"God created the arts in order that life might be held together by
them, so that we should not separate ourselves from spiritual things"
(St. John of the Cross).
The Annunciation by Sawai ChinnawongI see: I know, I understand, I believe. Sight is our usual metaphor for understanding because we are image-makers. Images come before words. Artwork communicates when words fail us. They are timeless: Places, times and language may change, but art continually takes on new meaning and conveys enduring truth, the deep truth of our faith.
A great many people yearn to experience, through their interaction with works of art, some spiritual dimension locked within its form. This is especially true now, in the seasons of Advent and Christmas, when we're exposed so often to so many different images related to the central story of the Christian faith, the Incarnation.
Our spiritual experience of art will be deepened if we learn to "recognize" in it images that correspond not only to material reality but also to some inner vision.
Everyone is an art critic. As viewer, you bear responsibility for the artwork's interpretation. Finished, the artist relinquished control over it. It is yours.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers