Sketches of the History of Christian Art
Alexander Lindsay (1812-80) was the head of an aristocratic family who owned vast coalfields in Lancashire, generating enormous wealth. Educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, he spent the majority of his time travelling in Italy, collecting, and writing on a variety of subjects, including art, the Indo-Aryan race and the Etruscans. This important work, published in three volumes in 1847, surveys Christian painting and sculpture. Addressing Romance literature of the Middle Ages, iconography and legends of the saints, the book's historical narrative is infused with the author's strong moral approach to the subject. Volume 1 covers philosophical method, Christian symbolism and mythology, Roman art, and Byzantine art, which Lindsay sees as having stimulated the Western revival. Though derided by John Ruskin, the work strongly influenced aristocratic collecting, and remains relevant to readers interested in the Victorian construction of morals and artistic taste.