Religion and Art

Ref: C2228264

The history of art is entwined with the history of religion but in modern times some tensions have emerged. Art is no longer merely the handmaid of religion but is free to question and often mocks and shocks but may not necessarily reject. Today artists continue to engage constructively with spiritual themes and perhaps Sister Wendy Beckett's idea that "all art, that draws us to look deeply at it, is spiritual", maybe worth consideration. Paintings, sculptures,buildings, installations and video art will illustrate key themes, religions and periods as art and religion are seen to inspire and interrogate each other.

Course aim

RELIGION and ART: a brush with the divine. To explore some important ways in which art and religion inspire and interrogate each other in both past and present.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is for beginners and improvers
  • Enjoyment of art and an open approach to the study of religion

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Identify/discuss examples of art inspiring religion e.g. Russian Ikons, 'Deposition' Roger Van der Weyden
  • Identify/discuss examples of art interrogating religion e.g. 'Last Supper' Warhol, 'White Crucifixion' Chagall, Bacon.
  • Identify/discuss examples of religion inspiring art e.g. 'The Great Wave' Hokusai, 'Martyrs' Bill Viola, Hagia Sophia Mosque
  • Identify/discuss examples of religion interrogating art e.g. Bamiyan Buddhas, Islamic Calligraphy, 'Virgin and Child' Crivelli,
  • Identify/discuss examples of art depicting interreligious encounter e.g. 'School of Athens' Raphael, 'Connexion' Fatmi, 'Vinegar Tasters' unknown Oriental artist

How will I be taught?

What kind of feedback can I expect?

What else do I need to know?

Viewing TV programmes on Art e.g. Andrew Marr or Mary Beard or YouTube videos explaining great art may be good preparation.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

What can I do next?

View full course information sheet

Religion and Art


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  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2021
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