Quality is the first norm for art, but its final norm is love and truth, the enriching of human life, the deepening of our vision.


KIRBY LAING CENTRE CONFERENCE IN JUNE – FIRST THINGS FIRST: SPIRITUALITY AND PUBLIC THEOLOGY, 11-13 JUNE 2024 IN CAMBRIDGE. The aim of the conference is to establish an annual gathering that embodies our ethos: community – with great food and fellowship – rooted in spirituality, with intellectual rigour coram deo. The launch of the book The Artistic Sphere. The Arts in Neo-Calvinist Perspective, edited by Roger D. Henderson and Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker will be an important part of the proceedings along with other arts-related events. We have chosen these dates so that if overseas participants choose to come in earlier and leave later there is good time for meals and conversation.
The theme for this year’s gathering is First Things First: Spirituality and Public Theology. Our aim at KLC is to accompany the Spirit on his mission, and in order to do this we need to attend in an ongoing fashion to spiritual formation. The journey in – spirituality – opens out to the journey out – our vocations in the world, and both are essential if we are to be salt and light. The gathering will include times of silence and worship, listening to one another’s stories, time for our hubs to gather as desired, rigorous exploration of the nature of public theology, and more. 
We have booked a venue that can seat 75. In order to help us plan well we need a good idea of how many of us plan to attend as soon as possible. We will do our best to keep costs low and once we know how many will attend we will finalise the venue and accommodation. If you are serious about attending please register here and then once we know the costs we will alert you and ask you to register and pay online. More information and to register, see Events - The Kirby Laing Centre
21 March ‘24 - 28 February ‘25 | Compton Verney Art, UK
For the first time in thirty years, a rare masterpiece will be reunited. Bringing together the central panel from The National Gallery of Scotland’s collection, with the original wings in Compton Verney’s collection, the magnificent Lamentation Altarpiece dated c. 1515, will take center stage in the Northern European collection of Compton Verney. 
19 March - 30 June ‘24 | Charlotte, NC, USA
The Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna’s 2024 spring exhibition is devoted to three pioneers of the Renaissance north of the Alps: Hans Holbein the Elder, Hans Burgkmair, and Albrecht Dürer. It offers an opportunity to experience fascinating works by these artists and to explore how Augsburg became the birthplace of the Northern Renaissance.
9 July 2024, 6-8pm | London, UK
Neil MacGregor (former director of the National Gallery and British Museum) and Jonathan Ruffer (founder of The Auckland Project) discuss the role of museums, old and new, in curating the public understanding of Christianity and stimulating conversation about art and religion in a contemporary society. The lecture will be followed by a Book Launch: Theology, Modernity and the Visual Arts, eds. Ben Quash & Chloë Reddaway (Brepols), and a drinks and canapés reception for everyone attending. 
20-21 September, 2024 | Charlotte, NC, USA
This symposium will gather pastors, artists, educators, art historians, theologians, art appreciators, and others to explore the dynamics of embodiment in the life of faith and in the paintings of Edward Knippers. The symposium will also feature an original dance performance in response to Knippers’ body of work as well as a participatory drum circle. The Knippers exhibit will include over two dozen works, including several of his large-scale works that have never been displayed publicly.
9 July 2024, 6-8pm | London, UK
Neil MacGregor (former director of the National Gallery and British Museum) and Jonathan Ruffer (founder of The Auckland Project) discuss the role of museums, old and new, in curating the public understanding of Christianity and stimulating conversation about art and religion in a contemporary society. The lecture will be followed by a Book Launch: Theology, Modernity and the Visual Arts, eds. Ben Quash & Chloë Reddaway (Brepols), and a drinks and canapés reception for everyone attending.
23 June-6 July 2024 | Woltersdorf, Germany
Co-presented by Regent College and IFES Graduate Impact, Bible and Culture is an opportunity to explore how God’s word speaks with clarity and relevance to the big issues of our time.
Bible and Culture 2024 will take place at a beautiful education centre in Woltersdorf, just outside Berlin. Come for one or two weeks (your choice!) for week-long courses on a variety of topics.
BOOK: THE BIBLE IN PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHEONA BEAUMONT. What do photographs say about faith? How have the places, people, and ideas of the Bible filtered into photographic vision? Photography was born and grew up in the increasingly secular West, and has become the ubiquitous visual language of our time: we have never invested more in the truth of its images. Yet understandings of how we practice belief in the medium are lacking. This book explores the spiritual depths of visual realism through the lens of biblical imagination. A wealth of photographers, publishing contexts, and theorists such as Roland Barthes and John Berger reveal the religious dimensions of photographic looking – from credulous, to critical, to sceptical. The changing faces of Christendom are seen through an interested lens. The Bible is exposed as contemporary visual theology. Publication dates: UK – 22nd February 2024, US – 2nd May 2024,  ANZ – 27th June 2024. Read more here.
