The Art of Worship : Paintings, Prayers, and Readings for Meditation (HB)

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The Art of Worship: Paintings, Prayers, and Readings for Meditation represents a unique collaboration between two famous Trafalgar Square institutions: the National Gallery and the church of St Martin-in-the-Fields. In this beautifully illustrated book, the Reverend Nicholas Holtam – vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields – presents his favourite paintings from the National Gallery, alongside religious commentary, Bible quotations, prayers and poetry.

The illustrations encourage the reader to think about how art can sometimes be a surprising doorway into our own spirituality. Holtam gives his own personal response to the paintings and presents them as a source of reflection and contemplation.

Many works in the National Gallery feature Christian subjects, but Holtam has chosen paintings from a wide range of artists for The Art of Worship. His more unexpected choices include Edgar Degas’s Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando, Vincent van Gogh’s Long Grass with Butterflies and J.M.W. Turner’s The Fighting Temeraire.

Holtam writes accessibly on themes that concern us all: struggle, blessing and our search for peace. The Art of Worship will delight, comfort and challenge the reader, encouraging us to look beyond our own preoccupation with the self through the simple act of worship.


Nicholas Holtam was vicar of St Martin-in-the-Fields and the National Gallery’s parish priest from 1995 to 2011. He is now Bishop of Salisbury Cathedral.


Richard Chartres is the Bishop of London.

authorNicholas Holtam
Colour illustration47
ForewordRichard Chartres
PublishedJune 2011
PublisherNational Gallery Company
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