Where Heaven and Earth Meet

The Spiritual in the Art of Kandinsky, Rothko, Warhol, and Kiefer


Art has always been important for religion or spirituality. Secular art displayed in museums can also be spiritual, and it is this art that is the subject of this book.
Many of the works of art produced by Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, Andy Warhol, and Anselm Kiefer are spiritual in nature. These works reveal their own spirituality, which often has no connection to official religions. Wessel Stoker demonstrates that these artists communicate religious insights through images and shows how they depict the relationship between heaven and earth, between this world and a transcendent reality, thus clearly drawing the contours of the spirituality these works evince.

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Wessel Stoker is Professor Emeritus of Aesthetics at VU University Amsterdam. He has written various books on topics of philosophy of religion, including Is the Quest for Meaning the Quest for God? (1996) and Is Faith Rational? (2006), and has edited numerous volumes, such as Roman &Religie. Bespiegelingen over godsdienst in “Knielen op een bed violen” (2009) and Kunst en Religie (2011).
"Whoever wants to descend into the catacombs of the religious aspects of Rothko’s work and other artists will find a perfect and knowledgeable travel guide in Stoker’s Where Heaven and Earth Meet." – Joost Zwagerman, De Volkskrant
"Stoker demonstrates how transcendence and spirituality play a role in secular art and provides a nuanced and differentiated outline of that role." – Marcel Barnard, Nederlands Theologisch Tijdschrift
"… finely detailed and erudite chapters on Kandinsky, Rothko, Warhol, and Kiefer." – Anne Marijke Spijkerboer, VolZin
Art and Spirituality
What Makes Secular Art Spiritual Art?
A Heuristic Model
Kandinsky: Art as Spiritual Bread
“Expressive” Art: The Inner Sound
Veiled‐Figurative Abstraction
Geometric and Biomorphic Abstraction
A Spirituality of Inwardness: Radical Immanence
Rothko: The Tragedy of Human Existence
Myths as the Expression of the Tragic
Colour Fields: Filled or Empty?
The Rothko Chapel Paintings
A Spirituality of Silence
Warhol: A Spiritual Business Artist
The Last Supper: A Preliminary Exploration
The Image: Simulacrum or Referential?
A Spirituality of Everyday
Kiefer: Can Heaven Bear the Weight of History?
The Tear in Reality
Transformation and Restoration
A Spirituality of Concrete
The Spiritual Image
The Spiritual Image in Secular Art
Spiritual Insights
Index of Subjects
Index of Names
List of Paintings