BOOK REVIEW ON ARTWAY: Nigel Halliday reviews Jeremy S. Begbie’s Abundantly More:The Theological Promise of the Arts in a Reductionist World. Halliday writes: “The book is … a call for greater use of the arts in church and in our personal lives.  Works of art are not divine revelation. But listening to Bach’s Inventions, pondering Caravaggio’s Supper at Emmaus or reading a poetic reflection can help us to experience Biblical truth in ways that are real, rich and more powerful than simply reading words on paper. For, as Begbie argues, experiencing things in our bodies is a real form of knowledge, and imagination is a God-given faculty by which we can extend our understanding.” Read the full review here.
THE ARTISTIC SPHERE OUT NOW!The Artistic Sphere. The Arts in Neo-Calvinist Perspective, Edited by Roger D. Henderson and Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker, published by IVP- Academic. Among Reformed churches, the Neo-Calvinist tradition—as represented in the work of Abraham Kuyper, Herman Dooyeweerd, Hans Rookmaaker, and others—has consistently demonstrated not just a willingness but a desire to engage with all manner of cultural and artistic expressions. This volume, edited by art scholar Roger Henderson and Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker, the daughter of art historian and cultural critic Hans Rookmaaker, brings together history, philosophy, and theology to consider the relationship between the arts and the Neo-Calvinist tradition. With affirmations including the Lordship of Christ, the cultural mandate, sphere sovereignty, and common grace, the Neo-Calvinist tradition is well-equipped to offer wisdom on the arts to the whole body of Christ. Read more
BOOK REVIEW ON ARTWAY – Book review of James Tughan: CONTACT: The Artistry of Jesus in Nine Faces. Oakville, ON: Nadir Publishing, 2023. ‘In his book James Tughan asks us to consider the idea that Jesus was first an artist before He was anything else. The premise of this book in its art and its words is that in all His interactions with His creation, and the persons in it, in all our successes and failures, His artistry is clearly evident. However, it is previously unlimited artistry that not only is humbled within human limitation, but which passes through the experience of trauma.  The biblical story is one of overcoming it to reinvigorate the creation and artistry itself.’ Read more
INTERVIEW WITH CALVIN SEERVELD IN PORTUGUESE. ArtWay has just published an interview with the philosopher Calvin Seerveld. The interview is conducted in Portuguese and translated by an interpreter. See the interview here
JONATHAN EVENS DISCUSSES ANTONY GORMLEY. Antony Gormley Explores Self-Awareness in White Cube Bermondsey – Revd Jonathan Evens on ArtLyst. Read More
EXODUS & EXILE: MIGRATION THEMES IN BIBLICAL IMAGES. The Ben Uri Gallery in London, UK, presents a new online exhibition which features a range of Biblical images from the Ben Uri Collection in order to explore migration themes through consideration of the images, the Bible passages which inspired them and the relationship between the two. This is because themes of identity and migration feature significantly in both the Hebrew and Christian Bibles and images from these Bibles are a substantive element of the Ben Uri Collection. The combination of images and texts enables a range of different reflections, relationships and disjunctions to be explored. The result is that significant synergies can be found between the ancient texts and current issues. In this way, stories and images which may, at first, appear to be describing or defining specific religious doctrines can be seen to take on a shared applicability by exploring or revealing the challenges and changes bound up in the age-old experience of migration. The Gallery writes: "We are delighted to present a new exhibition interpreting works from our collection titled Exodus and Exile. The survey has been curated by Revd Jonathan Evens who has a long-established parallel interest in art and faith and how they are mutually engaging. We are privileged to benefit from his scholarship and innate sensitivity and am sure you too will be inspired by his selection and commentary. See more here
THE BIG PICTURE. This latest edition of the Kirby Laing Centre’s The Big Picture magazine explores the theme of Craft, and in it you will find, among others, articles on why art matters today; the ethics of craft; the beauty and power of photography; how paying attention and being handy can be transformative; on doing well whatever your hand finds to do; on the importance of resisting the global consumer machine and making things by hand; on traditional Japanese boat building; on books as sacred sites; on the biblical foundations of journalism; on crafting human hearts; on the craft of translation; on pursuing obscurity; and much more. Read online here
