Art for Church: Cloth of Gold, Cloak of Lead
Hamilton Books

Art for Church: Cloth of Gold, Cloak of Lead

  • Publish Date: 2011-09-28
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Dennis McNally

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The Church needs the arts, as they are a way to access the soul. As Augustine says, one who sings, prays twice. Recent popes have given the impression that the Church is again interested in the way the arts draw us into ourselves, where we are able to contact the mystery that is God. Art for Church is a personal and professional expression of how that renewed interest plays itself out. This text takes its name from the cloth of gold, an image related to centuries of experimentation by the medieval and Renaissance worlds as they sought an alchemical solution to worship. There previously existed a centuries-long search for how to make golden cloth that would praise God; this pursuit distinctly resembles the quest of the artist to produce the perfect product. Pope Paul VI (1897-1978) and his papal fraternity had set the tone, too often a confining one, for such an alchemical quest in the Church. Unfortunately, the music in the artist's heart is not always the same as that in the heart of the pastor. Pope Paul VI eventually did apologize for the cloak of lead he imposed upon artists creating works in the name of the Church. He also came to admit that artistic freedom is a necessary part of the process when the Church seeks the works of artists. In this book, McNally offers insights on how much freedom is necessary for art to flourish in the service of the Church and just what is at stake if that freedom is curtailed. Art for Church contains over 120 original paintings and 30 original poems by the author.

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