Icons of American Protestantism
The meaning of the popular religious art of Warner Sallman (1892-1968), which has been reproduced more than one billion times, will be examined in a Divinity School symposium and exhibition, "Icons of American Protestantism: The Art of Warner Sallman." The conference will be held from 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, March 4, in the Swift Hall third-floor lecture room.
Most of Sallman's best-known paintings were created in the 1940s, and they were later reproduced on bookmarks, calendars, prayer cards, tracts, bibles, lamps, clocks, buttons, stickers and stationery. Sallman's most popular work, "Head of Christ" (pictured above), has been reproduced more than 500 million times.
"For generations of Christians, 'Head of Christ' has represented the authentic portrait of Jesus," said University alumnus David Morgan (Ph.D.'90), professor of art at Valparaiso University and an organizer of the symposium.
An exhibition of Sallman's original and mass-produced art and paintings will be on display in Swift Commons during the symposium. The exhibition has been displayed at Valparaiso and will be shown at the Yale Divinity School in the fall.
Five scholars specializing in art history, popular culture and the history of Christianity will present papers on a variety of topics dealing with the production of Sallman's art and its meaning. Speakers delivering introductory remarks will include Clark Gilpin, Dean and Associate Professor in the Divinity School; respondents to the papers will include Neil Harris, the Preston and Sterling Morton Professor in History.
The papers to be presented are "Evangelical Theology and the Art of Warner Sallman," by Betty DeBerg of Valparaiso; "Personal Lord and Savior: Christology and the Devotional Image," by Leonard Sweet of United Theological Seminary; " 'Would Jesus have sat for a portrait?': The Likeness of Christ in the Popular Reception of Sallman's Art," by Morgan; "Interchangeable Art: Warner Sallman and the Critics of Mass Culture," by Sally Promey of the University of Maryland; and "Marketing Jesus: Warner Press and the Art of Sallman," by Colleen McDannell of the University of Utah.
Registration will take place from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. The conference and exhibition are free and open to the public. For more information, call David Morgan at (219) 465-7839.