Contemplations of the Spiritual in Art

Arya coverThis essay collection exploring the relationship between spirituality and art is the result of a conference that took place in December 2010 at Liverpool Cathedral. During this two-day event, artists, clergy and academics from different disciplines – including theology and art history – came together to discuss the relationship between spirituality and art. One of the objectives of both the conference and this collection was to clarify what is meant by spiritual art or, indeed, what it means to describe an artwork as being spiritual. The essays expand on this issue by addressing the following questions: what is the relationship between spirituality and art in the context of the art gallery, religious institutions and the academy and at personal and social levels? How and why does art convey spirituality and, conversely, why and how is spirituality made manifest in works of art? Many of the contributors examine the spiritual aspects of particular artworks, artists or artistic traditions, and ask what we mean by the spiritual in art. The volume articulates the interdisciplinary nature of the subject and explores pressing concerns of the contemporary age.

Rina Arya is Reader in Visual Communication at the University of Wolverhampton. Her primary area of research is art theory. She has published articles on Francis Bacon, Georges Bataille, and art and theology. She is the author of Francis Bacon: Painting in a Godless World (2012) and Chila Kumari Burman: Shakti, Sexuality and Bindi Girls (2012) and the editor of Francis Bacon: Critical and Theoretical Perspectives (2012). She is currently working on a monograph titled Abjection and Representation, which is forthcoming in 2014.

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