An artist's leap of faith from the profane to the sacred

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28/11/2021
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Art has decorated the history of Christianity for centuries. Religious icons, depicting Jesus, Mary and the saints, can be found in churches and even street corners all around the world.

JORGE ALBERTO PUENTES

Artist

ORIG. SPANISH

“Iconography was originally intended for illiterate people who didn't know how to read or write. Icons helped them grow in the faith, and that's still the goal of iconography today.”

But Jorge Alberto Puentes wasn't always interested in icons, or religious art in general. The artist from Bogotá, Colombia, says it was his mother's support for his artistic career and her faith that ultimately led him to specialize in this form of religious art.

JORGE ALBERTO PUENTES

Artist

ORIG. SPANISH

“I try to pray while I paint, to pray and meditate on what it is that I'm painting. Before my art can help other people, it helps me. It helps me grow closer to God's presence, and then it can help people who see my work.”

Puentes has seen for himself the impact his art has made on others. He says religious icons often open people to ask questions that can lead them to a deeper exploration of the faith.

JORGE ALBERTO PUENTES

Artist

ORIG. SPANISH

“A person who wasn't very close to the Church once came to my house and saw the icons I have here. He later told me that seeing that icon impelled him to pray. There's something about religious icons that draws people closer to God, closer to the Church. That's been my experience.”

An artistic career that started out with a block of paper and a pencil that his mother gave him in elementary school grew into a creative form of evangelization that continues to draw people to the faith.

CT

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