Gospel Illustrator Speaks on Faith and Art

March 08, 2011

The University Speaker Series is proud to present an evening with artist and Christian thinker Makoto Fujimura at 7 p.m., Tuesday, March 29, in the Selby Auditorium at University Campus.
Admission is free and the public is invited.

Gospel Illustrator Speaks on Faith and Art Fujimura’s visit to Saint Leo fittingly falls during the season of Lent, and follows the release from Crossway Publishing of an illuminated, English Standard Version of The Four Holy Gospels. This exquisite volume features four original, abstract paintings that Crossway commissioned from Fujimura to illustrate the first page of each of the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Fujimura also created special lettering and embellishments for the volume, so that the reader experiences Fujimura’s distinctive artwork on every page.
Illuminated paintings are distinguished from other illustrations by the appearance that light is literally shining from the page. Illumination of gospels was common in the Middle Ages when the texts and artwork were hand crafted, but the practice fell by the wayside when the printing press came along and made volume printing of text possible. So the release of The Four Holy Gospels celebrates a lost tradition. The publication also commemorates the 400th anniversary in 2011 of the King James Bible. The English Standard Version, using contemporary language, is a direct descendant of the King James Version of the Bible, according to Crossway.
Fujimura is known as an artist who uses his abstract art to connect spirituality with fine art. Rather than trying to create portraits of characters in the Gospel stories as many modern illustrators have, Fujimura creates abstract imagery to connect with the text in a different way. He used only natural ingredients, and employed a traditional Japanese painting technique called Nihonga.
A cloth-bound edition of The Four Gospels (with a retail value of $129) will be on display during the March 29 event.
In addition to being a painter, Fujimura is also a cultural commentator who has written about his faith in Christian magazines. He was born in the United States and educated both in the United States and Japan. He graduated from Bucknell University and received the Master of Fine Arts degree from Tokyo National University of Fine Art.  He is also the founder of the International Arts Movement and a presidential appointee to the National Council for the Arts.