Art and Religion


  • Krista Andreson



Krista Andreson: Art and Religion
Keywords: sacral art; art and religion; „art as religion“
On October 10th and 11th, the Autumn School “Art and Religion” took place in the Department of Art History at the University of Tartu, in the course of which, art historians, theologians and philosophers spoke about the relations between art and religion, as well as their fields of meaning from the Early Christian period to the present day. The focus of the first day, with the subtitle of “Images and the Church”, was on sacral art. The presentations dealt with the “picture question” in the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity, the various functions and possibilities
for the interpretation of the works of art in the service of  medieval Catholicism and post-Reformation Lutheranism, as well as the contacts between ritual and religion in the Early Modern period, based on the example of 17th-century portraiture. On the second day of the Autumn School, with the subtitle “Art and/as Religion”, the focus was on religious themes in connection with contemporary “autonomous” art. The opposite ends of the axis were examined – the alienation between art and religion, as well as the reinterpretation of the relationship on new bases, including the impact of different religions of the 20th century and the various forms of expressing religiosity on the art world. The presentations showed that Christian art and religious
themes have not disappeared, however a significant change has
generally occurred in the bases of this art and within the framework of certain works. As one of the main topics of the second day, the trends that have developed inside and adjacent to “mainstream” art emerged. These are on the one hand characterised by the emergence of the artist’s “me” – art has become the new religion and the artist has become God. Thus, along with the contrasting, one can also notice a certain analogy,
including between the operational mechanisms of art and religion. However, these trends are often marked with the impact of modern “substitute” religions or new forms of religion, including various “secret sciences” with a spiritual background.
Krista Andreson is a research fellow in the Department of Art History at the University of Tartu. She has studied in Germany at the University of Kiel, as well as held shorter academic residencies in Leipzig and Greifswald. From 2003 to 2010, Andreson was a research fellow at the Niguliste Museum (branch of the Art Museum of Estonia). Her main area of research is medieval ecclesiastical art and iconography and she has published several research papers on the medieval wooden sculptures and altarpieces in the Baltic Sea Region. The topic of Krista Andreson’s doctoral thesis is “The Relations between Art and Culture in Old Livonia Based on the Example of Ecclesiastical Art: Wooden ScuSculptures from the 13th Century to the First Half of the 15th Century”.


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