Cover image for Gospel figures in art
Gospel figures in art
Zuffi, Stefano, 1961-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Episodi e personaggi del Vangelo. English
Publication Information:
Los Angeles : J. Paul Getty Museum, [2003]

Physical Description:
383 pages : color illustrations ; 20 cm
General Note:
Includes indexes.
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
N8030 .Z8413 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In viewing the great works of sacred Western art, many people find difficulty in understanding the stories and identifying the figures portrayed in them. This informative guide decodes these often-mysterious scenes and reveals a vibrant world of images from the Christian tradition for museum visitors, students, and art enthusiasts alike.
Gospel Figures in Art examines depictions of stories and figures from both the New Testament's canonical gospels (the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and the apocryphal gospels (early Christian writings excluded from the New Testament because of their unsubstantiated authorship), which served as rich sources of inspiration for medieval and Renaissance artists. Illustrated with masterpieces from many of the world's premier museums, the art works provided as visual references are carefully analyzed. Sections are devoted to the principal figures in the life of Jesus Christ-his family and the evangelists-and to the major biographical turning points: his birth and baptism, his public life, the miracles and good deeds he performed, his crucifixion, resurrection, and the events that followed. This indispensable resource makes the icons and narratives of sacred art come to life.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Following the basic sequence of events in the New Testament, from the Immaculate Conception to the Resurrection, this valuable handbook offers a plethora of illustrations and, uniquely, diagrams of biblical art, with detailed identifications of even obscure figures and explanations of particular symbols. Mary's loose and long hair demonstrates her virginity, even at the end of her life. Reeds, loosely tied in cross shape, held innocently by toddler Christ, hint at the sorrow to come. Zuffi (Art in Venice) does not hesitate to illustrate the human side of the gospel figures, frequently interpreting body postures and facial expressions. In one 1330 painting, Mary leans slightly backward while nursing the infant Christ, a pose that "derive[s], not from some fixed and unchangeable stereotype, but from a direct vision of reality." The reproductions are often set within the artist's own landscape, with biblical cities such as Jerusalem or Bethlehem resembling an Italian hill town or snowy Dutch village, and sometimes even the artist himself (or the wealthy patron of his work) appears. Terrifically executed, this is a unique book that will enrich viewers' experiences of the art. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

The Evangelists and Their Symbolsp. 8
Jesus' Familyp. 24
The Birth and Childhood of Jesusp. 52
Stories of Saint John the Baptistp. 136
The Public Life of Jesusp. 166
Miracles and Parablesp. 204
The Passionp. 236
After the Resurrectionp. 336
Index of Episodesp. 378
Index of Namesp. 379
The Apocryphal Gospelsp. 380
Index of Artistsp. 382
Photography Creditsp. 384