The Right Eyes: Language, Faith, and the Development of Modern Art

The emergence and proliferation of criticism and theory has been a defining feature of the history of modern artistic practice since the middle of the nineteenth century. Yet how such discourse relates to works of art and how language relates to aesthetic experience more generally remains an abiding problem for art historians because the appearance and development of modern art was as much an event of language as it was a pictorial revolution. In an effort to understand this linguistic phenomenon art historians have sought assistance from other disciplines and fields, such as critical theory, philosophy, and literary criticism. This paper argues that modern Protestant theology might offer some helpful insights.

Siedell will suggest that the development of modern art turns on a nearly imperceptible shift in the responsibility of language in, around, and under works of art to bear witness to as well as invoke and enact a distinctive experience to which modern Protestant theology, with its sensitivity to aspects of language, sight, and faith, might be especially helpful.

Dr Daniel A. Siedell is Presidential Scholar of Art History and Criticism at The King’s College in New York City. He is an art historian, art critic, and curator who has spent nearly twenty years writing and lecturing on modern art and theology. From 1996-2007 he was Chief Curator of the Sheldon Museum of Art, where he organized numerous exhibitions of modern & contemporary art. From 2007-2011 he was Professor of Modern & Contemporary Art History & Theory at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He also served as director of the Miami-based studio of Enrique Martínez Celaya (2011-12). His publications include God in the Gallery: A Christian Embrace of Modern Art (Baker Academic, 2008) and Who’s Afraid of Modern Art?: Essays on Modern Art and Theology in Conversation (Wipf and Stock, 2015).


This event has passed.

7 Mar 2017

The Function Room, Henriette Raphael Building, Guy’s Campus, King’s College London