“The Christian Scientist as Artist: From James Franklin Gilman to Joseph Cornell”
Introvigne, Massimo. “The Christian Scientist as Artist: From James Franklin Gilman to Joseph Cornell.” Acta Comparanda Subsidia II (2015): 87–96.
Introvigne reviews 19th– and 20th-century artists to understand how their Christian Science beliefs and convictions influenced and inspired their art. James Franklin Gilman illustrated Mary Baker Eddy’s poem Christ and Christmas, to ‘teach’ the viewer about the truths of divine Science. Violet Oakley, the first American woman to receive a public mural commission, saw her art as “a way to teach moral values” (89). Two of her portraits of Eddy are now at the Mary Baker Eddy Library. Evelyn Dunbar, commissioned as the official UK woman WWII artist, sought to show that even in desperate situations, “all [that] is made is the work of God and all is good” (90, Dunbar quoting Science and Health, 521). British neo-impressionist Winifred Nicholson focused on painting flowers as a demonstration of divine beauty and goodness. Introvigne also shows the close association among ‘the Group of Seven’—a group of significant 20th-century Canadian Christian Scientist and Theosophist artists. Lastly Joseph Cornell from New York is featured as the most important of all the Christian Scientist artists. Cornell was famous for his collages and ‘boxes’ which, in light of his faith, became less about objective reality and more “a statement of aesthetic experience as a manifestation of spirit” (93).
For more about Eddy’s poem Christ and Christmas, see also annotations:
Painting a Poem: Mary Baker Eddy and James F. Gilman Illustrate “Christ and Christmas” by The Christian Science Publishing Society
Angelic Overtures of Mary Baker Eddy’s “Christ and Christmas” by Alice Orgain
For more, see:
Robinson, Elizabeth. “Mina Loy Writes to Joseph Cornell About Christian Science.” Conjunctions, no. 66 (2016): 307.