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The Bible and Art.
The Bible and the Visual Imagination.
Imaging the Bible in Wales. The Bible and Art. Art in the Abrahamic Faiths.




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Research Opportunities






The Bible and Art: Towards an Interdisciplinary Methodology

While the disciplines of Biblical Studies and Art History/Visual Culture are mutually beneficial, rarely do they interact significantly in the context of serious academic research and teaching: little or no research has been conducted on the nature of the complex relationship that exists between the textual/literary and visual articulation of biblical thought, or in order to examine the various types of correspondence between word and image in the biblical context. Ironically, artworks (especially painting) are now used extensively by biblical commentators to illustrate specific readings of texts but are frequently used subjectively or with little knowledge or appreciation of the subtleties and potential meanings the painting offers.

Conversely, art historians, when analysing paintings with biblical subject-matter, frequently reveal their lack of appreciation of the literary dynamic and intricacies of the corresponding biblical text. The aim of the project is to work towards a methodology that enhances and refines the way biblical writers and commentators use artworks as ‘readings’ of the corresponding biblical text and encourages art historians to engage more fully with the literary dynamic of biblical texts, the sources of so much artistic subject-matter.

The second symposium in the series for this project took place at the Manchester Art Gallery on Saturday 22 September 2007:

The Shadow & The Real

The first event relating to this project took place at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, Birmingham on 13 May 2006:

The Bible and Painting

Project Directors:
Professor Martin O'Kane
Professor John Harvey

Funded by the British Academy


Oil painting by Bartlomolé Esteban Murillo.
Bartlomolé Esteban Murillo, The Marriage Feast at Cana, detail, c.1672
Image © Barber Institute of Fine Arts