Crest
Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology
Michael Morris, OP
Phone: 510-883-2075
Office Hours: By appointment
Office Location: East 209

Curriculum vitae

 

Education

PhD, University of California at Berkeley
 - Art History

MA, University of California at Berkeley
 - Art History

MDiv, Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology
 - Theology

BA, St. Albert's College, Oakland
 - Philosophy

BFA, University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Michael Morris, OP

Professor of Religion & the Arts


I train my students to develop an understanding of religious art as the key to a deeper understanding of theology. For me, it is an important and pleasurable quest to experience in religious studies the beauty that radiates from truth. My teaching method is the classic lecture style with visual aids accompanied by discussion. I offers my students a multidimensional approach to understanding religious themes in all expressions of art.

As a pastime I continue to work in biography, which is an art form I love. I research the lives of saints as represented in art for the devotional magazine, Magnificat, for which I have been writing for 15 years now. Film studies is my other great interest. Film became, as we know, the most popular and influential art form of the 20th century. I continue to research material on Natacha Rambova, the wife of Rudolph Valentino, because she was such an important figure in early Hollywood film history.

For some years now I have been developing off campus a research center for the Arts called The Santa Fe Institute. There we have over 12,000 volumes dedicated to Religion and the Arts and it has become an invaluable resource for everything I do. It also has a growing art collection of painting, sculpture, antique vestments plus the world’s largest collection of biblical movie posters from all over the world. Some are very rare and exhibit a superb level of craftsmanship. It is important to see how faith was transmitted through that medium and how it continues to do so today. 

While the long hard road of studies can seem daunting, it can, as in my case, open up to a professional life that is both enjoyable and rewarding. What better job could one hope for than one where you delve deeper and deeper into the realms of Faith and Beauty? If, as they say, Art is the Shadow of Divine Perfection, then I have one foot in Paradise already!

I am a member of the Core Doctoral Faculty of the GTUCollege Art Association, American Academy of Religion, and The Society for the Arts, Religion, and Contemporary Culture.


Spring 2015 

Art & Religion: The Modern Era (RAHS-4305)
Contemporary Cinema: Theological Reflection (RAST-4490)

Fall 2014 

Christian Iconography (RAHS-1604)
Religion and the Cinema (RAST-2300)

Spring 2014 

Art, Ritual, & Culture (RAHS-4179) (co-taught with Augustine Thompson, OP)

Spring 2013

Death/Judgment/Heaven/Hell (RAST-2332)
The Bible in the Arts Seminar (RABS-5510)

Fall 2011

Art & Religion Proseminar (RAHS-5000)

Fall 2009

Theological Crises and the Development of American Film (RAHS-4900)


PUBLICATIONS

[BOOK PREFACE] THE RELIGIOUS ART OF PABLO PICASSO by Jane Dillenberger and John Handley (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014)

[BOOK CHAPTER] “The Woman Behind the Myth; The Artistic Influence of Natacha Rambova in the Creation of a Hollywood Icon,” in RODOLFO VALENTINO: CINEMA, CULTURA, SOCIETA TRA ITALIA E STATI UNITI NEGLI ANNI VENTI, (Silvio Alovisio and Giulia Carluccio, editors) sponsored by the University of Turin in conjunction with the National Museum of Film, Turin, Italy (Torino, Kaplan, 2012)

[BOOK CHAPTER] “Noble Consort: Saint Joseph in Pre-Raphaelite Painting” in SAINT JOSEPH OF NAZARETH, (Philadelphia: St. Joseph University Press, 2011)

[BOOK CHAPTER] “Eyes Without a Face: A Cinematic Reflection on DeStaebler’s Winged Figure” in SPACE FOR FAITHS, a special edition of ARTS (New Brighton, MN: Arts in Religious and Theological Studies 22:1, 2010)

[BOOK CHAPTER] “Saint Rose and Saint Martin de Porres” in ENCOUNTERS OF FAITH: ART AND DEVOTION IN LATIN AMERICA (Berkeley: Jesuit School of Theology/Santa Clara University, 2010)

[EXHIBITION CATALOG] REEL RELIGION: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF THE BIBLE IN FILM. (New York: Museum of Biblical Art, 2009)

[BOOK CHAPTER] “A Painter’s Magnificat: Frederich Overbeck’sTriumph of Religion in the Arts,” in the book ON PILGRIMAGE WITH MAGNIFICAT (New York: Magnificat USA, 2008)

[REVIEW] “Paolo Veronese: Piety and Display in an Age of Religious Reform” by Richard Cocke (Ashgate, 2006) for SACRED ARCHITECTURE (Fall 2007)

[REVIEW] “Signorelli and Fra Angelico at Orvieto: Liturgy, Poetry, and a Vision of the End-Time” by Sara Nair James (Ashgate, 2005) for SACRED ARCHITECTURE (Summer 2005)

[REVIEW] “In Tiers of Glory: Development of Catholic Church Architecture Through the Ages” by Michael S. Rose (Mesa Folio Editions, 2004) for NEW OXFORD REVIEW (4/2004)

[ESSAY] “Previewing Mel Gibson’s PASSION,” for NEW OXFORD REVIEW, Feb.2004.

