Sacral Art: Meaning and Purpose

Sacral Art: Meaning and Purpose

Art has always influenced the human mind, every form in its own way. It was so in the Early Middle Ages and continues to be so today. This is quite natural since the goal of art is to develop and activate people’s emotions and experiences. One of the special manifestations of world art as a whole is sacral art. This phenomenon has been the subject of study by many philosophers, humanists, and historians of religion. All of them set themselves the difficult task of determining the essence and functions of this phenomenon to understand its influence on the individual. Let’s take a closer look at the definition and nature of this unique form of art!

What defines sacral art?

Generally, the opposite of the sacral is profane, which means anything that is not related to religious and spiritual themes and the form of their manifestation. Thus, it can be said that art that is rooted in certain religious canons and uses artistic images to lead a person to an awareness of their spiritual essence is defined as sacral.

The canonical cores of sacral art include ideas about the earthly and heavenly world, the opposition between the physical and the spiritual essence of a person. These dogmas, when combined with the artistic image, create sacred art filled with mysteries and symbols, which finds in the soul of the beholder the instruments that activate their senses. For example, when you look at the Russian iconostasis in the temple, you can experience the presence of the depicted saints. This is achieved due to the combination of form and sacred nature.

The influence of sacral art on the human being

All existing forms of sacral art are intended to change human consciousness and mind. In other words, it makes it possible to feel and see the “eternal” and “invisible” nature of the divine beginning.

Coming to the temple, a believer as if meets with God when listening to sacred singing and looking at hand-painted icons that are the means for the manifestation of the sacred in the earthly world.

Thus, the main function of religious art is to enable one to experience the spiritual through the perception of the material. Only such art can be called sacral.

Sacral art, as part of world culture, is an important factor in the development of thinking and spirituality of everyone living on earth. Therefore, it is important not only to contemplate religious works but also to try finding their deep meaning.