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Consecration ceremonies range from the ancient Egyptian

The German Romantic philosophers, including J.G. Fichte (1762-1814), Friedrich W.J. Schelling (1775-1854), and August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767-1845), built upon the foundations of subjectivity introduced by Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) and the spiritual in art of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832). Other philosophical and theological influences from Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768–1834) to Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867) to Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882) to John Ruskin (1819–1900) corroborated this transformation toward a spiritualizing of art and toward the establishment of an academic discourse identifiable as art and religion. This genre of Christian art initiated by Rio, Lindsay, and Jameson was quickly expanded by a variety of ministers, artists, and educators predominantly from England, France, Germany, and then the United States. Their publications included travel diaries, behavior manuals, gift books and annuals, and treatises on the history and symbolism of Christian art; and this genre flourished into the early twentieth century, as witnessed by the popular books of Estelle Hurll, The Madonna in Art (1897) and Clara Erskine Clement Waters, Saints in Art (1899).

Concurrently, the academic study of religion, especially as the history of religions, began to surface in the German university system, while an assortment of cultural events, including the artistic modes of Orientalism and Japonisme in the nineteenth century and the fascination with le primtif in the early twentieth century, the Christian missions into China and Japan, the Chicago World’s Fair, the Parliament of World Religions, and the phenomenon of theosophy created a cultural climate of intellectual and popular interest in other religions, particularly Hinduism and Buddhism. Nonetheless, the lens was Western—so a Western perception of Hinduism or Buddhism as both a religion and a culture. Western scholars and commensurately Western scholarship has privileged this field of study. Students of religion and artists learned about the aesthetics and art of “the other.” As the academic study of art history was being organized in several European universities, the recognition of the need to learn about religion was mandatory for the research and discussion of Christian art, and later of the arts of India, China, and Japan. From its earliest moment, then, art and religion was a multicultural and multireligious form of discourse.