[ESSAY] “Artistic Crisis in the Church Today” for NEW WINE (Summer 2003)

[REVIEW] Michael Rose’s UGLY AS SIN: WHY THEY CHANGED OUR CHURCHES FROM SACRED PLACES TO MEETING SPACES--AND HOW WE CAN CHANGE THEM BACK AGAIN reviewed for CRISIS, January 2002.

[REVIEW] Robin Jensen’s UNDERSTANDING EARLY CHRISTIAN ART for THEOLOGICAL STUDIES, September 2001.

[BOOK PREFACE]  “Rouault in Perspective: A Contextual and Theoretical Study of His Art” by Soo Yun Kang (Lanham, MD: International Scholars Publications, 2000) pp. xvii-xviii

[ESSAYS] for the monthly magazine MAGNIFICAT:

“Saints Cyril & Methodius” (February 2014),“St. Martin of Tours” (November 2013),  “St. Hedwig” (October 2013),“St. James the Greater” (July 2013), “St. Bernadine of Siena” (May 2013),“St. Frances of Rome” (March 2013), “St. Vincent of Saragossa” (January 2013),“The Immaculate Conception” (December 2012),“The Guardian Angels” (October 2012),“ The Vision of Saint Bernard” (August 2012),“Mass of St. Gregory” (June 2012),“St. Mark Enthroned” (April 2012), “The Nagasaki Martyrs” (February 2012),“St. Jude Thaddeus” (October 2011), “St. Jerome” (September 2011), “Holy Kinship” (July 2011), “Saints Domitilla, Nereus and Achilleus” (May 2011), “Crosses by Andy Warhol” (Passion Week/April 2011), “Saint Blaise” (February 2011), “Virgin of the Lilies” (December 2010), “Virgin of the Misericordia Sheltering the Carthusians” (October 2010), “The Martyrdom of St. Bartholomew” (August 2010), “Paul and Barnabas and the Sacrifice at Lystra” (June 2010), “Allegory of the Battle of Lepanto” (in honor of St. Pius V, April 2010), “The Presentation of the Lord in the Temple” (February 2010),"The Adoration of the Magi." (Christmas 2009), “St. Francis Xavier Blessing the Sick,” (12/2009), “The Martyrdom of St. Clement,” (11/2009), "St. John Chrysostom and the Empress Eudoxia," (9/2009), “The Revelations of St. Bridget of Sweden,”(7/2009), “Christ of St. John of he Cross,” (Holy Week, 2009),"Christ Visits Mary after His Resurrection," (4/2009) “The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden,” (2/2009), “Virgin of Guadalupe” (12/2008, printed in Our Sunday Visitor), Blake’s “Our Lady with the Infant Jesus Riding on a Lamb with St. John.” (Christmas, 2008), “Martyrdom of St. Denis” (10/2008), “Mary’s Assumption into Heaven” (8/2008), “St. Paul Preaching and Escaping from Damascus in a Basket” (6/2008), “Rublev’s Icon of the Trinity” (5/2008),  “Noli Me Tangere” (Holy Week 2008), “St. Dominic in Adoration before the Crucifix” (3/2008), “Expulsion from the Garden of Eden” (2/2008), “The Nativity” (Christmas 2007), “St. John on Patmos” (Dec. 2007), “The Gates of Hell” (Nov. 2007), “Domine Quo Vadis?” (Sept. 2007), “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” (July 2007), “Pentecost” (May 2007), “Judith Slaying Holofernes” (3/2007), “Rest on the Flight into Egypt” (1/2007), “Massacre of the Innocents” (12/2006), “Adoration of the Shepherds” (Christmas/2006), “Allegory of the Camaldolese Order” (6/2006), “Allegory of the Cross” (3/2006), “The Fight Between Carnival and Lent” (2/2006), “The Feast of the Rose Garlands” (6/2006), “The Descent into Hell” (4/2006), “The Adoration of the Magi” (1/2006),  “St. Ambrose” (12/2006),“Saint Catherine of Alexandria” (November 2005), “Saint Wenceslas” (Sept. 2005), “The Sower” ((July 2005), “The First Bishop of Jerusalem” (May 2005), “Angel of the Apocalypse--St. Vincent Ferrer” (April 2005), “The Adoration of the Name of Jesus” (January 2005) “The Seed of David” (Christmas 2004),“Saint Thomas a Becket” (Dec. 2004), “Pope Leo the Great” (Nov. 2004),“St. Therese of Lisieux,” (October 2004), “Triumph of the Holy Cross,” (Sept. 2004), “Sts. Augustine and Monica,” (August 2004), “Saint Thomas the Apostle,” (July 2004), “The Birth of John the Baptist,” (June 2004), “The Ascension (May 2004), “Ecce Homo” (Holy Week 2004), “Saint Catherine of Siena” (April 2004), “Saint John of God,” (March 2004), “The Seven Holy Founders,” (February 2004),”Saint Raymond of Penyafort,” (January 2004), “The Adoration of the Shepherds” (Christmas 2003); “Pope Saint Sylvester” (December 2003); “Presentation of the Virgin” (November 2003); “San Juan Capistrano” (October 2003); “The Healing of Tobit” (September 2003); “The Assumption” (Aug. 2003); “St. Ignatius of Loyola” (July 2003); ”St. Anthony of Padua” (June 2003); “St. Isadore the Farmer” (May 2003); ”La Dolorosa” (Holy Week 2003); “St. Francis of Paola” (April 2003); “St. Cyril of Jerusalem” (March 2003); “St. Scholastica” (Feb. 2003); “Saint Sebastian’ (Jan. 2003); “The Triumph of the Innocents” (Christmas 2002), “Saint Lucy” (Dec. 2002), “Christ the King” (November 2002), “Saint Luke” (October 2002), “Saints Cosmas and Damian” (Sept. 2002), “John the Baptist” (August 2002), “St. Benedict” (July 2002), “Sir Thomas More” (June 2002), “Saint Philip” (May 2002), “The Annunciation” (April 2002), “The Passion” (Holy Week 2002), “The Last Supper” (March 2002), “Saint Peter” (Feb. 2002), “Visions of the Newborn King” (Jan. 2002), “Santa Klaus-Saint Nicholas” (Christmas 2001), “Renunciation of Elizabeth of Hungary” (Nov. 2001), “Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila” (Oct. 2001), “Calling of St. Matthew” (Sept. 2001), “Rose of Lima” (Aug. 2001), “Joachim and Anne at the Golden Gate” (July 2001), “Peter and Paul, Apostles” (June 2001), “The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary” (May 2001), “Saint George” (April 2001), “Christ’s Passion” (Holy Week, 2001), “The Book of Kells” (Mar. 2001), “ Saint Agatha’s Martyrdom,” (Feb. 2001), “St. Anthony” (January 2001), “The Nativity” (Christmas 2000), “Picturing Jesus” (December 2000), “The Last Judgment” (Nov. 2000),“The Virgin and the Rosary” (Oct. 2000), “Pope Gregory and St. Michael” (Sept. 2000), “The Crowning of Mary” (Aug. 2000), “Mary and Martha” (July 2000), “The Martyrs’ Last Prayer” (June 2000), “Christ in the Carpenter’s Shop” (May 2000), “The Temptation of Christ” (Apr. 2000), “The Heavenly Rosary” (Holy Week 2000), “The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities” (Mar. 2000), “The Blessed in Paradise” (Feb 2000), “The Conversion of St. Paul” (Jan. 2000), “The Light of the World” (Jubilee Year 2000), “Tree of Jesse” (Nov. 1999), “St. Francis of Assisi” (Oct. 1999), “The Transfiguration” (Aug. 1999), “The Magdalen” (July 1999).

