This book closely follows the gospel stories of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection from the Annunciation through Pentecost. It has the dual goal of introducing young readers to the gospel narratives and teaching them to appreciate and interpret works of art portraying gospel-based stories and allegories. The heritage of Christian art is a vital part of the history of Europe and the Western world. Whether our families are Christian, non-Christian, or secular, our cultural education is incomplete without a knowledge and appreciation of art inspired by Christian concepts and symbolism. Each mini-chapter of this book consists of two parts:
1. Event Narration Each story from Jesus' life is narrated, directly quoting newer, easy-to-read gospel translations and partially summarizing events to keep the narration compact. The narration carefully avoids any "preachy" or interpretative elements suggesting this or that theological or denominational angle.
2. Illustrations and Art Commentary Each event is illustrated with one or two paintings - great works of European art from the Middle Ages through the 19th century. The Art Commentary section - draws the attention of a young reader to the stylistic features of each painting, - teaches them to spot Christian symbolism and interpret the emotions of characters, - presents glimpses of art history and teaches the reader to recognize historical art styles, such as medieval Gothic art, Renaissance, Mannerist, Baroque, Academic, Pre-Raphaelite, and realistic art styles.
The reading level of this book is about age 9 and up. Whenever the narration includes any theological terms (such as Annunciation, Ascension, Messiah) or art terms (such as foreground, perspective, composition) I provide a definition.