This pioneering study focuses on the decisive contributions of the three leading artists of the Northern Renaissance--Albrecht Durer, Lucas Cranach the Elder, and Hans Holbein the Younger-- to the printed Bible and to the transformation of ecclesiastical art in the Protestant Reformation.
A time of artistic and theological revolution, the Renaissance and Reformation also witnessed a visual reformation of the Bible. In David H. Price's new interpretation, these artists emerge as major reformers in their own right who created a dynamic and innovative visual culture of biblicism. In the Beginning Was the Image explicitly addresses a key paradox of the Bible's new cultural status: as divergent Bible editions and translations shattered the unity of Christianity, new artistic approaches arose to accommodate theological and textual diversity. Rulers and theologians produced new Bibles as foundations for transformative socio-political movements, and their success, according to Price's compelling research, depended on the inventiveness and creativity of these artists.
Written in a style designed to be accessible to a broad range of readers, Price's richly nuanced study explores the art of Durer, Cranach, and Holbein and the biblical iconographies they developed to connect the new biblicism to faith and political authority.
Price deserves great credit for this lavishly documented study. His various audiences will appreciate different parts of the book. Scholars of the Bible and the history of its consequences will welcome his decentering of the biblical text and the written and oral media usually studied for its interpretation (commentaries, sermons, and theological tracts). * Mark W. Hamilton, Abilene Christian University, TX, John Wiley & Sons * Comprehensive and Accessible * MARIAN KELSEY, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament * David Price's In the Beginning Was the Image is a smart, beautifully written, and methodologically sensitive contribution to Reformation scholarship. * Jeffrey Chipps Smith, University of Texas, Church History Journal * Superbly illustrated and clearly written, In the Beginning Was the Image is a landmark study. * CHOICE * It is most unusual to find, in one and the same book, sensitive and learned art history, profound knowledge of biblical scholarship, and a nuanced understanding of the Reformation era. Yet that is what David Price presents here. He knows Cranach, D"urer, and Holbein like few other scholars: yet his awareness of how these figures interacted with their contexts makes this book a special joy to read. * Euan K Cameron, Union Theological Seminary * David Price's new study is a tremendous achievement, offering new perspectives and radical differentiations that will change our understanding of this complex and much-studied period. Although the Renaissance is associated with the rediscovery of classical (pagan) culture, this groundbreaking new book shows DL through theoretically profound and enlightening analyses of major works of art DL the transformative role played by biblical philology inAthe Renaissance and Reformation. * Dr. Anne-Marie Bonnet, Institute of Art History, Friedrichs-Wilhelm-Universit"at * Indeed, this subtle analysis of word and image in Reformation-era German art does truly center on, and thoughtfully elucidates, the major printed biblical art by these principal masters. Price, already the author ofAAlbrecht D"urer's Renaissance, has now added Lucas Cranach and Hans Holbein to his repertoire in this book, which will become a touchstone for both scholars and laity alike. * Larry Silver, Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania *