new Mount Tabor Centre for Art and Spirituality in Barga, Italy, founded by the Community of Jesus, has a mission is to promote visual and performing arts, organize educational programs, and facilitate ecumenical exchange. It organizes study visits and international symposia, promotes dialogue on monastic history and spirituality in the arts, and presents exhibits of contemporary sacred art, choral concerts, and theatre productions.

Mount Tabor Books, focusing on liturgical worship, art and art history, ecumenism, and the first millennium church, carry the dual geographical notice of Brewster, Massachusetts, USA, and Barga, Italy, signaling the expansion of Paraclete Press to Europe.

Monsignor Timothy Verdon, one of the world's most respected art historians, is the Academic Director of the Mount Tabor Centre in Barga, Italy. He earned his PhD at Yale University and has lived in Florence, Italy, for the last half century where he also directs the Diocesan Office of Sacred Art and Church Cultural Heritage, the Cathedral Foundation Museum (Museo dell'Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore), and the Centre for Ecumenism of the Archdiocese of Florence.

"While Timothy Verdon's immense erudition in the European tradition of sacred art is everywhere apparent, this book is written for non-specialist readers willing to allow their practice of Christian prayer – both in liturgy and in personal devotion – to be enriched and given theological precision through art once intended for such work. My hope is surely that of Mons. Verdon himself: that this book may help to inspire both artists and their communities to create new art that is answerable to the various modes of prayer and worship, so that a book such as Verdon's could be written a generation hence with examples drawn from artworks newly commissioned for the contemporary church."
—Dr. John Skillen, director of the Studio for Art, Faith & History in Orvieto (Italy)

"At first glance a glossy gift book of religious art, this inspired—and inspiring—title from the publisher's new imprint explores prayer. "Images put before believers can in fact teach them how to turn to God in prayer," writes Verdon, a Catholic priest and art historian, "and in every age characterize man's encounter with God as 'a feast.'" The author, who specializes in art and spirituality, skillfully leads the reader through astute analyses of paintings and other art objects, each a puzzle to be investigated and a mystery to be pondered. Verdon's key themes unfurl through chapters on liturgical prayer, lectio divina, intercession, and the like, concluding with a tender reflection on prayer in the face of death. His discussions of prayer space and the dimension of time as it is experienced in prayer are illuminating. The author's analysis of art is grounded in the words of the Bible and early Christian writers such as Tertullian, Jerome, Augustine, and others in the Catholic tradition; his style is clear and engaging, accessible to the general reader. While Verdon, a long-time resident of Florence, focuses on Italian art of the Renaissance, he also considers works from other European countries and eras. Throughout he demonstrates not only mastery of his topics but also a love of great art and deep faith. The result is a visual and verbal feast for contemplation and study.
Publishers Weekly, December 2014

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