Friday, November 27, 2015

Denis McNamara on Church Architecture, part 7 - Sacred Images

Here is the seventh in the series of short videos by Prof. Denis McNamara, a member of the faculty of the Liturgical Institute, Mundelein; his book is Catholic Church Architecture and the Spirit of the Liturgy. As usual, it is an excellent presentation.
In this one he focuses on sacred images. He describes how sacred images are a necessary part of the environment for the worship of God because they manifest those aspects of the liturgy that are present but not ordinarily visible. They are there to remind us that the angels and saints in heaven participate with us in the heavenly liturgy. 
In this video, the stylistic features of art that he describes are those of the iconographic tradition, which portrays man fully redeemed. One point that he doesn’t address in this short presentation is how the other authentic liturgical traditions, the Gothic and the Baroque, fulfill this function. I would argue that they do exactly what the iconographic style does, but in a subtly different way. They are stylistically different and do not reveal man fully redeemed, but rather justified and at various stages on the path to heaven. By revealing the path they direct our attention, via the imagination, to the destination at the end of that path, which is our heavenly destiny. (If you are interested in a fuller discussion of this last point, I direct you to section three of my book, the Way of Beauty.) 

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