Visual Commentary on Scripture, New $2 Million Web Project Launched by King’s College London, Offers New Way to Study the Bible

Jan Brueghel the Elder’s 1598 painting “The Sermon on the Mount.” | PHOTO: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

A new $2 million web project launched by King’s College London is offering users a new way to visually digest biblical Scripture through the analyses of classic and contemporary works of art.

In November, the United Kingdom-based public research university officially launched a website titled Visual Commentary on Scripture, thevcs.org, a project that has been over a year in the making and was made possible by a donation from billionaire U.S.-based philanthropists Roberta and Howard Ahmanson.

The project, which aims to cover every book in the Christian Bible, uses works of historic and modern visual art that reflect messages found within passages of Scripture.

According to the project’s director, the VCS aims to make it easier for people to see the “bridge between the historic traditions of Christianity and the art world.”

“What we are seeing now, and I think it is a new moment in Christian history, more Protestant and Evangelical churches have a very strong desire of wanting to use a visual language in the mission,” King’s College professor of Christianity and the arts Ben Quash told The Christian Post on Friday.

“Visual language is a new kind of currency among young people who talk to each other all the time in visual language by sharing images on [social media.] So churches who want to communicate the Gospel for young people who talk in images are having to take images seriously. I think that is very exciting because it means that there is a new opportunity to draw people into reading the Bible through using visual arts.”

Each passage of scripture included in the VCS will have three accompanying works of visual art that all relate to the biblical passage in question. Each painting associated with the scripture will have their own commentaries written by a select writer or author.

The commentaries of the paintings reflect on the historical perspective of the time period the artwork was completed as well as perspectives on the passages of Scripture they are associated with.

As of now, there are nearly 100 passages of scripture completed by the project, each with their own three paintings and accompanying reflections.

One example is the VCS exhibition of the “Sermon on the Mount,” which is accompanied by a 1481–1482 fresco by Italian painter Cosimo Roselli, a 1442 fresco by Italian painter Fra Angelico and a 1598 oil painting by Flemish painter Jan Brueghel the Elder.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith