art or visual art
by Mel Ahlborn
Let's make some distinctions between
art and liturgical art. One of the many ways that art has been
defined includes this definition*:
[Art is the] "1. Human effort to imitate, supplement,
alter, or counteract the work of nature. 2a. The conscious production or arrangement
of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects
the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic
or plastic medium. b. The study of these activities. c. The product of these
In this definition, art, and visual art, are directly related to
human-made works of beauty.
Liturgical art, on the other hand,
has little or nothing to do with beauty. It is not decoration.
Liturgical art is a visual aid for
one hopes, to be an integral part** of
art at its most edifying expresses the historic church, her traditions, theology
and Scripture. It is not in the category of personal work that seeks to express
an individual artist and that artist's point of view. At its ideal, liturgical
art is made and used within an atmosphere of prayer, ushering the people of God,
and the artist included, into an authentic experience of worship.
* Reference: American
Icon Project at the University of Dayton