[ESSAY] “Sun Rising in the East: On Priests and Altars,” CRISIS, November 2000

[ESSAY] “The Reel Jesus,” CRISIS, June 2000

[ESSAY] “St. Joan of Arc on the Big Screen,” CRISIS, December 1999

[ESSAY] “Protestant and Catholic Images of the Virgin Mary in Art in the Past Two Centuries,” MARIAN STUDIES 1999

[ESSAY] “Le corps crucifié du Christ; Mystique et réalisme dans l’art du XIXe et du XXe siècles” PIERRE D’ANGLE, 1998 (France)

[ESSAY] “Looking for Reel Religion,” IMAGE magazine, November 1998

[ESSAY] “Learning Symbols of the Ages,” for THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER, August 10-16, 1997

[ESSAY] ”How Jesus Fares on the Silver Screen,” for THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER, July 27-August 2, 1997

[BOOK PREFACE] THE COMPLETE IDIOT’S GUIDE TO THE WORLD’S RELIGIONS by Luke Buckles, O.P. and Brandon Tarpov (New York: Macmillan, 1997)

[REVIEW] “Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder” a review of Colleen McDannell’s MATERIAL CHRISTIANITY and David Morgan’s PROTESTANTISM: THE ART OF WARNER SALLMAN, reviewed for NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER, April 27-May 3, 1997

