During his lifetime, Hans Rookmaaker guided a great host of students into a strategy for understanding their times and working within their society with courage and creativity. His best-selling Modern Art and the Death of a Culture (IVP, 1970) was nothing short of a ground-breaking study of the surrounding culture, both in its threats and its promises. He dared to make sense of the steps to modern art by noting the general trend from a theocentric world to an absurd universe that lay behind the pictures. Malcolm Muggeridge, himself a returned prodigal, gave it a ringing endorsement on the pages of Esquire. Following in the tradition of the historian Groen van Prinsterer, the theologian-statesman Abraham Kuyper, and the philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd, Rookmaaker believed there was a spiritual background to Western painting which was the key to unlocking its meaning. However, unlike amateur attempts to reduce art to philosophy, Rookmaaker led the reader on a visit to hundreds of paintings, writings, and musical numbers, pausing to scrutinize their composition and motifs.
In another article Richard Russell has written:
Dooyeweerd's ideas profoundly influenced Hans Rookmaaker, playing a crucial role in his conversion, explicitly shaping his academic works like Synthetist Art Theories and implicit in his more popular writings like Modern Art and the Death of a Culture. In turn, Rookmaaker introduced Francis Schaeffer to some of Dooyeweerd's themes---a dependency that Schaeffer rarely, if ever, acknowledged.
Also on Rookmaaker:
Linette Martin Hans Rookmaaker: A Biography (Hodders, 1979)
Laurel Gasque Hans Rookmaaker: An Open Life
A brief bio and description of the Rookmaaker archives held at Wheaton college here.
The importance of Hans Rookmaaker
Marleen Hengelaar-Rookmaaker (editor) The Complete Works of Hans R. Rookmaaker (Piquant, 2002/3)
Update: thanks to Gregory Baus the links have been updated and should work now.