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The Lion Companion to Christian Art Review by Kim Kargbo

Michelle P. Brown
Lion Hudson plc
+44 (0) 1865 302750
Wilkinson House, Jordan Hill Road
Oxford OX2 8DR, England

Lion Hudson is a British-based Christian publishing house, publishing a wide genre of book types. The Lion Companion to Christian Art is 430-page hardcover reference book covering the history of Christian art, from ancient Biblical times to the present. Most of the 31 chapters cover a particular era of history and the themes that occurred in it related to art. There are examples of artworks of each time period interspersed throughout.

I wish I'd had this book last year while I was studying world history with my children! This volume would make a good supplement to a thorough study of world history, integrating the cultural application of the art of the time with the study. The other application for this book that I could envision would be an in-depth study of the history of art itself for the serious student of art. The periods when art was integral to history are quite detailed and provide significant information and analysis. This resource is appropriate for upper level students (middle or high school).

While the resource is very thorough, with an extensive amount of research and information for each time period discussed, I would have preferred to have more visual examples throughout the text. At 430 pages, the text begins to seem rather long and intense in the sections where there are no images or photos to accompany it. There were also examples discussed, or specific pieces referenced, that were not represented in images. This made it more difficult to understand the point being made regarding that particular style of art. Of course, the pieces could probably be found on the Internet, but it would take a good deal of time to research the various pieces. The volume retails for $49.95. You do get a lot of information and material for that price, but it may only be considered a bargain for the most serious of art students.

I do believe that this reference book is a valuable resource for certain areas of study, but it would probably not have a wide appeal within the homeschool community in general. If you are looking for a thorough and complete volume chronicling the history of Christian art, the Lion Companion is your resource!

One word of caution--as with most books depicting art in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, there are some pictures that might not be appropriate for all ages or all families.

Product review by Kim Kargbo, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2010