How do people use art to express their belief? What makes a work of art or a place “religious”? What are the functions and uses of images, spaces and places in religious traditions around the world? What difference does it make if a religious artifact is encountered in the Rijksmuseum, St Peter’s Basilica, or a wayside shrine? These questions lie at the heart of the minor Religion and Art.
The closure of large numbers of churches, global migration, climate change, attacks on religious minorities, and destruction of religious sites and artifacts, has lent urgency to the question of the relationship between religion and art. Learning to understand, analyse, and communicate material and immaterial religious heritage has important economic, political, educational, and cultural implications.
The many and sometimes contradictory ways in which images, objects, spaces, and places are used in religion constitute a guiding focus of the minor. Attention to the ways in which people use art and spaces helps us to raise questions about a too-easy distinction between the religious and the secular. At the same time it helps us to identify similar (or contrasting) functions of art across religious traditions. In this way the minor will equip you to approach the study of religion and art in religious traditions and contexts well beyond the scope of the course itself. It will also prepare you to work in and contribute to the broader field of heritage, and is the perfect start for enrolment in the MA programme in Religion and Cultural Heritage.
For more information contact the minor coordinator.