PORTUGUESE TRANSLATION OF THE ARTICLE “IMAGES FOR GOD THE FATHER” BY MARLEEN HENGELAAR-ROOKMAAKER. “God is spirit. God is a mystery. He is awe-inspiringly exalted and at the same time unimaginably loving. How can we ever comprehend Him with our small human intellects? How can we ever get to know Him and learn to live with Him? That would not be possible without the Bible, where God reveals himself to us in stories and images…” In this article, now available in Portuguese, Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker discusses ways in which God the Father has been depicted in art, and considers the Bible as a profound source of images. Read the Portuguese translation here, and the original English version here
THE MOUNTAIN RETREAT, REST, CREATIVITY, GOOD PEOPLE, AND YOU. AN EXPERIENCE OF HIMALAYAN REST, CREATIVITY, AND CONNECTION FOR CREATIVE PROFESSIONALS IN INDIA. Art for Change runs a series of weeklong and weekend retreats for you to immerse yourself in nature, find rest, create and connect with like-minded others, and discover a renewed sense of purpose. Curated by Art for Change with over 14 years’ experience running artist residencies, each Mountain Retreat is open to cohorts of 3-7 creative professionals based in India. Set among stunningly beautiful views in the exclusive Landour neighbourhood of Mussoorie, the Mountain Retreat is a transformative experience designed for you to step away from the busyness of life, experience creative community, reflect and learn from nature, and find creative ideas and solutions for life and work. Think of the retreat as a creative vacation that honors the needs of mind, body and soul. Apply online here.
ARTWAY BLOG. Jonathan Evens interviews David Miller on his work and the “interrelation, symbiosis and overlap” between writing and visual art. Noted UK poet, fiction writer, painter, and musician, David Miller was born in Melbourne, Australia, but has lived in the UK for many years. His recent publications include Time, Wisdom, & Koalas (Chax Press, 2023), a work of fantastic fiction, and (close) (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2023), a deeply moving sequence of poetry and prose. A prolific writer, other recent publications include: Afterword (Shearsman Books, 2022), circle square triangle (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022), An Envelope for Silence (above/ground press, 2022) and Some Other Shadows (Knives Forks and Spoons Press, 2022). Read more 
JONATHAN EVENS ON ARTLYST – Paula Rego And Lord Harries Respond to Art And Religion. ‘When she died, Paula Rego left a considerable legacy of religiously inspired art. While that was by no means an unusual legacy for a modern artist, Rego brought a particular perspective to her religious art – that of the female perspective on the tradition and stories. Rego’s work represents one way of responding to the Western tradition of art and religion; Richard Harries’ book ‘Majesty’ represents another. ‘Majesty’ spotlights 50 iconic paintings from the Royal Collection and a variety of renowned museums throughout the world, including The Met, MOMA, National Gallery, Vatican Museums, The Hermitage and more. With a commentary on each artwork by the former Bishop of Oxford and House of Lords life peer, the book juxtaposes important artworks – Caravaggio to Van Gogh, Raphael to Rembrandt – with quotes from Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s beloved Christmas broadcasts and words of wisdom from the Gospels. Through the interplay between the Queen’s Christmas messages and paintings from the Royal Collection and beyond, ‘Majesty’ offers a new and more intimate way of knowing her faith and life through the power of art.’ Read more 
BIOGRAPHY ABOUT GWEN JOHN – God’s Little Artist by Sue Hubbard is a biography in verse of Welsh painter Gwen John (1876-1939). As with many female painters of the time, John’s work was often overshadowed by that of her male contemporaries, especially her brother Augustus John. God’s Little Artist is a celebration of her passionate life and work, illustrated with precision, authenticity and the keen painterly eye of the poet, novelist and art critic Sue Hubbard. In her introductory essay, Sue Hubbard discusses how the loss of Gwen John’s mother when she was a child could have impacted her later life. She was an intensely private person, with a tendency to become fixated on people and relationships, as shown in the two thousand letters she wrote to Rodin over thirteen years, and, later, in her intense commitment to her faith. For John, God and art became inextricably linked and saintliness an obsessive goal. Read more 
PODCAST OF INTERVIEW WITH CANADIAN ARTIST BETTY SPACKMAN – In this interview in Radix, Betty shares with us some of her thoughts on the importance of art in general, common misconceptions that are held about it, what it means to be creative (and she thinks we all are), as well as some ideas on how Christians can meaningfully assist in helping the arts to flourish. Also—and this is important—Betty believes in the power of kindness and hospitality, and you’ll hear it come through in the interview. Read more