When Religion and Art Clash
Billkozy on 02/02/2008
|Aside from the times when they indeed clash (see following quiz) one wonders what religious art is in the first place. The artists were religious men and women themselves? Art that portrays religious subjects? Usually we find that art focuses on Biblical themes, the most prevalent time being the Renaissance when churches hired artists to put Biblical and classic mythology themes to work in their houses of worship. But as we saw in the Inquisition, religious art could be used for decidedly irreligious or inhumane purposes. |
Perhaps this all begs the question, "Well what do you mean by religion in the first place?" Religion usually seems to mean the desire for civilization and the individual to understand their meaning in the world, its purpose or significance. After all, the word itself comes from the Latin "to tie things together." But being that religion in general refers to all religions over the world and history, it shouldn't necessarily be about the Bible to be "religious art."
Merriam-Webster's defines art as "the conscious use of skill and creative imagination especially in the production of aesthetic objects." What are aesthetic objects? Human feelings and goals, running the gamut from the simplicity of a sweet smelling flower to sophisticated ponderances such as the nature of evil? Does art intend to link these ideas to the individual's experience of them? If so, the idea that art be "pretty" seems illogical since so many of life's experiences are indeed ugly and upsetting, and thus they should be included under the umbrella of subjects art depicts.
It seems that we are led to have to accept that art, including religious art be allowed to express even ugly notions of religious ideas. As long as some sort of religious wondering is achieved, good or bad, then it is relevant religious art. Thus the concept of religion and art clashing is really a non-concept.
Or maybe that's all just a bunch of crap.
Okay then, I hope you enjoy this quiz. And hey, a lot of these questions required me to come up with some fake multiple choice answers that if I may toot my own horn, sound just as creatively goofy as the real answer. So let me just say that if any of you artists out there decide to use one of those ideas you better cut me in on some of the action!
Or at least invite me to your gallery showing. Especially if there's wine and cheese.
Good luck, and peace be with you now and always,
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