The Art of Worship
Nicholas Holtam, Yale University Press
This is a wonderful book for personal or group devotion. It provides a simple but deep and prayerful invitation to help people engage with beautiful and spiritual works of art.
Nicholas Holtam is the vicar of St Martins-in-the-Fields, which is a dynamic church that not only serves the royal family but also the poor ofLondon.
The church has developed a connection with the National Gallery and Nicholas Holtam is the Gallery’s parish priest.
The book is divided into three sections: Praying the Scriptures; Prayers of the Church; and Prayers in the World. Each double page has a lovely print of one of the works from the gallery’s collection with an accompanying thoughtful reflection and a prayer.
The prayers are from a wealth of different sources, complement the themes in each artwork and create a unique meditative experience for the reader.
As Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, writes in the foreword, “Many of the paintings in the National Gallery were inspired by stories from the Christian scriptures, once well-known but now only rarely part of our contemporary mental furniture … Nicholas Holtam leads us on a visual pilgrimage in brief meditations which are the fruit of a closer relationship between St Martin-in-the-Field and the National Gallery.”
Whether it be for personal spiritual practice or in leading a group or congregation into thinking about stories in the scriptures through art, this book provides an excellent resource. Attractively presented and captivating in content, this is a little treasure waiting to be found.
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