Spirituality for the Soul

Historically, art has portrayed spirituality in many forms, such as statues, paintings, and stained glass windows.  These are art forms I am very familiar with being that I was raised Catholic and went to a Catholic grade school.  The idea of spirituality has always been very solid for me because I was told where, when, and how to come to terms with it.  My favorite form of portrayal is through stained glass windows.  I love their colors and there abstract attention to detail.  They can be a simple collection of colors with no determinable figures or they can tell their story through different panels.  All stained glass windows use their colors to tell importance however.

Stained Glass Windows

This specific example portrays the life of Christ in vivid, bold colors with distinguished figures and shapes.  The meaning of these windows is often left to the viewer, as is quite a bit of art.  It ultimately depends on the colors and whether is abstract or not.

Art can be seen as an “active metaphor for the spiritual.”  This is because artists can express with color, texture, and style that people cannot necessarily express in words.  For example, the beautiful contrast in colors in the window above can be interpreted to show the brilliance of the Christ figure and to make him stand out among the other figures and shapes.  This type of brilliance and contrast would be very difficult to explain in words.  These images almost make the stories in the Bible come to life; they give the stories a more believable platform.

In Sontag’s article, she speaks of silence in relation to art.  She writes of the elimination of the subject of the art.  I found this to be really interesting.  What I thought of when she said it is just a blank canvas or a painting with a background and a white silhouette where the main piece and focus should be, as if the art should speak for itself in “wordlessness.”  What I mean by this is that the art should be able to represent something entirely unknown to us simply with no words.  This can relate to spirituality in a sense that we are to believe, in the case of Catholicism, in a God that does not speak directly or audibly towards us but through different visual signs, much like “silent” art.


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