Prominent in art is the use of symbols. A symbol is a sign that points to something beyond itself. For example, a white lily represents purity and resurrection life for Christians. The crucifix--the cross with Christ's body hanging from it--is an important Christian symbol. Most Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox Christians wear a cross as jewelry to remind themselves of Christ's love.
Some symbols have different associations for different people. For example, a cross may represent death by crucifixion for Jews but life to Christians. This diversity is typical of symbol usage. The power of a symbol lies in its ability to evoke an idea, event, or meaning beyond its outward appearance.
Art can also connect us to God through the beauty we perceive in it. The Psalmist wrote: "One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple" (Psalm 27:4)."
There are two basic kinds of beauty. Ordinary beauty is the outward form, whereas ideal beauty is concerned more with our emotional response.
When we describe objects as "beautiful" or "ugly," we usually mean that the objects have an attractive outward appearance. But beauty can also exist in our inner qualities.
The ideal kind of beauty is found when outward form and inner quality are unified into one experience. When this happens, the viewer gets a glimpse into the artist's inner world. We can see this, for example, in the Statue of David by Michelangelo, who captures David's strength and vulnerability.
The result is a sense of wholeness, unity, and integrity that engages our emotions more powerfully than ordinary beauty.
Gratuitous pride in one's appearance results in an empty spirit that material possessions or accomplishments can never fill. What do you think would happen if all the money spent on cosmetics were used to feed hungry children?
A God-Sized Vision
God is a pure being without any beginning or end. Since the artist's vision should reflect this divine sense of pure being, the artist must learn to see with his or her whole self. The greatest artists are not those with the most talent. Instead, they are people whose entire lives are focused on their work.
Creativity is Not an Exact Science
Creative insight comes in many different ways. Some experiences are described as "ah ha" moments, when an idea pops into one's head. Oh-ha is the result of long periods of time spent experimenting with different processes can be seen as a series of steps that take an idea from ordinary beauty to ideal beauty.
A Great Idea
For example, the idea of Mary Magdalene washing Jesus's feet with her tears could have started as a dream or meditation.
Then the artist would have had to spend time thinking about how this action might be portrayed. Different artistic techniques, such as sculpture, painting, photographs, music, dance, poetry, and prose, can help powerfully describe ideal beauty.
The article connects art with God because it discusses symbols that point beyond themselves to a greater meaning. It views beauty in two ways: one being an outward form and the other being an inward quality. God is also mentioned throughout the article in connection to beauty and art, primarily through symbolism. Art connects us with God because it allows us to feel something that resembles what God wants us to feel or see things that resemble what He created for us. Art can connect us with God by representing a deeper meaning. This helps us to experience art more powerfully. It also leads us to see the beauty in God's creation and to learn from this beauty.