Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Art As a Gateway to the Sacred
In the two millennia that Christianity has existed, art has played an ever vital role in the lives of the faithful. Christian art developed early in the history of the church, with symbols, such as fish or lamb to represent Christ and/or Christian communities. However, once Christianity became an established religion, the world of Christian art exploded. Many fine pieces of this early art remain today, such as mosaics and stain glass windows. These impressive depictions were created to transport the worshiper from an earthly state to a divine experience, or heaven on earth. Something we are all very familiar with, cathedrals, are considered to be some of the most impressive structures built to this day and they themselves are considered artwork. These churches were filled with statues and stained glass, not only to create a celestial atmosphere, but also to tell as story. During the middle ages, an overwhelming majority of the population was illiterate, therefore churches began to teach through art. These statues and stained glass are meant to tell the story of the Old Testament, Christ, and Church doctrine, making it easier for people to understand their religious beliefs. I find religious art to be a fascinating addition to the art world. It serves such an important role in the church and in many ways allows people to strengthen their faith.