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75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film

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Some of the greatest painters, musicians, architects, writers, filmmakers, and poets have taken their inspiration from their faith and impacted millions of people with their stunning creations. Now readers can discover the stories behind seventy-five of these masterpieces and the artists who created them. From the art of the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt to Makoto Fujimura; Some of the greatest painters, musicians, architects, writers, filmmakers, and poets have taken their inspiration from their faith and impacted millions of people with their stunning creations. Now readers can discover the stories behind seventy-five of these masterpieces and the artists who created them. From the art of the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt to Makoto Fujimura; from Gregorian Chant to Bach to U2; from John Bunyan and John Donne to Flannery O'Connor and Frederick Buechner; this book unveils the rich and varied artistic heritage left by believers who were masters at their craft. Author and historian Terry Glaspey shares the absorbing true stories behind these masterpieces and helps readers see the fascinating details they might have missed. By looking through the eyes of these creative artists, readers will gain deeper perspectives about the human condition, the Christian story, and their own spiritual lives.


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Some of the greatest painters, musicians, architects, writers, filmmakers, and poets have taken their inspiration from their faith and impacted millions of people with their stunning creations. Now readers can discover the stories behind seventy-five of these masterpieces and the artists who created them. From the art of the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt to Makoto Fujimura; Some of the greatest painters, musicians, architects, writers, filmmakers, and poets have taken their inspiration from their faith and impacted millions of people with their stunning creations. Now readers can discover the stories behind seventy-five of these masterpieces and the artists who created them. From the art of the Roman catacombs to Rembrandt to Makoto Fujimura; from Gregorian Chant to Bach to U2; from John Bunyan and John Donne to Flannery O'Connor and Frederick Buechner; this book unveils the rich and varied artistic heritage left by believers who were masters at their craft. Author and historian Terry Glaspey shares the absorbing true stories behind these masterpieces and helps readers see the fascinating details they might have missed. By looking through the eyes of these creative artists, readers will gain deeper perspectives about the human condition, the Christian story, and their own spiritual lives.

30 review for 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music, and Film

  1. 5 out of 5

    Biographyguy

    I absolutely loved this book. If you need a well written and concise introduction to the various kinds of masterpieces of the Christian world that are out there just waiting to be discovered, this is the book for you. From Dante's The Divine Comedy, to Michelangelo's The Sistine Chapel, to Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, to JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, to U2's The Joshua Tree, there are so many masterpieces that I have heard of(all those I've named) and many others I hadn't(Like Bob I absolutely loved this book. If you need a well written and concise introduction to the various kinds of masterpieces of the Christian world that are out there just waiting to be discovered, this is the book for you. From Dante's The Divine Comedy, to Michelangelo's The Sistine Chapel, to Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, to JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, to U2's The Joshua Tree, there are so many masterpieces that I have heard of(all those I've named) and many others I hadn't(Like Bob Dylan's Infidels). The 75 masterpieces in this book come from all walks of life and cultures. The author acknowledged that this book is just an introduction to them and that the reader should embark upon discovering each of them in a more in depth manner. I plan to do so, at least in terms of the various novels(which is why I'm on Goodreads). 5 stars from me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    Well written, gorgeously illustrated, downfall is that it’s soaked in pious credulity, circular language where the art ( etc) relating to religion is good because wearing religious goggles it’s good. Lots of fascinating trivia. Didn’t know that Newton ( if amazing grace fame) was actually a slave himself once etc. for those who can’t stomach ridiculous religious superstition as the frame of the commentary, try to skim read these bits. Architecture such as la sacrada familia, pretty because ... r Well written, gorgeously illustrated, downfall is that it’s soaked in pious credulity, circular language where the art ( etc) relating to religion is good because wearing religious goggles it’s good. Lots of fascinating trivia. Didn’t know that Newton ( if amazing grace fame) was actually a slave himself once etc. for those who can’t stomach ridiculous religious superstition as the frame of the commentary, try to skim read these bits. Architecture such as la sacrada familia, pretty because ... religion? Give me a break. Christians will love the book presumably. Non Christiansen have to appreciate anything of value while not thinking the are in part three of a H . Bosch tryptic

