Category Archives: Letter To Artists

Letter To Artists 16: The “Beauty” That Saves

Let’s wrap up John Paul II’s Letter to Artists. The final theme of the document, with a nod to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “The ‘Beauty’ that saves.” 16. On the threshold of the Third Millennium, my hope for all of you who are … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 15: The Creator Spirit and Artistic Inspiration

When Pope John Paul speaks of “the Creator Spirit and artistic inspiration” it’s pretty clear we can’t and don’t bypass the human imagination as a means for God’s grace to work in the world. 15. Often in the Church there … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 14: An Appeal To Artists

Pope John Paul has covered God’s hand in art (section 1),the artist’s vocation (2), some theology and philosophy relevant to the discussion with artists (3-6), history (7-9), the present situation (10-11), and a mutual relationship hoped for (12-13). Now we … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 13: Does art need the Church?

Yesterday’s post looked at section 12, “The Church needs art.” Today, a question: Does art need the Church? 13. The Church therefore needs art. But can it also be said that art needs the Church? The question may seem like … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 12: The Church Needs Art

It’s a powerful statement. Is it true? As an artist, I would say yes. However, what do the Church’s actions, policies, and culture have to say about it? Consider the education culture all around. Just like the secular world puts … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 11: In The Spirit Of The Second Vatican Council

Don’t look now, but John Paul II is citing “the spirit of the Second Vatican Council.” Gaudium et Spes has something to say: 11. The Second Vatican Council laid the foundation for a renewed relationship between the Church and culture, … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 10: Towards a renewed dialogue

What is meant by a “renewed dialogue”? Pope John Paul II seems to be accurate in saying that there is an alienation between artists and the Church. Even before the supposed tossing out of choirs, the Church was not the … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 9b-c: Post-Renaissance Art

As for our cultural life in the modern First World, we have deep roots in the Renaissance. John Paul II doesn’t seem to have a problem with humanism. Neither should we, as its impulse is essentially Christian. This extraordinary complex … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 9a: Humanism and the Renaissance

Pope John Paul II arrives at the artists of what it today Vatican City: 9. The favorable cultural climate that produced the extraordinary artistic flowering of Humanism and the Renaissance also had a significant impact on the way in which … Continue reading

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Letter To Artists 8: The Middle Ages

One gets the clear idea of a deep appreciation in Pope John Paul II for both East and West. While the “two lungs” of Christianity became estranged, separate traditions arose in each. Icons became the main means of depicting the … Continue reading

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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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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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