Monday, June 23, 2008

Christian Art: Does It Exist?

Christian Art: Does It Exist?

Let's deconstruct this pretentious question:

Define
  1. Christian
  2. Art
  3. Existence
Next, put these back together
  1. Christian existence
  2. Art existence
  3. Christian art existence
Semantics? Maybe so, but meaning is part of art, isn't it? If we cannot understand the depth of the question, we will struggle to understand the depth of the answer.

What do you think? No pat, contrived, Hallmark Greeting Card replies: tell what you really think, and why. If you've got examples, Scripture or science to back it, even better.

1 comment:

cepre said...

I once read a magazine article that I remember as titled The Vanishing Point. I've sometimes looked for it to read again, but alas, it seems to have, "vanished." (sorry).
The article explored the percieved "purpose" of art. Artistic expression was, according to the writer, an attempt to convey emotional response and even homage to the unknown. Pagans, polytheists, monotheists, all created according to their object of adoration. The arthur did a superb job of outlining a progression from artistic portrayals of creation that, during the time of the Greeks, focused upon the image of the perfect Man, blossomed during the Renaissance and Church sanctioned art, until the 20th century, when Nietzsche declared that Man had murdered God and He was now dead. There then arose the abstract, and the bizarre expression that is post-modernism. Of course, I'm mangling the work of that unknown arthur, mixing in my own conceptions. But his culminating point was that, without God, ("...a god to adore") the point of art has "vanished."

Since God is obviously not dead, or vanished, neither has our need to express our emotional response, our adoration of Him. Art, true art, has always existed. The people of God have expressed their adoration and awe of Him through music, dance, poetry, and stories throughout history. The Church has included imagery, both two and three dimensional.

"Christian Art: Does it exist?" is a question that arises, at worst, from a void, at best from the spirit of a critic who seeks to lift up. "Can we make Christain art something that is a truer, fuller expression of our emotional response to God?" might be another way of exploring such a motive.

The quest to do so, to reveal our emotional and spiritual experiences tangibly that the revelation might be communicated and shared with others is the artist's quest. Seeking Him in perfect libery, freeing ourselves of religious bondanges, and seeing Him more fully, in all the apsects of Himself He chooses to reveal - this is the "terroir" of that quest.

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