To see more clearly: looking at our art
Reflecting on art in a religious context: A resource for churches in the Diocese of Sussex and beyond
There is a rich tradition of art in churches in Sussex – from the mediaeval frescos at St. John the Baptist, Clayton, to twentieth-century works commissioned by Dean Hussey at Chichester Cathedral, to contemporary commissions such as Maggi Hambling’s The Resurrection Spirit at St. Dunstan’s Mayfield (2013). Our art is a wonderful resource for helping us to understand and reflect upon matters of faith.
We can also draw on the rich history of religious art in museum and gallery collections in Sussex, and further afield – whether by visiting these collections, or viewing images online or in books.
These notes and questions are intended to encourage individuals and groups to engage in a contemplative way with works of art in churches and elsewhere. It suggests a series of questions to prompt reflection and/or discussion of different types of works of art.
As we begin the Year of the Bible in the Diocese of Chichester this Advent, our art can provide a powerful focus for reflection on biblical narratives. Within these pages, you will find some specific guidance for looking at biblical art, as well as for other types of art you might encounter in a religious context.
No expert knowledge is needed to appreciate art – just an openness to look and to ask questions. Through spending time looking at the art in our churches, we can not only see it more clearly, but also in doing so, as St. Richard prays, know Jesus Christ more clearly.
Naomi Billingsley, Bishop Otter Scholar, the Diocese of Chichester, Advent 2016.
Statue of Saint Richard outside Chichester Cathedral.
Download the resource here: looking-at-religious-art-_-otter-scholar