Review of Putting Art (Back) in Its Place by John Skillen

Putting Art (Back) in Its PlaceDr. Barbara Carvill (Professor Emerita of German at Calvin College) was a participant in the June 2017 month-long Art & Theology graduate program that John Skillen and the Studio for Art, Faith & History co-developed with Dr. Rebekah Smick and the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto.  Participants were strongly encouraged to read John Skillen’s Putting Art (Back) in Its Place.  These are Dr. Carvill’s comments on Skillen’s book:

What I appreciate immensely reading John Skillen’s book Putting Art (Back) in Its Place is not only his enlightening  and very readable portrayal of  Italian Renaissance Art from an art historical perspective, but also—and that is rare—his ability to understand and present the rich religious life in which these works had their being. He presents this not just from the point of view of a church historian, but rather with a faith–filled passion reconstructing  for the reader of today the sacramental, liturgical, and communal life of pre-modern Italy. I valued especially the author’s courage to point out to his readers that from such a multidimensional study of Renaissance art there are lessons to be learned about how to lead a more meaningful life in our 21st century.  I very much hope that a new edition will add a necessary and comprehensive index.


Dr. Barbara Carvill is Professor Emerita of German Language and Literature at Calvin College, where she was awarded Calvin’s highest faculty honor—the Presidential Award for Exemplary Teaching—as well as the Calvin Alumni association’s Faith & Learning award. Dr. Carvill is co-author with David L. Smith of The Gift of the Stranger: Faith, Hospitality, and Foreign Language Learning.

For more information about Putting Art (Back) in Its Place, visit our website!

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