Is art sacred?
Is all art sacred or just some art?
What's the criteria? What makes some art sacred and not other art?
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13 thoughts on “Sacred art?”
Is art sacred?
Yes. No. Does it matter?
I tend to think it’s all the same whether you or I think art is sacred. It makes it no more or no less valuable to the artist or the collector and, if you really think about it, isn’t that the whole point?
I often find that there is a connection between the artist, the art piece, and the buyer/collector/viewer that isn’t shared outside that triangle. With every new buyer/collector/viewer the experience (or connection) changes. Like a new variable plugged into an equation.
Perhaps that’s what’s really sacred in art; The connection that we, as artists and art lovers, have with the art work and the experience.
Well, trying to define sacred is probably about as difficult as trying to define art. Everyone has a slightly different perspective on what constitutes sacred. There is currently an exhibit at the Portsmouth (NH) Museum of Fine Art entitled “Sacred and Profane, Eye of the Beholder”. The exhibit has a number of pieces in it that I would not have necessarily have thought of as sacred, but you can certainly see how they fit in. There are a few pieces as well that might be considered as either sacred or profane, depending on your viewpoint. Regardless of whether the finished piece is considered sacred, I think the act of making art is sacred, as it expresses the need of humans to participate in the creative process that goes on all around them.
Not all art is sacred. Depending on your definition of sacred, one could say that no art is sacred. Or at least hardly any art is sacred. I just looked on wikipedia and it says: sacred = considered worthy of spiritual respect or devotion; or inspiring awe or reverence among believers in a given set of spiritual ideas.
I think that it is easier to consider art in terms of the much more broadly defined “spirituality” context, as one could call making (or viewing) art a spiritual act. I posted about Spirituality in Art last year ( http://wp.me/pdz32-6X ) and I found many artists who did and also many who didn’t connect art with the spiritual parts of their life. There are artists out there who are atheist or don’t even bother with even that much of a label.
To me, the term sacred implies something divine that mortals can not touch to sully it. This limits me finding art itself as sacred. It could be the artist’s interpretation of something sacred, but the art itself would be hard pressed to be termed as such. That does not mean that I don’t think that art can lift us spiritually, just that it is not necessarily sacred in and of itself.
Boy, Alyson, you really went deep this Thursday. Now I’m questioning all kinds of things.
Heck no! And thank god for that! I’d go nuts if all art was sacred. While I love a deep, intense work of art, I also love shallow, goofy, fun, and weird art.
Per dictionary.com sacred means (among other things):
reverently dedicated to some person, purpose, or object: a morning hour sacred to study.
regarded with reverence: the sacred memory of a dead hero.
which sounds to me like art is sacred, even when that art is also profane. What besides art can claim that distinction?
Great question, I’m sure to be exploring it further.
I am with Daniel. Some art is temporary, disposable, goofy, weird or just plain fun – anything but sacred.
On the other hand some works of art seems to be very much of the sacred variety. Works like Michelangelo’s David, nearly anything by Vermeer, Beethoven, and Mozart, and so many fabulous artists transcend the creators, bridge cultures and are timeless. They are the artifacts of the very best of humanity and deserve reverence of the highest sort.
My art is sacred to me. Some art by others is sacred to me while other art (although respected) may not be totally sacred.
If by sacred one means something deeply important, then I’d say sure.
But the art has to be really really good.
To each his/her own. Art seems to be what you make it, not what other think, whether it’s a comment from a critic, or marks from an examining board. You’re the one who makes the art, and so it’s up to you how you see it.
I’m with Daniel on this one: Although I love art that has deep meaning, I gravitate more to the art that makes me happy, which leans towards the “goofy, fun, and weird” art!
Some artists think of their art as sacred, and I think that they take themselves too seriously! But hey, somebody’s got to do it.
Wow. I love all the responses here, especially Damien’s and Daniel’s. I also love how Wendy broke it all down. I hope we are not getting graded because I don’t know the answer here. I do think however that if you dwell too much on the sacred you can forget to have fun and laughter is sort of sacred in my book. In college they trained us to treat art and fine craft as a religion and I eagerly signed up for that … to quote Dylan … “I’m younger than that now”.
Art is a tool. It is a great tool for exploring and communicating the sacred, consciously or unconsciously. The process of making art can be like prayer, and I believe sometimes the divine uses artists through the tool of art as a conduit for shaping humanity and the world. Art can be a very powerful tool for change this way. But it is the communication that is sacred, not the physical artwork. (But then what is an icon? Guess this depends on your faith)
I treat my art with respect because I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it. It means a lot to me. I’ve never considered it sacred. Other art I treat the same way, with a lot of respect. It’s a part of someone.