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A Comparison of Contemporary and Traditional Religious Art

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A Comparison of Contemporary and Traditional Religious Art Contemporary religious art has always been controversial in that the Church has always been traditional. Artwork of the Church consists of vast pieces with embellishing detail portraying events and figures of the bible, whereas much contemporary religious art would, of course, be in a more modern style, portraying similar events but in an ironic sense, to question the Church, rather than to assist it. The two types of art are strong contrasts. In their style, message and purpose. I am going to investigate the different effects of traditional and contemporary religious art, initially by comparing two contrasting artists. My studied artist F.N Souza is a contemporary artist who produces religious and erotic art. His abstract style and unusual use of media is inspirational to me. The artist I've decided to compare to F.N Souza is Michelangelo Buonarotti, an artist infamous for his fine sculptures and paintings, and a typical producer of traditional religious art. F.N Souza produced a unique style of abstract art, authentically to the expressive modernism inspired by Picasso. ...read more.


Such a potent piece may cause a revolt among members of the Catholic Church, as the painting defies the bible and Christian Teaching, and expresses a fresh perspective on religion. This of course, is against Catholicism, as it has always been a Traditional religion with infallible teachings. I think through using such iconography, Souza achieved the international exposure to publicise the issues that most mattered to him. ....................................... Souza/Michelangelo pieces................................. As a traditional religion, the Church embraces traditional art; the most famous example of this would be the grand work of Michelangelo Buonarroti in the Sistine Chapel. A vast beautiful collection of paintings portrays the nine scenes from the book of Genesis, the most famous being 'The Creation of Adam'. In contrast to F.N Souza, Michelangelo produces fine art with no known underlying messages. Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor rather than a painter, although in 1505, the Pope commissioned him to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling. Michelangelo was naturally reluctant, but he was forced into signing a contract and spent the next four years painting the ceiling. ...read more.


I feel contemporary art is a lot more personal to each individual observer than traditional art (baroque) because of the depth of thought of the modern artist. F.N Souza is a distinct example. I found a clear overall comparison between traditional and contemporary religious art. I found that the majority of traditional art from the Renaissance Period, was commissioned by the Catholic Church, explaining why its all so similar. This was due to the Church's rigid depiction of Christ and the bible. The Catholic Church was aesthetic when it came to art, and appreciated the skill and precision of artists such as Michelangelo, rather than the thought provoking concepts of F.N Souza. Presently, religious art and modern art as a whole is much more varied, expressing many different concepts and ideas, depicted by the artist himself, rather than the 'commissioner'. This is because over the past 500 years art has evolved, minds have developed and perspectives have changed. On the other hand religion can't change or adjust so easily. An ancient religion with infallible teachings, can't just alter its teachings to fit in with modern society, otherwise religion would be a shambles. And with that you can see the fixed boundary between traditional and contemporary religious art, art has evolved, religion hasn't. ...read more.

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