This paper provides a broad historical overview of how Judeo-Christian philosophy and values have been communicated through the arts. It suggests that our need for artistic expression is part of our search and longing for what is greater than us. This is a divine mandate for the Bible asserts God as an artist and the role His creativity plays in the relationship between God and humanity. But Exodus 20 also indicates that this relationship can be misused and misunderstood with the prohibition of idolatry. There is a clear biblical differentiation between the wise artist, who uses art for the search for truth, and the foolish one, who uses it as false worship. The connection between art and worship continues throughout Church history especially when it receives power through Constantine. This power is intertwined with religion so that late medieval art shows the views that the Roman Church and the Dominican friars have of themselves in their salvific role and power over the Lord’s “flock.” The abuse of power was challenged and Protestant artists expressed their views in writing and the arts. Protestantism posed a threat and at the council of Trent decisions were made to use art to establish Roman Catholic doctrine in a more forceful manner. By the eighteenth century the Church was using maps to enhance their absolutist views and to stake out their power in a global manner. Ambitious emperors who were also vying for the same territory grew tired of papal ambition and in 1798 Napoleon imprisons Pope Pius VI as predicted by prophecy. A new secular spirit is evident in the French Revolution and this can be observed through the art of the modern era.
Hasel, M.F.A., Giselle Sarli
"Teaching Art History from a Biblical Foundation:Art History as a View into the Great Controversy,"
The Journal of Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning: Vol. 1
, Article 5.
Available at: http://knowledge.e.southern.edu/jbffl/vol1/iss1/5