Baker Academic

Monday, October 8, 2012

Elizabeth Asche Douglas - Le Donne

I just finished a lovely skype with Elizabeth "Betty" Asche Douglas, artist, musician, and all around brilliant personality. I first met Douglas when I was leading a group of students on a "Theology and Visual Art" field trip last year. Our little group visited several museums, met with community organizers who use the visual arts to build up depressed communities, etc. One of the highlights of this trip was visiting the home and studio of Elizabeth Asche Douglas.

Douglas has been a mainstay on the American art scene for over four decades. She is well known to Jazz lovers as well. A true polymath, she also has written several essays on theology and art. Our little group was especially fortunate to meet her because one of our destinations was the Andy Warhol museum in Pittsburgh, PA. Betty knew Warhol (they were both students together in New York) and she shed some very interesting light on his early years for us.


Douglas will be presenting for my Portraits of Jesus class on Wednesday. Her presentation will focus on depictions of the resurrection through the ages. Here is an excerpt of her presentation:

The task before early Christians in a world in which art forms had been set by classical thought and expression, was to infuse biblical truths into the pagan forms handed down to them…. Early Christian art moved away from the naturalism of Greco-Roman art. Abstract simplification and symbolic, rather than narrative, representation became more important.

Douglas moves through Christian appropriation of symbols like the phoenix, the butterfly, enthronement. etc. She will survey ancient, medieval, and modern representations. I cannot wait. We will also ask her to reflect on these pieces:

Da Vinci

Oswaldo / Landowski






My thanks to Betty for her generosity and insight. Her home on the web is


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