Saturday, August 7, 2010
While I appreciate the rediscovery and appreciation of traditional forms and approaches to art that are out there today with regard to sacred art I am somewhat troubled by the underlying message of some of the proponents of this type of art: namely that neo-Baroque, or neo-classical art and techniques are the best, and that anything modern or abstract is somehow lacking or unsuitable for sacred applications. Some of the greatest sacred art in the western world is in fact very abstract... abstract in the sense of not being representational but not realistic. The flat picture plane of many a painting by Fra Angelico, and the strange perspective of the works of Duccio have much in common stylistically with 20th century masters such as Ben Shahn. Those who think that traditional liturgical or sacred art must be neo-Baroque or neo-Classical are mistaken. The reality is that "modern" art can be used in any liturgical context and blend right in, as in this video of a Carmelite Mass... notice the very modernistic and abstract reredos behind the altar.