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There is no more beautiful handiwork in all of creation than human beings. God, the infinitely talented artist, found a way to make his image real in the world, yet unique in each individual. But man threw mud on the painting and took a sledge hammer to the statue. Early and often did the LORD, the God of their fathers, send his messengers to them, for he had compassion on his people and his dwelling place.

Stephen P. Starke

But they mocked the messengers of God, despised his warnings, and scoffed at his pro phets…. God endowed man with wondrous gifts to use to find him, but instead mankind hid behind the gifts and refused to see or seek the Creator behind the creation. We call upon God during Lent to restore beauty to his world. We call upon God to teach us once more what true love is. The power of God is greater than the machinations of man. In his Letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells us that God is rich in mercy. He has tremendous love for us. Even when we were dead in our transgressions, he brought us to life with Christ.

The awesome love that was displayed on the cross is the continual means of our salvation. God has not thrown out his canvas. He is still completing his artwork. Only, we must now be his paint brush. We have to paint over the smudge marks of hatred with the Love of the Lord. We have to fill in the empty spots of selfishness with sacrificial love. We have to turn from the glorification of materialism to the determination to live the spiritual life given to us by the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord.

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Petersburg, Florida and pastor of St. About Contact Copyright. Twitter RSS. Home Faith Culture Economics Politics. Search Search. It is recognized as the greatest icon ever created and is also the most famous Russian work of art. It has long been considered the greatest representation of the Trinity by Eastern Orthodox Christians.

It is based on the visit of three angels to Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament.

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There is generally a deep and very spiritual symbolism portrayed in icons as they are considered to be not a literal representation of the world, like a painting, but rather a link between heaven and earth. The colors of each of the angels represent the unique aspects of the persons of the Trinity. The colors blue and green for the Holy Spirit signify his movement in sky, water and earth. Another example of this symbolism is the rods that the angels hold.

Why do angels, with wings, need traveling sticks? It is to signify the entry of the angels into our slow journey on earth. As a traveler, God is shown to join us on our journey through life. Weary with traveling, he spreads a table of food that gives us a glimpse of heaven. Fra Angelico — The Annunciation San Marco Convent, Florence, Italy.

There are at least two other Fra Angelico works on the Annunciation. The San Marco version, however, is unique for several reasons. First, the painting is quite simple and subdued for Renaissance art. This is because it was commissioned for a religious community of which Fra Angelico was a member.

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  7. Devotion and contemplation were controlling motives for Fra Angelico. Third, the fresco was painted in a staircase, which had very little light. Fra Angelo used color and shading in a manner that suited this low light, seemingly providing the painting itself with its own source of light. The Annunciation is a work of art that continues to inspire reflection on the parts of religious believers, while remaining an impressive artistic triumph of Renaissance art.

    Benozzo Gozzoli — The Procession of the Magi Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence, Italy. Gozzoli was commissioned by Piero de Medici then head of the Medici family, the de facto rulers of Florence. The work itself is a massive undertaking, filling three walls of the chapel. Depicting a multitude, with brilliant use of color and lighting, Gozzoli shows the journey of the three Wise Men from the East who came to Bethlehem in search of Jesus. However, in an interesting iconographic move, Gozzoli does not have the procession of the Wise Men and their entourage arriving at Bethlehem.

    Rather, the journey ends at the altar, where Christians believe Christ is really present in the sacrament of the Eucharist. The work has a strong dramatic effect upon its viewers. As was common in those days, Gozzoli incorporated many portraits of the family members of his patrons.

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    The Procession of the Magi is a monument of religious devotion, coupled with a representation of social and political conditions of the day, presented in an artistic treasure. Michael Pacher — St. Wolfgang Altarpiece Abersee, Austria. The St. Wolfgang Altarpiece is a marvel of shape and color, combining masterful painting with magnificent sculptures. The work was commissioned to be the focal point of the pilgrimage church of St.

    As a destination for pilgrims, the Church received visitors from all over Europe. This allowed his work to appeal to and represent the variety of religious inspiration and devotion of the pilgrims. The Altarpiece has movable wings that allow different scriptural themes to be presented for various liturgical seasons and holy days. The central sculpture, depicting the Coronation of the Virgin Mary, however, remains constant. With its size, interweaving of various cultural and artistic techniques and values, the St. Wolfgang Altarpiece is an impressive treasure of religious art.

    Voronet Monastery Voronet, Suceava County, Romania. Voronet Monastery is the jewel of a network of eight churches in northern Moldavia that were built from the late s through the late s. These churches are unique in both world art and in Byzantine Orthodox culture. Located at a monastic site whose origins are unknown, the Voronet Monastery has been called the Sistine Chapel of Romania.

    The depictions are a against a brilliant blue background, representing a virtual heaven of saints and important biblical and historical figures and events. These paintings represent a full cycle of Byzantine religious themes, a kind of gospel history in colors and images. The practice of painting the outer walls of Church buildings in such careful detail and elaborate depth seems to have been a phenomenon unique to 15th and 16th century Moldavia.

