Often artworks in churches help us to
mediate and pray. But in some cases, it can have the opposite effect, causing some to almost lose their faith.
Just because an artwork has a religious theme or story, does not mean it is automatically appropriate for a church. Sacred painting or sculpture must convey the mystery of God and bring people to worship and love him.
This painting and sculpture school is working to do just that. It is located in a world capital of art, the city of Florence. It’s called the Sacred Art School.
"I dream one day of being so well formed as an artist that I can make people contemporary art for churches that really engage the modern viewers, so they can see it and relate to it, but also, it can draw them up to our God”.
"For Christians, beauty is often linked to faith. It's what I was looking for: an art that expresses faith, and one representing the importance of beauty.”
"The artist can give a purpose to his or her work, maybe to give glory to God, to help people and encourage them to pray and to create a disposition for contemplation and appreciating beauty.”
Here they learn to draw, paint, make sculpture, metalwork, woodwork, but they also study art history, theology, symbology, liturgy and sacred architecture. It’s an interdisciplinary approach that goes beyond techniques and draws on inspiration.
"The professors teach us to perfection the characteristics of art in general. When I finish I would like to open my own studio and continue my personal work.”
"With my work as a goldsmith, I would like to give brightness to the eyes of people as the professors here have brightened my own here at this school.”
One of those teachers is Osamu Tanimoto. He traveled from Japan to Florence to take in the beauty of the city and learn skills to be a painter and sculptor.
Sacred Art School Firenze
"This is my Prodigal Son, in painting, and that expression of that painting is my experience as a convert. I'm Japanese, I come from a nonreligious background, and I came here to study Renascence and Barrocous
Art, because they are harmonious and beautiful and then I found faith”.
As a teacher and artist, Osamu tries to work following a rich tradition of sacred art, but without repeating what has been done in the past. It’s a contemporary style that responds to the concerns of men and women today.
Sacred Art School Firenze
"I teach drawing in the Sacred Arts School, and our approach is that treating drawing not as near artistic medium but to capture the grace of God, that God left in all our bodies. Because we are made in the image of God, in the likeness of Him so by contemplating in his body we find God”.
It is one of the few schools in the world where "sacred art" is taught. The students and school have received commissions for planning new churches, chapels or renovating old churches, such as this chapel in for the Church of Our Lady of Help in Livorno, Italy.
More about the Sacred Art School