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At the Crossroads between Catholicism and Modernist Art

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Marie-Alain Couturier and the Conceptual Zigzags

image of Church History and Religious Culture

The French Dominican monk and artist, Marie-Alain Couturier (1897–1954) was initially trained as a painter. He went on to become a friar at Le Saulchoir in Belgium, receiving his ordination in 1930. Largely recognized as the figure at the centre of the debate on the role of apostolic art in the 1940s and 1950s in France, he was a friend of many pioneers of modernist art, such as Braque, Matisse, and Picasso. Through this, he was an interlocutor between the secular domain of modernist aesthetics and the clergy’s religious world. Drawing on an unknown work of Couturier’s, the central thesis of the paper is that his thought was defined by heterogeneity and contradiction. In this manner, his thoughts on art and religion problematize and reconfigure any straightforward causal narrative which announces the unilateral victory of secular ideas.

Affiliations: 1: KU Leuven ; 2: KU Leuven ; 3: KU Leuven


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