  3. 4 out of 5

    Prairie Sky Book Reviews

    If you enjoy any type of art, whether it be visual arts, music, film, writing, or anything else, “75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories Behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music and Film” by Terry Glaspey is a must-have book for your shelf! From the outside, this book has the appearance of textbook.  And in some ways, it is something of a textbook, as it is filled with information to enrich your knowledge and understanding of 75 examples from many different kinds If you enjoy any type of art, whether it be visual arts, music, film, writing, or anything else, “75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know: The Fascinating Stories Behind Great Works of Art, Literature, Music and Film” by Terry Glaspey is a must-have book for your shelf! From the outside, this book has the appearance of textbook.  And in some ways, it is something of a textbook, as it is filled with information to enrich your knowledge and understanding of 75 examples from many different kinds of arts. But it is so very much more than a textbook too.  In fact, it could even be used as a devotional.  Each chapter focuses on a different work of art that is not only “impressive” but has a richer element to it that takes us deeper in our understanding of the Heart of the Creator of all art. One of the things that I appreciate most about this book is how accessible it is.  It does not have to be read cover to cover, or even in order.  Each chapter is it’s own little unit about a specific piece of art that can be read by itself.  I enjoy skipping around to various chapters that spark my interest most.  I also really like that there is not “too much” information in each chapter.  The author of this book has struck just the right balance and length for each chapter.  There is enough information to give you a good understanding and appreciation for each piece or artwork.  But there is also not so much to read that it feels heavy, and like it’s hard to make time for.  Each chapter is deep enough to be thought-provoking, while still being short enough to be easily digestible and fun to read.   I absolutely recommend this book to anyone and everyone.  Christians will enjoy it for the artistic appreciation and the deep faith content.  But I believe even non-Christians could also gain from it as well for it’s insight and knowledge.  Truly, this is one of the best books I have picked up in recent years - a masterpiece of its own. I received this book courtesy of Moody Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I had mixed feelings reading this book. The biggest negative was how it is marketed: “75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know.” Really? Says who? The author’s criteria (stated in the introduction, which I referred to again after I finished the book) seem somewhat arbitrary, and perhaps he is being generous when he says a few of the artists he highlighted seem a “a little unorthodox.” The other negative for me was a lack of ample illustrations. But in the modern world of google images, this d I had mixed feelings reading this book. The biggest negative was how it is marketed: “75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know.” Really? Says who? The author’s criteria (stated in the introduction, which I referred to again after I finished the book) seem somewhat arbitrary, and perhaps he is being generous when he says a few of the artists he highlighted seem a “a little unorthodox.” The other negative for me was a lack of ample illustrations. But in the modern world of google images, this deficiency was easily circumnavigable. On the other hand, this book invited me to appreciate the works of a dozen or so artists with whose work I was mostly unfamiliar. For me, these included deep dives into the works of George Herbert, Antoni Gaudi, Caspar David Friedrich, James Tissot, Holman Hunt, and Graham Greene, to name a few. The book also opened up new vistas surrounding the work of a few other artists with whom I was already somewhat familiar. I began this book on January 1 and did not finish it until December 18, taking time between almost every chapter to investigate the various artists. All in all, perhaps this was the most influential book I read in 2018, precisely because of all the new avenues for further exploration it opened up for me. 2019 promises to be a year in which I continue to read the works of a few other authors and poets Glaspey’s book invited me to begin to know.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elena

    I am not a fan of the title (I get annoyed with gimmicky titles), nor do I agree that every Christian would necessarily benefit from or be interested in being exposed to all these masterpieces, and that is okay. But for those who appreciate art history, especially from a Christian perspective, this is an excellent read. I enjoyed reading about the majority of the masterpieces, with a few being a bit too modern and abstract for my taste. Masterpieces I enjoyed reading about (along with the short I am not a fan of the title (I get annoyed with gimmicky titles), nor do I agree that every Christian would necessarily benefit from or be interested in being exposed to all these masterpieces, and that is okay. But for those who appreciate art history, especially from a Christian perspective, this is an excellent read. I enjoyed reading about the majority of the masterpieces, with a few being a bit too modern and abstract for my taste. Masterpieces I enjoyed reading about (along with the short biographies about the artists) include the hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" by Martin Luther, the painting The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by Caravaggio, The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, the choral piece popular around Christmastime, Messiah, by Handel, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh, The Innocence of Father Brown by G.K. Chesterton (read it a few months ago and enjoyed it!), The Annunciation painting by Henry Ossowa Tanner, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, At Folsom Prison album by Jonny Cash, and The Joshua Tree album by U2. Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Moody Publishers Newsroom in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own. Rating: G

