In the spirit of the holidays I thought I'd open up a new thread where people can share and talk about traditional Christian art and iconography. We all know that the church used to be a major patron of artists, and this collaboration resulted in many of the greatest masterpieces of Western civilization. From Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel to Carravagio's Judith Beheading Holofernes biblical subjects have been a major genre since the middle ages. But now that we are supposedly living in an era of greater secularism, one has to wonder, is great religious art still being produced?
It turns out that yes, great Christian art is still being crafted all over the world. It just doesn't tend to look like the old masters. It looks, like the modern church, modern. I've broken the following examples into key categories which I think illustrate the trends and styles available to sacred artists today. For simplicity's sake I'm going to keep this limited to just the 20th century up to today, since this shouldn't be a history lesson and we are probably all already familiar with church art through the nineteenth century. Anyway, I hope you like these pictures and feel free to post some of your own.
Stained Glass Windows
Starting off, we have the Burns Window at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland created in 1985 by the artist Leifur Breidfjörd.
Next, we have Alphonse Mucha's window at St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, Czech Republic.
Here we have Richard King's window at St. Dominic's Parish East Camberwell, Australia.
Ivory Coast Basilica Notre Dame de la paix Yamoussoukro by Eric Bonte.
I was so struck by the work at Yamousoukro that I just had to include a second image of the work.
Jozef Mehoffer- Pensive Christ Wawel Cathedral Krakow, Poland.
Nativity and Adoration of the Magi in St. Barrahane Church Castletownshend, Ireland by Harry Clarke. If it looks similar to the work of Richard King above I believe that would be because King took over his studio after Clarke died.
St Michael and the devil by John Hayward at St Michael Paternoster Royal in London, England.
Our Lady of Penafrancia by Pancho Piano in Naga City, Philippines.
Last but not least. The Judge, the Teacher, and the Shepherd by John Piper from Oundle School Chapel Oundle, England.
Supposedly, the idea behind large stained glass windows in churches was to bathe the parishioners in the light of God's love, while illustrating biblical stories for those who couldn't read. A work of religious art would instill in the minds of the devout a sense of awe, provide a focal point for meditation on the divine, and raise their whole consciousness by a sublime vision of beauty enabling them to better hear Christ's message. Do any of these works do that as well as La Sainte-Chapelle or Chartres Cathedral? You be the judge.