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Art and Faith

Art and Faith

Art & Faith

We all like to express ourselves whether it’s to splash out and buy some colourful cloths or to take part in some sporting activity. Being expressive helps us to interact with other people, often improving our relationships with people and our won emotional wellbeing followed by a sense of fulfilment.

Our expressive natures more often than not can be very creative, we like to play on musical instruments or garden, write stories or paint pictures.

Our understanding of the world around us often can depend upon our creative natures. The beauty of the natural world and Universe also helps us to deepen our faith.

In our religious life it can help us if we exploit our creative natures to deepen faith and its meaning for us.

One of the important creative avenues is the reproduction of images and events through drawing, painting and sculpture. It’s a method of  expression which from the earliest Christians has been used to inform us with emotion, beauty and understanding which all helps to deepen our faith. It has, and is a tool of expression which allows us to ‘visualise our faith’ in all its glory.

These are qualities which the early artistic Christians were able to tell the Christian stories and its message through picture and symbols, sculpture and stained glass.

Over the last five hundred years or so we have seen countless artists expressing aspects of faith through great paintings. The expressive faces of the Apostles surrounding Christ in the painting of Bosch (c 1450) entitled ‘The Christ Crowned with Thorns’. Also consider the heightened reality of the painting entitled ‘The Supper at Emmaus’ by Michelangelo. Again, look at the paintings of Caravaggio: We see Christ surrounded by men who looked just like ordinary people of Naples. It makes us think how ordinary the disciples probably were, just like any man you might meet on the street in Bristol today. A more recent example is the painting by Salvador Dali of Christ of St John on the Cross’ c 1951.

This crucified Christ hanging over the world, suggesting the all abiding power and presence of the crucifixion dominating humanity, and sending us the great sense of our redemption through time and space. So the next time you have the opportunity to go to an Art Gallery, make a point of searching out the religious paintings and see how your faith can be enriched by the expressive works of great artists.

Michael Long  ACSD.


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