  6. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    This book is an incredibly full and rich collection of essays centering on seventy-five Christian artists and their creations. They range from paintings in the Roman catacombs to the film The Tree of Life, by Terrence Malick. The essays are a wonderful “art appreciation” course. They include masterpieces you might expect, like The Divine Comedy, by Dante, or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo and many that you might not expect: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; the Frank Capra fi This book is an incredibly full and rich collection of essays centering on seventy-five Christian artists and their creations. They range from paintings in the Roman catacombs to the film The Tree of Life, by Terrence Malick. The essays are a wonderful “art appreciation” course. They include masterpieces you might expect, like The Divine Comedy, by Dante, or the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo and many that you might not expect: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen; the Frank Capra film It’s a Wonderful Life; Johnny Cash’s At Folsom Prison; or Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws by Bruce Cockburn. Each essay includes a brief biography of the artist’s life. I came away with an appreciation for the lives of the artists as well as their contributions. They were sinners and imperfect individuals, yet managed to overcome handicaps to produce masterpieces that have blessed multitudes.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kara Burgess

    Glaspey accomplished his mission of creating short vignettes of 75 masterpieces. His writing was clear and interesting, encouraging one to dig deeper into those that interested the reader. Glaspey's definition of a Christian artist/masterpiece was quite loose; by biblical standards, I would estimate that over half of the subjects were not truly Christians. I was also disappointed by the majority of the contemporary masterpieces, as Glaspey covered many artists that I would not view as God-honori Glaspey accomplished his mission of creating short vignettes of 75 masterpieces. His writing was clear and interesting, encouraging one to dig deeper into those that interested the reader. Glaspey's definition of a Christian artist/masterpiece was quite loose; by biblical standards, I would estimate that over half of the subjects were not truly Christians. I was also disappointed by the majority of the contemporary masterpieces, as Glaspey covered many artists that I would not view as God-honoring, seeming even to make excuses for profanity and innuendo in their work as well as major issues in their testimony such as drug addiction and prison time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This book was a beautifully presented combination of visual arts, history, and biography. Each article was 4-5 pages long, giving the reader a brief overview of the particular masterpiece and its creator. Some masterpieces were absolutely expected: How could anyone overlook the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or Handel's "Messiah"? Others completely surprised me, such as recordings by Bob Dylan and U2. Many I had never even heard of. I'm looking forward to a possible sequel, "75 MORE Masterpieces Ev This book was a beautifully presented combination of visual arts, history, and biography. Each article was 4-5 pages long, giving the reader a brief overview of the particular masterpiece and its creator. Some masterpieces were absolutely expected: How could anyone overlook the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel or Handel's "Messiah"? Others completely surprised me, such as recordings by Bob Dylan and U2. Many I had never even heard of. I'm looking forward to a possible sequel, "75 MORE Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know."

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mar

    This book covers 75 works of Art such as paintings, sculptures, novels, music, films, which Glaspey believes every Christian should know. Some were known to me and some weren't. He goes up to 2011 in terms of recent works, but most are more historical. He covers the art work itself, and then gives some background on the author. Each reader will likely agree with many of the choices and may have chosen some other pieces to replace some of Glaspey's choices based on personal tastes and interests, This book covers 75 works of Art such as paintings, sculptures, novels, music, films, which Glaspey believes every Christian should know. Some were known to me and some weren't. He goes up to 2011 in terms of recent works, but most are more historical. He covers the art work itself, and then gives some background on the author. Each reader will likely agree with many of the choices and may have chosen some other pieces to replace some of Glaspey's choices based on personal tastes and interests, but overall it is a book which might expand readers horizons.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Arlie

    For the most part, a decent overview. It ended on a good note for me, as I ended up listening to Larry Norman and Bruce Cockburn - very nostalgic. I had to get over his introductory sentences, some of which were a stretch and reminded me of student writing when we would practice introductory sentences.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Gerald Koskinen

    This took me a while, over 3 months. As I would read each masterpiece I would explore them deeper. I would listen to the music, I would order the book, I would at least research paintings and maybe someday I’ll go see a few. I enjoyed the book and the background information given. A great book for anyone.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

    A fascinating collection of 75 different works of art (including music, literature, and architecture) with great cultural and religious significance. While I am befuddled by some of his choices (both what he included and what he left out), it's a great general guidebook for anyone wanting to explore in the realm of art and literature. A fascinating collection of 75 different works of art (including music, literature, and architecture) with great cultural and religious significance. While I am befuddled by some of his choices (both what he included and what he left out), it's a great general guidebook for anyone wanting to explore in the realm of art and literature.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Four stars, not so much for the informational content the book provides, but rather for the exposure it provides to its subject matter - each showcased work (or artist) is worth further pursuit, to the tastes of the pursuer. I for one have a new list of books to read, music to hear, and art to see.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeanann

