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Modern Art and the Death of a Culture Paperback – July 7, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (July 7, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0891077995
  • ISBN-13: 978-0891077992
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 5.4 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

H. R. ROOKMAAKER (1922–1977) grew up in the Dutch East Indies. As a young man in wartime Holland, he was interned for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets and became a Christian during that time. In 1948 a lifelong friendship with Francis Schaeffer began. In 1959 Rookmaaker published his doctoral thesis on the artist Gauguin, and in 1965 he was invited to the Chair of Art History at the Free University of Amsterdam. Rookmaaker was also highly respected as a jazz critic.


More About the Author

H. R. ROOKMAAKER (1922-1977) grew up in the Dutch East Indies. As a young man in wartime Holland, he was interned for distributing anti-Nazi leaflets and became a Christian during that time. In 1948 a lifelong friendship with Francis Schaeffer began. In 1959 Rookmaaker published his doctoral thesis on the artist Gauguin, and in 1965 he was invited to the Chair of Art History at the Free University of Amsterdam. Rookmaaker was also highly respected as a jazz critic.

Customer Reviews

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Especially if you are not already exposed to a lot of information about art history.
Mark Nenadov
If you have ever been puzzled at the message, or lack thereof, of modern art, Rookmaaker will help you understand and discern what you are seeing.
wisdomofthepages.com
Modern Art and the Death of a Culture by Rookmaaker This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read.
Richard N. Harding

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
Dr. Rookmaaker was the Professor of the History of Art at the Free University of Amsterdam. This book is his very interesting analysis of art and how it reflects the culture. Rookmaaker was of the opinion that artists were like canaries in a mine. They were (are) the early warning system. They show clearly where a society is headed. They are not (as many cultural conservatives falsely believe) the cause of societies problems, rather they are the earliest indicators of those problems. This book (first published in 1970) is more timely than ever. It (and Dr. Rookmaaker) were a huge influence on Dr. Francis Schaeffer (The entire "line of despair" idea in "The God Who is There" comes from Rookmaaker). I highly recommend this book.
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42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Mark Grindell on November 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
I used to really like this book. Finding it at the Dales Bible Week in Harrogate was a stroke of exceptional good fortune. Together with various texts by Schaffer and Guinness, I found a good deal of clear explanation for the kinds of encounters with literature I had had in recent years.
However, I think that in later years I became somewhat anxious. Oddly enough there was the coincidence that nearly all the actual content of the Dales Bible week was suddenly coming under very close scrutiny and rightly being found wanting, I re-read quite a few of the texts I picked up in that period (which was the late 70's and early 80's), this included.
What passes for scholarship in this book is quite hard to resist, and requires the most detailed knowledge to refute. I have some friends who have tried to do this. It takes years to absorb the whole impact of 19th century machinations in the arts, and the 20th century is far more difficult. I found that Rookmaakers analysis still held up, though it is hard to rationalise how this book has now become the sole element in far too many arts and literature courses in Christian establishments. Not every stream of arts development led entirely to despair, and not every artist abrogated their responsibility to truth quite so wilfully as the author seems to suggest.
The book has become, in fact, far too embedded in the Christian subculture now. And this of course is a dreadful trap. In some institutions this form of criticism has become an alternative and if fact, vicarious alternative to real scholarship.
At the risk of being classed as a reckless fool, I would suggest it would be best if there was a concious attempt to point focus away from the L'abri fellowship for a while and to allow people to develop and sharpen real critical skills.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Richard N. Harding on July 31, 2006
Format: Paperback
Modern Art and the Death of a Culture by Rookmaaker

This is one of the most powerful books I've ever read. I heard a lecture by Rookmaaker in Amsterdam in 1972. I thought a lecture on art would bore me to death. Instead I was on the edge of my seat even after an all night plane ride. The book shows through art how our culture has moved away from the concept of a transcendent God since the 1300s. It is an exciting read because it takes the words of the artists themselves right up the the 1970s to explain their art and their spiritual beliefs. It is very hard to put this book down even for someone like me who is not all that excited about art. It is ominous in its predictions of what impact this has on our present culture.

You can get it used [...]. I value it so much I don't even loan my copy out.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy S Knudsen on February 12, 2000
Format: Paperback
Christians weren't and aren't necessarily "right" when it comes to art. Often uninformed and bias, Christians tend to pigeon-hole art, making it have no place in the lives of humanity. This book takes a look at art through a historical and biblical viewing glass. Rookmaaker does not just say "sin is the problem" and leave it at that (though he speaks plenty on the root of the problem which is sin). Rather he looks to history, the artist's intentions of a particular "movement", and both Christian and secular mentalities that pervaded the times. Rookmaaker ends the book splendidly, answering questions that are left in the Christian's mind (concerning faith, morals and art, good and bad art, beauty, aesthetics, what is art, and more), calling Christians to take courage, and finally charging Christians with the responsibility to go out and make good art.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By wisdomofthepages.com on April 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
One of the joys of fathering a bunch of boys is taking them fishing. My oldest is only eight, so as of yet we have not had a lot of success actually catching fish! Nontheless, there is a lot of joy in teaching them about bobbers, hooks, bait, casting the line, etc. - there is truly an art and a science to the task. One of the difficulties that little hands have is pulling all the information together and using it properly.

Just as little children need a good teacher to help them integrate a lot of facts, so do we often find ourselves in the same condition. In writing Modern Art and the Death of a Culture, the late Hans Rookmaaker comes alongside us to explain how a lot of different topics intersect and interact with each other. Art, aesthetics, culture, theology, philosophy world history - these various areas are laid out on the table for discussion, and then integrated together to make a strong point.

Rookmaaker, a lifelong friend of Francis Schaeffer, provides us with a biblical perspective on the modern world, focusing specifically on the philosophical agenda behind modern art. Beginning his overview with the dawn of the Renaissance and Reformation, Rookmaaker quickly covers a lot of historical ground in the journey toward the modern era. In the end, he reveals the roots of modernity's despair. The autonomous reason of mankind put God outside of the box of the world, and as a result began the slow descent into subjective meaninglessness.

Don't let the topic of the book scare you. Even while addressing heavy themes, Rookmaaker writes with great skill and passion. He is not trying to impress you with ivory tower gibberish and a specialized insider's vocabulary. Although he knows his material exceedingly well, his aim is to edify Christians.
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