Category Archives: Art

Letter To Artists 7d: Iconoclasm Emerges

Going back to late antiquity and early medieval times, there were problems, John Paul II admits. Iconoclasm becomes a factor: Along this path there were troubled moments. Precisely on the issue of depicting the Christian mystery, there arose in the … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 7b-c: Architecture, Poetry, and Gregorian Chant

With great freedom, Christians offered to believers and to the world great examples of artistic expression. Christian architecture comes into a flowering in late antiquity, at least in the central cities: When the Edict of Constantine allowed Christians to declare … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 7a: The Origins of Christian Art

Numbered sections 7 through 9 give the readers a brief overview of art history in a Christian context. This is more of a professor talking and a philosopher reflecting than  an artist. But after all, John Paul II was all … Continue reading

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Cosmos, The Next Generation

I’ve been noticing the advance media (like here) on the Cosmos reboot one-third of a century after Carl Sagan popularized astronomy for the tv masses. It’s a good idea. Neil deGrasse Tyson is the right choice to front the show. … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 6d-e: The Beauty of Christ

So often Christ is depicted with brutal reality, the scarred and humiliated servant of God. (Isaiah 53:2-3) The East has something valuable to teach us westerners: A corresponding approach is found in Eastern spirituality where Christ is described as “the … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 6c: Aesthetic Mysticism

In order for art to be truly, deeply allied with the Gospel, the relationship with God must be personal. The principle is not new to Evangelical Christianity–it was developed by Ignatius of Loyola for the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius, in turn was … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 6b: A Glimpse Into The Abyss Of Light

Our examination with Pope John Paul II into that “fruitful alliance between the Gospel and art” continues looking at that commonality between the life of faith and the experience of great art: Believers find nothing strange in this: they know … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 6a: A Fruitful Alliance

John Paul II writes of “A fruitful alliance between the Gospel and art.” I want to take some extra time with this section. It’s one that should certainly give liturgical artists some fruit for reflection.  Faith, like art, deals with … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 5c-d: An Artist’s Vocabulary

Artists themselves have regarded the Bible as a treasure trove of inspiration, a vocabulary, if you will. Why is this so? Biblical characters resonate with people today, and of all ages. Their stories are very much like our own.  Sacred … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 5a-b: Art and the Mystery of the Word Made Flesh

We explore “Art and the mystery of the Word made flesh” in section 5 of this letter. Let’s take half today and the rest tomorrow. 5. The Law of the Old Testament explicitly forbids representation of the invisible and ineffable … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 4: The Artist and the Common Good

The artist and the common good: is this how artists view their place in culture? Is this how non-artists view the situation? Pope John Paul makes the point that we very much need artists–this is not a throwaway profession or … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 3c-d: Beauty, The Divine Spark

Artists produce for a greater good, not just for themselves, and not just from themselves. It is something of God: It is in living and acting that (people) establish (their) relationship with being, with the truth and with the good. The … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 3a-b: In The Service of Beauty

Section 3 is titled, “The artistic vocation in the service of beauty.” We hear a lot about beauty and art these days. Some people wonder if the two are connected any longer. After an initial citation: 3. A noted Polish … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 2: The Special Vocation of the Artist

Let’s look at “The special vocation of the artist” with Pope John Paul II: 2. Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 1d-f: That Gulf Between God and Us

Pope John Paul II explores “The artist, image of God the Creator” in the first numbered section of his Letter to Artists. Let’s continue on the thought we left yesterday, namely the distinction between the act of creating and that of … Continue reading

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