[ENTRIES] THE MACMILLAN DICTIONARY OF ART

(3 entries: Calvary, Medieval  Sarchophagi, Decorated Chapels),(London, MACMILLAN, 1996)

[REVIEW] Jonathan B. Riess’ THE RENAISSANCE ANTICHRIST: LUCA SIGNORELLI’S ORVIETO FRESCOES, reviewed for THEOLOGICAL STUDIES, December 1996

[ESSAY] “The Art of the Eucharist,” for THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER, October 1, 1995

[ESSAY] “St. Michael,” for THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER, Sept. 24, 1995

[ESSAYS] a three-part travel series appeared in THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER in 1995 (“St. Dominic’s Country,” August 6; “A Journey to France’s Dominican Heartland,” August 13; and “Rome Bound: An Italian Itinerary,” August 27) 

[REVIEW] Thomas F. Matthews’ THE CLASH OF THE GODS: A REINTERPRETATION OF EARLY CHRISTIAN ART, reviewed for AMERICA, August 12, 1995

[ESSAY] “Religion and Prime Time Television,” for THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER,  July 2, 1995

[ESSAY] “St. Anthony Abbot,” for THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER, Jan. 22, 1995

[ESSAY] “The Immaculate Conception: The Artistic Image,” for THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER, Dec. 4, 1994

[ESSAYS] a six-part series on Sacred Art in Modern Times that appeared in

THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER in 1994 (“The Future is the Past,” Sept. 11; “Worship at Nature’s Altar,” Sept. 18; “The Symbolism of Faith,” Sept. 25; “The Christ of History,” Oct.2; “Surrealism and the Church,” Oct.9; “The New Language of Art,” Oct.16)

[REVIEW] Michael Marlais' CONSERVATIVE ECHOES IN FIN-DE-SIECLE PARISIAN ART CRITICISM, reviewed for THE AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW (December 1993)

[REVIEW] THE BIG BLOW-UP: POMPEII EXHIBIT SKEWERS THE MUSEUM SYSTEM, reviewed for THE DAILY CALIFORNIAN (Feb. 24, 1993), p.9

[REVIEW] Jane Dillenberger's IMAGE OF THE SPIRIT IN SACRED AND SECULAR ART, reviewed for THE THOMIST (October 1992), pp 738-40

[ESSAY] "The Beardsley Illustrations for Oscar Wilde's SALOME," in WILD ABOUT WILDE NEWSLETTER (Oct. 16, 1992)

[BOOK]  Chapter, "Twilight of the Gods," in the book, IMAGE AND LIKENESS: RELIGIOUS  DIMENSIONS OF AMERICAN FILM CLASSICS, (Paulist Press, 1992)

[BOOK] MADAM VALENTINO: THE MANY LIVES OF NATACHA RAMBOVA  

(New York: Abbeville Press, 1991)

*Listed by the NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW as one of the "Notable Books of the Year" (12/1/91) and awarded "Best Cover for 1991" by Bookbinders' Guild of America (11/11/92); translated into Spanish and published under the title, NATACHA RAMBOVA, by Circe of Barcelona (paperback, 1994, 1999)

[ESSAY] "The Woman Who Launched Apollo," SATURDAY REVIEW cover story in THE LONDON TIMES (10/5/91)

[ESSAY] "Of God and Man," in AMERICAN FILM (October 1988), pp 44-49

[ESSAY] "Fundamentalists Fight LAST TEMPTATION," in THE NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER (8/8/88), p.25

[REVIEW] Umberto Eco's ART AND BEAUTY IN THE MIDDLE AGES, reviewed for THE THOMIST (January 1988), pp 181-3

COMPLETED & FORTHCOMING:

[BOOK] THE WOMAN BEHIND THE MYTH (Torino: Vivace Edizioni, 2014)

[REVIEW] RELIGIOUS POVERTY, VISUAL RICHES: ART IN THE DOMINICAN CHURCHES OF CENTRAL ITALY IN THE 13THAND 14TH CENTURIES by Joanna Cannon for REVIEWS IN HISTORY (Institute of Historical Research, University of London).

IN PREPARATION FOR FUTURE PUBLICATION:

[BOOK] LIVES OF THE EMINENT ARTISTS OF THE DOMINICAN ORDER

[BOOK] SUMMA CINEMATICA: THE RELIGIOUS CATEGORIES OF FILM

[BOOK] COWLED CREATURES: THE IMAGE OF THE MONK IN GEORGIAN AND VICTORIAN ENGLAND

[BOOK] THE ART OF MORALITY: VIRTUE AND VICE IN THEOLOGY AND CULTURE

Reasearch Interests

  • art history
  • film
  • biography
  • myth and legend
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