Spirit and Art : Pictures of the Transformation of Consciousness
"As an art student in the late sixties, I recall how painfully dry and intellectual my art history classes were. I thought to myself, or rather felt to myself, 'There must be something more'" (Van James). Artist Van James offers that something more. This is a richly readable and lavishly illustrated text that reveals how, at every stage, human consciousness has evolved through the medium of art. It makes the case for a hidden stream that has put forth art works and art movements throughout history, in an ongoing visible revelation of invisible spiritual currents. Art, originally a part of the secret Mystery cults of the ancient world, has become an expression of the individual creative intuition. At every stage, Albert Einstein's comment applies: "The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science."
- Paperback | 288 pages
- 198 x 240 x 25mm | 635g
- 06 Mar 2002
- Rudolf Steiner Press
- East Sussex, United Kingdom
- colour plates and over 200 b&w illustrations
This coffee-table book on sacred art has a rather unique twist: It concentrates on art that reveals "the transformation of consciousness," narrowing in particularly on images from ancient mystery cults and cave drawings from Paleolithic times. James has selected art from ancient Greece, Egypt, Africa, and parts of Asia, explicating what he sees as its spiritual themes. This is in some ways a personal book, as its selections are eclectic and highly individual, but the text is also rigorous, informed by theorists such as Mircea Eliade, Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and especially Rudolf Steiner. One wishes that the 300-plus illustrations were larger and in color, but an eight-page color tip-in helps to stimulate visual interest.
About Van James
Van James is a Hawaii-based artist and author, a graduate of the San Francisco Art Institute, Emerson College in England, and the Goetheanum Painting School in Switzerland. He is an art teacher, co-director of an adult education program, and editor of Pacifica Journal. As an artist, he has exhibited in Europe, the U.S., and Japan. His paintings have received awards and are found in numerous private collections. He is a freelance graphic designer and writes articles for journals and magazines. In 1991 his book Ancient Sites of Oahu: Archaeological Places of Interest in the Hawaiian Islands won an award for excellence, and in 1998 Ancient Sites of Hawaii was published. Van James lives on the island of Oahu.