De Rothko kapel schilderijen en de ‘urgentie van de transcendente ervaring’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 62, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2542-6583
  • E-ISSN: 2590-3268


Since the Romantic period, painters have no longer made use of traditional Christian iconography to express religious transcendence. Taking their cue from Schleiermacher’s , painters have sought for new, personal ways to express religious transcendence. One example is Caspar David Friedrich’s ‘Monk by the Sea’. Rosenblum argues, in his , that there is a parallel between Friedrich and the abstract expressionist Rothko with respect to the expression to religious transcendence. In this article I investigate how the experience of transcendence that Rothko’s paintings want to evoke is to be described. Is it an experience of the sublime in the Romantic tradition? Is it the evocation of the ultimate in accordance with Tillich’s broad concept of religion? Does it display affinity between Rothko and the postmodern sublime of Lyotard? Or is it a transcendent experience that cannot be situated so easily within the options supplied? After determining Rothko’s understanding of transcendence, some issues will be brought up that could be fruitful for Christian theology.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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