answer to what importance religious art has to us today,
I took it upon myself to answer this question with a look
backward. First I thought we would take a look at the role
it played in History - not just Christian art, but art as
it related cross culturally and applied to various religious
usage. Next I thought I would bring us up to date to some
symbolist and modern works in which the attempt to relate
visual imagery to spiritual transcendence was attempted.
Then I thought I might tie all this into the state of affairs
of our contemporary art world where absurdity seems to reign
supreme... and then answer the question.
O. K. - I promised to produce this little bit of writing. Unfortunately, I am too busy trying to pay the bills and raise money for the first prototype painting and haven't the time needed for the writing.
tells the story of mankind with outstretched arms, seeking
Divine Light. It is everywhere, in every culture. Struggling
with a concept beyond the mind's ability to grasp, man has
been moved by the voices and visions of artists, as artists,
through time, have depicted the Divine as revealed through
scripture. Using forms familiar to our world and familiar
to our perception, artists from all beliefs have made God
tangible to the understanding of believers.
is a powerful medium. In our Christian 'Western World',
from the Renaissance, God has been given a visual identity
with a Father image complete with white, flowing beard.
All that we might better relate. Some have issue with figurative
representations of God, as such representations tend to
limit His Holiness, His Glory. Some takes issue that such
images may lead one to the wrong understanding Such thoughts
aided the Reformation, resulting in art-less churches, clean
and white. Decoration was not trust worthy, and there was
to be no distraction from studying Gods Word.
the less, great religious works of art have been the result
of gifted and inspired artists throughout history. Many
such works have been ambitious projects that stand as moving
historical achievements. The Sistine Chapel ceiling and
Last Judgment wall by Michelangelo are among the best known
of these artistic accomplishments. As is Leonardo da Vinci's
Last Supper. Less familiar achievements, yet spectacular
still, the Fierenze Baptista doors by Ghiberti, the tile
mosaics inside the San Marco Basilica, the Giotto paintings
within the Arena Chapel. Think of the architecture of the
great gothic cathedrals built to glorify God and the music
of Bach. Major achievements that have stood the test of
time and remain no less inspirational to us today.
are great achievements among many artistic endeavors that
have told God's story and lifted man's spirit closer to
Is art work about the Bible - that glorifies Gods
the lineage of a great tradition, one that has inspired
and moved hundreds of millions of people for centuries -
to Gods great mercy - the Freedom ART Project marches
forward as a tribute to God and His Holy Word.
~ Jeff LeFever,