The Way of Beauty
Liturgy, Education, and Inspiration for Family, School, and College


282 pages
ISBN: 978-1-62138-141-9

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IN THE WAY OF BEAUTY, David Clayton describes how a true Catholic education is both a program of liturgical catechesis and an inculturation that aims for the supernatural transformation of the person so that he can in turn transfigure the whole culture through the divine beauty of his daily action. There is no human activity, no matter how mundane, that cannot be enhanced by this formation in beauty. Such enhanced activity then resonates in harmony with the common good and, through its beauty, draws all people to the Church — and ultimately to the worship of God in the Sacred Liturgy.

The Way of Beauty will be of profound interest not only to artists, architects, and composers, but also to educators, who can apply its principles in home and classroom for the formation and education of children and students of all ages and at all levels — family, homeschooling, high school, college, and university.

See below for color images of the paintings shown in the book.

Praise for The Way of Beauty:

“Since the good, the true, and the beautiful are a manifestation of the Trinity, it is always a grievous fault to leave beauty out of any discussion of the relationship between faith and reason. This being so, I am thrilled at the way David Clayton illustrates how beauty stands in eternal communion with the good and the true.”

JOSEPH PEARCE, Aquinas College

“In spite of the great proclamation that the sacred liturgy is the font and apex of all we are about as Catholics, fifty years after the Council we still seem far from seeing and living this truth in all its fullness. Drawing upon years of experience as artist and teacher, David Clayton thoroughly unpacks this truth and shows, with an impressive range of examples, how it can and should play out every day in our schools, academic curricula, cultural endeavors, and practice of the fine arts. His treatment of the ways in which architecture, liturgy, and music reflect the mathematical ordering of the cosmos and the hierarchy of created being is illuminating and exciting. The Way of Beauty is a manifesto for the re-integration of the truth laid hold of in intellectual disciplines, the beauty aspired to in art and worship, and the good embodied in morals and manners. Ambitiously integrative yet highly practical, this book ought to be in the hands of every Catholic educator, pastor, and artist.”

PETER KWASNIEWSKI, Wyoming Catholic College

“In The Way of Beauty, David Clayton offers us a mini-liberal arts education. The book is a counter-offensive against a culture that so often seems to have capitulated to a ‘will to ugliness.’ He shows us the power in beauty not just where we might expect it — in the visual arts and music — but in domains as diverse as math, theology, morality, physics, astronomy, cosmology, and liturgy. But more than that, his study of beauty makes clear the connection between liturgy, culture, and evangelization, and offers a way to reinvigorate our commitment to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful in the twenty-first century. I am grateful for this book and hope many will take its lessons to heart.”

JAY W. RICHARDS, Catholic University of America

“Every pope who has promoted the new evangelization has spoken about how essential ‘the way of beauty’ is in engaging the modern world with the Gospel. What is it about the experience of beauty that can arrest the heart, crack it open, and stir its deepest longings, leading us on a pilgrimage to God? David Clayton’s book provides compelling answers.”

CHRISTOPHER WEST, Founder and President of The Cor Project

“David Clayton has written a wonderful new book that highlights the centrality of beauty and art in education and human formation. He explains the deep relationship between liturgy and culture, while offering practical ways to educate a new generation of artists who can bring about what St. John Paul called a ‘new epiphany of beauty.’”


About the Author

DAVID CLAYTON is an internationally acclaimed Catholic artist, teacher, and published writer on sacred art, liturgy, and culture. He is known for his own popular blog,, and has been the writer on sacred art for the New Liturgical Movement website for five years. He is currently Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in New Hampshire, where he has taught since 2009, and is the founder of the Way of Beauty program, which has been taught for college credit, featured on television, and is now presented in this book. His work as an artist has been featured in national press in the UK and US, and his commissions include St. Luigi Scrosoppi for the London Oratory.

Images from The Way of Beauty

CHAPTER 5 (Section on Number.)

Alba Madonna, Raphael

Trinity Shield, French, 13th century, illumination detail

Christ in Majesty (Enthroned), Clayton, 21st century

Link to Westminster Abbey site to see the cosmati Westminster pavement

Picture of Westminster pavement

Quincunx in cosmati floor, Santa Croce, Rome

Cosmati floor with sixfold symmetry, Santa Maria in Cosmedin

The Transfiguration, Raphael, 16th century

Pythagoras, detail of School of Athens, Raphael, 16th century

The School of Athens, complete, Raphael, 16th century

Christ in Glory, English 13th century, illumination in Westminster psalter


CHAPTER 6: Harmonious Proportion

Attingham House

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Clayton, 21st century

St Paul, Andrei Rublev, 15th century

The Raising of Lazarus, Giotto, 13-14th century

Louis XIV, Bernini, 17th century

Blessed Ludovica, Bernini, 17th century


CHAPTER 9: The Theology and Form of the Artistic Traditions of the Church

Archangel Michael, Greek icon, 13th century

Abraham and Isaac, Sir Anthony van Dyck, 17th century

The Resurrection, Fra Angelico, 15th century

Cosmati work, San Clemente, Rome – broad view of interior

 Cosmati work, Santa Maria Maggiore, detail

CHAPTER 10: The Development of the Style of Iconography

The Good Shepherd, mosaic, Ravenna, 5th century

Justinian and his Retinue, 6th century, mosaic, Ravenna

Christ Pantocrator, 6th century, Mt Sinai

Christ Enthroned, Books of Kells, Irish

Archangel Gabriel, Clayton, 21st century

Supper at Emmaeus, Caravaggio, 17th century

St Luke, Clayton, 21st century

Christ in Glory (Enthroned), English illuminator, 13th century

Face of Christ (mandylion), Clayton, 21st century

Mother of God, Clayton, 21st century

New Martyr Elizabeth, Adian Hart, 20th century


Gothic Art Case Studies

The Transfiguration, Duccio, 13/14th century

The Transfiguration, 16th century, Russian

Resurrection, Fra Angelico

Annunciation, Fra Angelico


Baroque Art Case Studies

Crucifixion, Velazquez, 17th century, full picture

Crucifixion, Velazquez, details head

Crucifixion, Velazquez, details loin cloth

Ecce Homo (the Scourging of Christ), Procaccini, 17th century

Immaculate Conception, Tiepolo, 18th century

St Francis in Prayer, Zurbaran, 17th century


CHAPTER 15: Why We Need Different Artistic Traditions

St Peter, Strozzi, 17th century

St John, Rublev, 15th century

Christ Talking to the Woman at the Well, Duccio, 13th/14th centuries

The Repentance of St Peter, Guido Reni, 17th century