Today, we’re going to test your knowledge about sacred art with 10 Catholic Trivia questions!!
The Catholic Church has a rich tradition of Sacred Art.
What is art? Why is Sacred art not idolatry? Who is responsible for the promotion of Sacred Art?
Learn all this and more in this round of Catholic Trivia: Sacred Art.
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Let’s Play Catholic Trivia: Sacred Art!
After you play, remember to scroll down (keeep onnnn a scrollinggg) to read full explanations of the answers to the trivia questions!
Learn More About Sacred Art!
Take a moment to dive into the answers and learn a little bit more about Your Catholic Faith!
1. Art is a form of human expression.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that
“art is a distinctively human form of expression.”CCC 2501
Humans are created in the Image of God. We have a relationship to him that is different from any other created being.
Through art, we are able to express the truth and beauty of that relationship.
“Art is a freely given superabundance of the human being’s inner riches.”CCC 2501
God is the author of beauty, and his creativity, his beauty, his goodness, are reflected in us – who are made in his image.
Our creative expression of these reflections of God within us are what makes art what it is.
2. Iconography is a type of art that is conducive to meditation.
I may have thrown in a few similar words to throw you off slightly!
Impressionism is a 19th century artistic style. Its subjects are real-life, ordinary objects, and it focuses on representing light and movement. Beautiful, but not necessarily meditative.
Iconoclasm is the historical movement to destroy icons and any religious images, as deemed heretical. Not very conducive to meditation.
Iconography is the artistic process of making icons. Icons are not simply paintings, but expressions of the Gospel message.
They often depict Christ, scenes from the Gospel, Mary, other Saints, and angels.
Iconographers often refer to the process of making icons as “writing” an icon. The whole process is very involved, and is accompanied by prayer and meditation.
Further, the finished product of the icon is full of rich symbolism and layers of meaning, and so leads the viewer to meditation and contemplation of the glory of God.
See the section of the Catechism about Holy Images (CCC 1159-1162) for more about iconography.
3. Bishops are responsible for the promotion of Sacred Art.
The purpose of sacred art is to glorify God, to draw the beholder to praise and adore him, and to evoke the transcendent mystery of God.
“Genuine sacred art draws man to adoration, to prayer, and to the love of God, Creator and Savior, the Holy One and Sanctifier.”CCC 2502
You can see what an important role sacred art plays in the life of the faithful!
Everyone is moved to prayer and adoration in different manners. Churches are filled with sacred art in order to help facilitate that movement.
The Catechism continues,
“For this reason bishops… should see to the promotion of sacred art, old and new, in all its forms and, with the same religious care, remove from the liturgy and from places of worship everything which is not in conformity with the truth of faith and the authentic beauty of sacred art.”CCC 2503
I wrote on Instagram about my beautiful hometown Church. Part of its history includes the destruction of the Church’s original beauty – glorious marble altar, altar rail, beautiful statues, and decorative paint – to be replaced with a hideous concoction from the pits of the 70s.
And then, how our beloved pastor restored the Church to its sacred beauty.
I’m forever grateful to our pastor for the restoration, but I continue to scratch my head at the question: Why did that destruction happen in the first place?
Our bishops have not been diligent in the preservation and promotion of sacred art.
It is their duty – according to the Catechism! – to ensure that true, authentic sacred art is preserved and promoted within the Church.
It is their duty to ensure that anything which is not in line with the truth and beauty of sacred art (*cough* pachamama *cough*) is removed from places of worship.
This goes for physical art, for the music in the liturgy, and for any other art that surrounds and enters our places of worship and our churches.
I pray for our bishops to take this responsibility to heart. I hope you will pray for that, too.
4. The Incarnation makes it possible to represent God through the use of images.
It’s no secret that in the Old Testament, the creation of graven images of God (or other gods) was prohibited.
Other than the angels God commissioned for the Ark of the Covenant, statues were not standard practice.
The Catechism says,
“The divine injunction – ” (you shall not make for yourself a graven image) ” – included the prohibition of every representation of God by the hand of man… It is the absolutely transcendent God who revealed himself to Israel.”CCC 2129
However, at the Incarnation, something changed.
We now had the transcendent God in our midst – in human form, flesh and blood.
God now had a face, a body, a material form.
“By becoming incarnate, the Son of God introduced a new ‘economy’ of images.”CCC 2131
Now, because God took on flesh, we may make and venerate images representing and symbolizing him.
However, we have to distinguish that these images do not deserve our adoration – as does God alone – but only our veneration, as aids in our devotional life.
5. Art arises from a combination of God-given talent and human effort.
I thought this line from the Catechism of the Catholic Church was beautiful:
“Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man’s own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God’s activity in what he has created.”CCC 2501
I have always been fascinated by art. And while I’m only mediocre (at best) at fine art – I have a love for art.
I believe that all of us have a capability for art, because we are created in the Image of God.
I see art as the way that we express the truth, beauty, and goodness of who we are as his images.
Undoubtedly, some of us are given more natural talents in one artistic area or another.
But I wholeheartedly believe that God has given us all a way to express the power of creativity reflected in us. Whether it be…
- making music
- problem solving
… and any other creative endeavor you can think of, we are all capable of art in some manner – just by being created human, in the Image of God.
I encourage you to discover the artistic talent God has given you, and to put effort into developing it for the greater glory of God!
*Note: since 6-10 were questions of “identifying,” I don’t feel the need to go into the answers in depth in this post. But if they interest you, look them up online and learn a little more about these beautiful sacred images!
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