Vaizduotės ir pojūčių klausimas: apie religinio meno suvokimą

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Mokslo publikacijos / Scientific publications
Document Type:
Knygos dalis / Part of the book
Lietuvių kalba / Lithuanian
Vaizduotės ir pojūčių klausimas: apie religinio meno suvokimą
Alternative Title:
Issue of imagination and senses: problematics of perception of religious art
In the Book:
Vaizdų tekstai - tekstų vaizdai / sudarytojos Lina Balaišytė, Erika Grigoravičienė. Vilnius: Lietuvos kultūros tyrimų institutas, 2016. P. 12-51. (Dailės istorijos studijos ; 7)
Reikšminiai žodžiai: Sakralinis menas; Religinis menas; Šventybė; Sacral art; Religious art; Sacredness.
Religinis menas / Religious art; Šventybė.
Sacral art; Sacredness.
Summary / Abstract:

EN"Sacredness", "religious image", "sacral art", "religious art" - all these definitions of images dedicated to piety are used often, but interpreted differently, and their perception is changing with time. Philosopher Tomas Sodeika was the first in Lithuania to ask a rhetorical question whether the concept of "sacral art" can be an oxymoron. In the history of Christianity, material images, their purpose, benefit and importance of the visual tradition were not once discussed and defined as doctrines by the Church Councils, although the character of their perception and sensation could differ greatly depending on the period of time and percipient. Moreover, "back then" the leaders of the Christian spirit unambiguously prioritized the "inner image" and admonished to gain indifference to any human-created thing. As exposed even by political events, the issue of the relationship between the image and religious experience today is urgent as well, therefore attempts are being made to define such experiences and ways of perception by "texts of images and images of texts". The present article does not examine any works of religious art or their iconography, neither it analyses the concept of "sacredness", but rather attempts to figure out what happened "back then", when "the sacral art", criticised so much by philosophers, reached its climax. With the limits set on the Baroque Epoch and based on the "techniques" and methods of prayer formed during it, the article aims at emphasizing the powers of imagination and senses, showing how such powers influenced or, on the contrary, failed to affect artistic creation. In other words, attempts are made to "measure" the tension between the images created with human hands and the inner images inspired by "godly love".The method of Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius of Loyola constructs the meaning of imagination as a theoretical experience, which is active and open, but with an underlying conflict between the attempts of imagination to create a place without any image and reality of this composition in human imagination. Ignatius of Loyola is willing to see, touch, hear and smell God, and for him in order to do this, it is not necessary to use any work of art. But an image as an address to the viewer, the viewer as a participant in art performance or part of the composition of the work, five senses helping to perceive and "experience" the work of art - all these ways of perception cultivated by contemporary media were also important in religious practices of the Baroque Epoch and used as instruments and assistance of prayer. Nevertheless, the issue of human-created image never was central or necessary. A conclusion is made that spiritual teachers St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Bonaventūre and Saint John of the Cross held to the approach on artistic creation similar to that of the modern and contemporary philosophers. On the other hand, the performed research has revealed that thirty years ago the history of art proved it was spiritual and pious experiences that determined "the sacralisation of iconography" of images, for instance, created in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (ten years ago, the process was identified as "sacrum iconography" by philosophers). It was proven that the images designed for intensifying the prayer were important not because of "purity" or "suitability for meditation" of the image iconography, but rather the miraculous power and godly grace experienced through them.The form of the work of art designed for religious practices and its perception is not an "objective factor", therefore there is not any unanimous answer, why a piece of art influences piety and creative flight of people in one period of time, and indifference and alienation in another. It has been stressed that the need to judge and justify religious images is an old tradition with its own history. The criticism of philosophers and theologians is based on quantitative and qualitative differences in the principles for evaluation of iconography; the issues of verbal expression and aesthetic experience are highlighted. The climax of meditation is perceived as a touch of God, who can never be defined, measured and, especially, pictured. To see nothing - this is the beatitude experienced by teachers, who reached the culmination in contemplation, from Buda to Thomas Merton. The "visual" side of teaching by St. Ignatius of Loyola is very special: it is impossible to deny its influence on the Baroque art, but, as the research has shown, the author of the Spiritual Exercises himself gave absolutely another meaning to imagination and images. His only wish was that imagination and all other methods of prayer could help in "overcoming one’s own self" and coming closer to the Creator. Conclusion: the ambivalent experience of religious practices, - to feel God with all five human senses and by applying imagination to create a place liberated from any real image, - is a prerequisite for Christian contemplation. The critique of religious image should not be related directly to spiritual experiences; the analysis of the subject has to apply the methodological instruments elaborated by specialists of art history. [From the publication]

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2022-02-26 09:13:02
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