    The murals are authentic and have received only minimal touching up in effort to preserve these original works of artistic genius. Leonardo da Vinci — The Last Supper Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan, Italy. It is a rather large fresco 29 feet by 15 feet found on a dining hall wall in a Catholic monastery. At the time of its production the room containing The Last Supper was a mausoleum, and the painting was commissioned by a family called Sforza as a monument to their patronage.

    Although it is called a fresco, it is not a fresco in the strict sense. This is because Leonardo did not use wet plaster, but rather painted upon a dry wall that had been sealed with plaster and covered with a white undercoat. The work was stunning for its color and its perspective, almost drawing the viewer into the action depicted.

    25 Most Impressive Works of Religious Art

    However, because Leonardo did not use standard fresco techniques, The Last Supper has not held up against time, weather and war. At present almost nothing of the original paint remains. The Last Supper remains one of the most impressive pieces of religious art that continues to fire the imagination and inspire imitation.

    Michelangelo — Sistine Chapel Ceiling Sistine Chapel, Vatican City. It is certainly one of the most striking and awesome paintings of the Renaissance. Even now, over 5 million visitors come through the Sistine Chapel every year just to gaze upward at the intricate detail, variety of people and hidden secrets. Though Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor and not primarily a painter, he produced one of the most impressive and inspiring paintings in the history of the world.

    The paintings depict stories of the Old Testament starting with Creation and ending with Noah and the flood. Raphael — The School of Athens Apostolic Palace, Vatican. The School of Athens portrays the greatest mathematicians, philosophers and scientists from different periods, all gathered under one roof. There are two reasons why it is included as a work of religious art.

    First, the building is in the shape of a Greek Cross, which symbolizes the unity of ancient philosophy and Christian theology. Second, the two main statues represented are Apollo, god of light, archery and music and Athena, goddess of wisdom. The two thinkers in the middle of the painting, Aristotle and Plato, have heavily influenced Western thought and both philosophies in their own way have been incorporated into Christianity. Plato points up signifying his philosophy that all we see around us is only a shadow of a higher reality.

    It is said that nearly every Greek philosopher is included in the painting, but they are not always easy to identify. Raphael — Disputation of the Holy Sacrament This massive fresco incorporates a multitude of important figures from the Bible and Church history, centering upon the Eucharist. Raphael places the Eucharist in the center of the painting as its focal point, linking together its various aspects.

    An upper portion of the fresco represents triumphant saints in heaven on either side of the Blessed Trinity. Important figures from the Bible and early church history are presented. In the lower portion of the painting important theologians, popes and other figures are presented as standing on either side of the altar. The entire work presents a vision of reality that sees itself as created by the Trinity and united in the Eucharist, which Catholics believe is the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Christ is depicted as being in heaven with Mary and the rest of the saints, while also being present in the Eucharist.

    In the Eucharist, for Raphael, heaven and earth are united. His incredible Disputation of the Holy Sacrament can be seen as his Christian counterpart and complement to his School of Athens. Tiziano Vecellio — Assumption of the Virgin Franciscan Basilica of S. Maria Gloriosa dei Frari. Tiziano Vecelli, known as Titian in English, is widely considered the greatest artist of the Venetian School of the 16th century.

    His manner of painting was one of the most diverse among painters. He painted mythological and religious subjects as well as portraits and landscapes with equal skill. Although his colors are more subdued, his loose brush strokes along with shaded nuance of color were an unprecedented style. His work, the Assumption of the Virgin , is an altarpiece in Venice. It is the largest work of its kind in Venice and is considered the finest work of the Renaissance. Until this masterpiece by Titian, altarpieces were generally very still and statuesque.

    The three levels of the work represent heavenward movement and bring the earthly into the heavens which are filled with emanating light.

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    The Venetian sculptor Antonio Canova called this work the most beautiful painting in the world. Maqsud of Kashan — Ardabil Carpet Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England. It is universally recognized as the most important, beautiful as well as one of the largest of Iranian carpets. Its creators used a silk foundation and wool pile.

    The carpet has a remarkably high knot density: knots per sq. The high knot density allowed for an incredible amount of detail to be woven into the carpet. The level of detail and the symmetry of its design require careful attention and lengthy observation to fully appreciate. However, even the casual observer cannot fail to recognize that the Ardabil Carpet is the fruit of intense care and devotion and is a marvel of religious art.

    Michelangelo — The Last Judgement Though the Sistine Chapel ceiling is complex enough to dazzle the harshest art critic, the Last Judgement is considered to be even more complex. The sheer number and variety of people represented along with the difficulty of showing their reactions and personalities was only possible with a genius such as Michelangelo.

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    The work was commissioned by the pope nearly 25 years after the completion of the ceiling of the Chapel and took over 4 years to complete. The ultramarine color which is so prevalent in the painting is one of its striking qualities. The particular paint required for this color was only available in Afghanistan and was the most expensive paint to use. It was usually used sparingly, but in this painting it is used throughout to show the transition from earth to heaven. Unlike in most representations of the Last Judgement, Michelangelo shows the subjects stripped of rank and position. All approach the Judgement on an equal basis.

    Pieter Bruegel the Elder — Babel Tower Kunsthistorische Muzeum, Wien.