Monday, October 19, 2020

The National Gallery Offers a Powerful But Partial View of Transgression

Amid secular modernity, does the idea of sin still resonate?
RELIGIOUS ART has at least two forms. In one (covering Buddhist sculpture and Islamic calligraphy as well as classic Christian iconography) the creator is intensely engaged with the transcendental realities which the work tries to express. The second sort, more loosely defined, uses themes from religious texts because they are good familiar stories, but with little interest in their spiritual content. In the art of Renaissance Europe, there was a shift from the first category to the second. Painters still drew on the Bible, as well as pre-Christian mythology, but their work reflected a humanist spirit which celebrated Homo sapiens and openly or subliminally overturned the medieval Catholic world-view. [More]