Joseph Antenucci Becherer, director and curator of sculpture for the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame, has co-authored a new book, “Christ among Us: Sculptures of Jesus across the History of Art.” The book, co-authored with Henry Martin Luttikhuizen, professor emeritus at Calvin University, surveys sculptural representations of Jesus from the Early Christian period to the present day.
The illustrated volume features an in-depth introduction to the topic followed by 52 individual essays on both iconic and surprising works from the third century to the 21st century.
No figure has been featured more frequently in Western art than Jesus Christ, Becherer said.
“Sculptures, particularly — though they have received less notice than paintings — provide some of the most moving representations in their capacity to show Christ alongside us in three-dimensional space,” he said.
The co-authors — one from the Roman Catholic tradition and one from the Protestant tradition — selected works by celebrated masters ranging from Donatello to Michelangelo to Canova, Henry Moore to Mark Wallinger to Jaume Plensa, as well as works by numerous unrecorded masters. Sculptures from leading institutions such as the Vatican Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Louvre are balanced with images of sculptures that remain in situ or are held by smaller institutions across the United States and Europe.
“Joseph Becherer and Henry Luttikhuizen have assembled a brilliant selection of sculpted images of Jesus that will inform and enrich art lovers, students, travelers and anyone interested in the life of Christ,” writes renowned art historian Judith W. Mann of the Saint Louis Art Museum. “Accompanied by sensitive readings of the sculptures they have chosen, the selections span 11 countries and encompass 19 different materials. There are many icons of the history of art, along with surprising and eye-opening examples that offer rich understandings of both the sculptor’s accomplishment and meaning of the subject.”
A scholar of modern and contemporary sculpture, Becherer has authored numerous books, catalogs and articles and curated many major exhibitions. Prior to publishing “Christ among Us,” his latest book was “Gravitas: Skulpturen in St. Gereon und der Minoritenkirche St. Mariae Empfängnis zu Köln.”
Considered one of the leading university art museums in America, the Snite Museum boasts a permanent collection that contains 30,000 works representing many cultures and periods of world art history. Exceptional holdings include the Jack and Alfrieda Feddersen Collection of Rembrandt Etchings, the Noah L. and Muriel S. Butkin Collection of 19th-Century French Art, the John D. Reilly Collection of Old Master and 19th-Century Drawings, the Janos Scholz Collection of 19th-Century European Photographs, the Mr. and Mrs. Russell G. Ashbaugh Jr. Collection of Meštrović Sculpture and Drawings, the George Rickey Sculpture Archive and the Virginia A. Marten Collection of 18th-Century Decorative Arts. Other collection strengths include Olmec and Mesoamerican art, 20th-century art and Native American art.