    Dense with information, but well and broadly researched, surprising, and well worth the mining.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Trevor Atwood

    Highly recommend this as an introductory text to learn about art and its relationship to Christianity.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    I was excited to read this book because I wanted to discover new things and also remember art, music, movies, etc that I already know about. This book is not an exhaustive list of any kind but it is a fun informative almost textbook like book. I think you could add this to a homeschool class easily. There are some great pictures and I liked reading the back story to different works of art or hymns. There were some things that surprised me that I wasn't expecting but that made it all the better. I was excited to read this book because I wanted to discover new things and also remember art, music, movies, etc that I already know about. This book is not an exhaustive list of any kind but it is a fun informative almost textbook like book. I think you could add this to a homeschool class easily. There are some great pictures and I liked reading the back story to different works of art or hymns. There were some things that surprised me that I wasn't expecting but that made it all the better. If you are looking for a unique book like this I do recommend it! Five Stars. "I received this book from the publisher for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katherine Wacker

    In his book, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know, Terry Glaspey highlights the best in the world of art, beginning with the catacombs in Rome to U2’s The Joshua Tree. Arranged in chronological order, each profile has a brief description of the work, a biography sketch of the artist behind it, and a short explanation as to why it was included in the book. 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know is useful in educating people of faith about the world of art, film, music, and literature. In his book, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know, Terry Glaspey highlights the best in the world of art, beginning with the catacombs in Rome to U2’s The Joshua Tree. Arranged in chronological order, each profile has a brief description of the work, a biography sketch of the artist behind it, and a short explanation as to why it was included in the book. 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know is useful in educating people of faith about the world of art, film, music, and literature. The entries range from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice to Johnny Cash’s Folsom Prison. To his credit, the author does not argue from a specific theological viewpoint, but explains in a skillful and concise manner how the artists’ faith influenced their works. 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know is well-written, informative, and entertaining. I highly recommend it. I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rick Devries

    Excellent!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Leonard

    This is a great book for people who gain a lot of faith from the creative artists. It includes a few pages of information about the masterpiece and, for the visual arts, an image. Some of the selections are predictable such as John Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress and Michelangelo's ceiling of the Cistern Chapel and others are more surprising but just as legitimate choices such as an album by Bruce Cockburn and Solzhenitsyn's book "Cancer Ward." Also included are The Book of Kells, The Lord of the Rin This is a great book for people who gain a lot of faith from the creative artists. It includes a few pages of information about the masterpiece and, for the visual arts, an image. Some of the selections are predictable such as John Bunyan's Pilgrims Progress and Michelangelo's ceiling of the Cistern Chapel and others are more surprising but just as legitimate choices such as an album by Bruce Cockburn and Solzhenitsyn's book "Cancer Ward." Also included are The Book of Kells, The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, "Amazing Grace, " and The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, and many more. This book can be a strong affirmation of one's Christian beliefs. Very worthwhile.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    This was such an interesting book to read. Some of the pieces cited were ones that I expected, such as "The Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel" and Handel's "Messiah", but others were really unexpected like "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Joshua Tree" by U2. I learned about works that I didn't even know existed, such as "Ordo Virtutum" by Hildegard of Bingen and "Only Visiting This Planet" by Larry Norman. The book isn't one that you would want to devour in one sitting, but one that you allow yourself This was such an interesting book to read. Some of the pieces cited were ones that I expected, such as "The Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel" and Handel's "Messiah", but others were really unexpected like "Pride and Prejudice" and "The Joshua Tree" by U2. I learned about works that I didn't even know existed, such as "Ordo Virtutum" by Hildegard of Bingen and "Only Visiting This Planet" by Larry Norman. The book isn't one that you would want to devour in one sitting, but one that you allow yourself a chapter or two a day so that you can truly savor what you read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    Great book. Learned some interesting things and was overall encouraged and amazed.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Columba

    Sounds like a great book, and good prospect for Columba day. includes not just "art" art but poetry, music, etc. cath. Sounds like a great book, and good prospect for Columba day. includes not just "art" art but poetry, music, etc. cath.

  23. 4 out of 5

    D.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tim Kniffin

  25. 5 out of 5

    Louise Anderson

  26. 5 out of 5

    Don

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susanna

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katy Comber

  30. 5 out of 5

    Charlene

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