Four Quartets

Jeremy Begbie • Makoto Fujimura
Bruce Herman • Christopher Theofanidis

In response to T.S. Eliot, a collaboration in word, image, and music.

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Upcoming Dates

Roanoke College, Virginia

January 17 - February 14, 2014 (Artists’ reception January 17, 2014 in Olin Theatre Hall 6 - 9pm)
Lecture, Makoto Fujimura and Bruce Herman
Performance of Christopher Theofanidis’ “At the Still Point” by artists-in-residence Benedict Goodfriend, Alan Weinstein, and Elizabeth Bachelder (Kandinsky Trio) and guests Fritz Gearhart, violin, and Amadi Azikiwe, viola. “At the Still Point” will also be performed on January 18, 2014 at the Kandinsky Trio series concert beginning at 7:30 pm in Olin Theater.

Cairn University – Connie A. Eastburn Gallery, Langhorne, PA

March 1 - May 17, 2014
Reception & Gallery Talk, April 28 2014, 2:00pm
Makoto Fujimura & Bruce Herman

The American Church in Paris, Paris France

June 7 - July 4, 2014
Reception, Lecture & Music Performance, evening of June 10, 2014
Makoto Fujimura, Bruce Herman & Christopher Theofanidis

Fall/Winter 2013–14 planned exhibition and concert tour to Japan, China, and UK Initial funding by Walter and Darlene Hansen

Past Dates

Westmont-Ridley Tree Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA

October 21 - November 9, 2013 (Artists’ reception October 23, 2013 4 - 6pm)

IAM INHABIT Conference, New York City

October 3 - 5, 2013

Billy Graham Center Museum at Wheaton College

May 10 - September 22, 2013

Gallery at Barrington Center for the Arts at Gordon College

April 13 - May 1, 2013

Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University, New Haven CT

February 21 - March 8, 2013

Duke University Chapel, Durham NC

January 28 - February 10, 2013

Martin Museum of Art at Baylor University, Waco TX

November 29, 2012 - January 17, 2013

Learn more about the project…

Project Overview

A masterpiece can be said to be a work with the capacity to outlast its time and speak to cultures vastly different from its own; to transcend its time and place and inspire new works by artists in succeeding generations.

T. S. Eliot's Four Quartets is such a masterpiece.

Artists Makoto Fujimura and Bruce Herman, along with composer Christopher Theofanidis and theologian Jeremy Begbie, have begun a touring exhibition and festival of theology and the arts which reveals this very thing: Eliot's masterpiece is still able to transcend its era and social location, generating fresh response and inspiring young artists of today. Fujimura and Herman have each completed four large works in response to the imagery, emotion, and allusion evoked by Four Quartets, and have collaborated with Christopher Theofanidis in his commissioned musical score entitled “At the Still Point.” Dr. Begbie has initiated and is actively organizing a scholarly and theological colloquium at Duke University that underscores Eliot's relevance for this new generation.

To that end, we are asking for significant partnership with donors who will join us in providing the best possible future venues, publications, publicity, and public colloquia that will reveal how Eliot's faith and literary vision engaged his own generation, how this vision can speak to our own time, and how it can bear rich fruit among future generations of poets, composers, and artists.

Four Quartets and Faith: Why Eliot, why paintings, why now?

When first published, Eliot’s poem received a lukewarm reception by colleagues and literary critics who compared it to his masterpiece, The Wasteland, and found it lacking. Friends of Eliot’s, such as Virginia Woolf and James Joyce, criticized the poem for its overt allusion to Christian faith and the traditions of sacred poetry, like that of Dante and Julian of Norwich, and the obvious way the poet attempted to blend modernist literary tropes with traditional religion. These critics thought Christianity was a thing of the past and irretrievable by contemporary artists and thinkers. Yet now, more than three-quarters of a century later, the poem is considered a major milestone in English literature.

Four Quartets is relevant to our own cultural moment because of its powerful testimony to the grace and vision of the Gospel message in a multicultural milieu. In Eliot’s vision all hinges upon the “still point” where the human experience of time evokes wonder, fear and longing for continuance and redemption, and where Christ’s presence is the pivotal point for the entire Creation. Herman and Fujimura have made a substantive response in painting, not so much illustrating Eliot’s work or making direct allusion to passages in the poem as attempting to find, in Eliot’s words, the “objective correlative,” between the poet’s themes and their own works. Christopher Theofanidis has produced a compelling score that evokes the brooding and brilliant light of Eliot’s poem. In effect, the painters and composer are collaborating in intentional dialogue with the poem, revealing the staying power of its genius and its self-declared reliance on the Christian literary and theological tradition.

Listen to T.S. Eliot read his work, Four Quartets.