God in art

I imagine that many of us have a favorite piece of art. Some of us may be lucky enough to live in a place where we can even see that art up close and  personal (though the experiences of virtual reality are getting better and better all the time). With recent technological advances, it is now possible to “see” the paintings in the Sistine Chapel even without even being in Rome!

In the feature story on finding God in religious art Eileen Daily offers some specific ways that artistic images of the persons of the Trinity have been shaped over the centuries. In many ways, history shaped art, art shaped theology — essentially, each has mutually influenced the other. The influence has been and is immense! It may even surprise us to examine our own images of God in light of the art we have viewed, studied, loved or even hated.

Daily further encourages us to search the world wide web for resources and offers global references for possible further examination. In addition, she suggests some specific tools for exploring art as a part of any faith formation process. I imagine many adult formation programs would find this an exciting possibility and would find eager partners for this endeavor at local museums as well as with art, history and theology faculties at colleges or even high schools.

In his column, Gabe Huck writes about art and all objects we use in our worship environment. He invites us to ponder more deeply their  roots and influence, suggesting that we encourage conversations that are open-ended and exploratory in nature so that we can all learn and be formed by art: “Just suppose that in your assembly’s gathering space, in the parish bulletin and in worship aids, we sought images like those reproduced here, ancient or modern but of strong artwork.”

I hope both columns offer practical and pastoral suggestions to your local communities.

Editor’s note: Websites to view the suggested art in Huck’s column can be found online on the subscriber page.  Preparation materials, prayers and music for the Assumption are found in this issue.