By Eric Michael Mazur
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Extra info for Art and the religious impulse
The emphasis in these services is usually on the preached Word, vocal music with instrumental accompaniment, and, frequently, testimonials by members of the congregation. Although such worship generally follows traditionally prescribed if only implicitly acknowledged patterns, emphasis is often put on spontaneity rather than formality. Congregational seating may take the traditional form of slip pews but often is modeled on that of theaters, beginning with the ‘‘auditorium church’’ of late nineteenth-century American cities in which ﬁxed, adjoining, folding, cushioned seats (‘‘opera seating’’) were arranged in curved tiers, providing a good view of the stage for the entire assemblage.
Rather than generating new images, artists tapped into the emotional power of existing images, and used this power to make radical, critical public statements. One classic example is Edwina Sandys’s Christa, a female nude on a cross, clearly functioning as a female Christ ﬁgure. Christa attempts to expand a tradi- .......................... 9234$$ $CH2 04-15-02 14:54:27 PS 35 McCLYMOND: RELIGION AND THE ARTS tional symbol to include women by allowing them to identify with a female savior. By doing so it suggests that the historical Christian church has not portrayed women as equal partners with men in the community.
Representational paintings and sculptures, for example, depict scenes from sacred stories, especially in Christianity. They portray important religious ﬁgures and episodes, using imagery rather than narrative. Church pieces such as the Ghent altarpiece have portrayed important saints and events for worshipers for centuries. Church windows (such as the western rose window of Chartres Cathedral) functioned as canvases for stained-glass artwork that captured important moments in Christian history.
Art and the religious impulse by Eric Michael Mazur