Sacred Art in Secular Terms

in #art4 years ago

As some of you know, I've been resteeming @symbolism and upvoting the content he has put on D.Tube. His name is Jonathan Pageau and he is an Orthodox Christian icon carver and a public speaker. He lives less than an hour away from me and we had the chance to meet once at his house.

I discovered him through Jordan Peterson. The first video was about Tradition and Things That Don't Fit and the second was The Metaphysics of Pepe which has been viewed 350,041 times so far. I am not an Orthodox Christian myself but I have always been fascinated by the symbolic language since I was a child. Before becoming Christian 2 years ago, I would binge watch symbolic interpretation of movies as a hobbie.

If you get a chance, watch his video on the symbolic interpretation of Shrek or Star Wars the Last Order on his channel. They are marvellous to listen to.

The Decay of Art

I don't know for you but currently the world of art is just a cacophony of irony. Even the meaning of the word "Art" is in question. When everything can be art then nothing is...really.

We've all seen those articles about a ridiculous painting being sold for 100Million dollars and wondering what kind of wacko would buy what a toddler could do with red paint and a canvas. Those piece are always accompanied by some incomprehensible explanation that is just a bunch of words mashed together to sound sophisticated.


Red is the colour of wine, but also of blood, and these canvases encompass both the sensual pleasure and violent debauchery associated with the god. This contrast is echoed in the paintings' combination of euphoric loops that soar upwards and vermilion floods of paint that ooze and cascade down the canvas.

This "wonder" was sold for almost 50 Million dollars and art "experts" described it like this:

His madness is a circle of fire, an unbroken circuit of excess, each attempt at containment spilling into the next’

To add to the irony, the painter didn't even care enough to give it a title. The painting is called: "Untitled".

A Possible Way Through - Rebooting the Franchise

I believe the visual art franchise needs to be rebooted...not through some sort of nostalgia for the past but through digging deep down into our cultural and spiritual roots to revivify it. At first, I just knew that contemporary art was pretty much a scam directed by a few elites wrapping themselves with a vaneer of sophistication...but when I listened to this talk this morning, I knew that Jonathan Pageau is onto something deep and meaninful.

I highly recommend watching the video at the top of the page and share your thoughts in the comments below.


It is amazing how little thought people today give to symbolism. Throughout the ages, people were well aware of the symbols used. Every tradition has them going back thousands of years. Yet today, we pay no attention.

Of course, that does not mean that we do not use them. Madison Avenue has clients spending billions to make sure we recognize and interpret the symbols the way they want us to. We call it branding but it is rally symbolism.

We think in pictures. That is something that most forget. Hence, when something is ingrained in us, especially without questioning, it carries meaning. Is it any wonder Ronald McDonald is one of the most recognized figures in the world. The symbolism of what that character means to children is well honed.

Symbolism is not only present in the content and message, but in the forms, the mediums and the very uses of art. Christian art can be a true and honest engagement within the contemporary world, one which neither ignores the visual and conceptual revolutions of the last centuries nor attempts to paste the Christian message on forms and aesthetics which negate this very message.

absolutely. I don't like propaganda which tends to put the message before the art...even when it is Christian. But in the case of liturgical art, it is actually lived out and seems to meld perfectly the balance of message and art.

Do you think that a revivification of lithurgical art, even in secular society, could reboot the franchise of art as we know it?

thank you friend I am very interested in the subject, I would like to start a conversation with you at some point,

You have a lot of followers and many comments, so I don’t expect you to miraculously read my response to overall opinion regarding art and Christianity. I’m just expressing my feelings as a Christian. However there have certainly been great modern fiction writers who have identified themselves as Christians such as Flannery O'Connor, for example. But it is hard to think of many great contemporary visual artists who have made Christian faith central to their work. Given our habits of viewing art aesthetically and psychologically rather than religiously, paintings that involve the appropriation of Christian imagery from antique pictures do not necessarily read as expressions of faith. As a New York resident there’s "The Next Generation: Contemporary Expressions of Faith" at the Museum of Biblical Art, 1865 Broadway, at 61st Street, Manhattan. I will be definately watching your video.

The issue with a lot of "Christian" inspired art is that they are not rooted in it's practice and looks more like propaganda (where the message come before execution). It feels like liturgical art is actually embodied and practice in real life rather than simply sending an "idea" out there in the world.

There is just so many bad Christian movies, music and books that sell well to that niche because they are big fish in small ponds but fail to reach the masses like Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia for the same reason as above. Nobody reads LoR thinking that it's full of Christian symbolism and totally enjoy it has a great piece of literature first and foremost.

I think by having artist, even as atheist, reconnect with the deep stories found in the bible, we can "reboot" the franchise by having art that connects at every level of being...rather than just blatant irony and politics.

It was realy interesting watching Jonathan Pageau talking about symbolism in Shrek movie as the most illuminating movie in history. Intersting way he spoke about sins, sins of Adam and Eva, sin of Satan being punished by God, sins of Peter eventualy denying Jesus three time as Jesus predicted. I already knew about it, but it’s nice to be reminded of it. I’m falowing now Jonathan Pageau, because I have very similar opinions when it comes to this subject. Thank you for responding to my comment.

I agree with you..

If that is art, then my 4 year old little brother is the greatest artist of all time.
He also makes things like this and leaves them without a title

You said that painting sold for $50 million? Good God!

It often baffles me whenever I see people expressing love for things I don't understand or find to be beautiful.

Let me watch the video and return here.

Even the meaning of the word ''Art'' is in question.

Definitely. Always has been; probably always will be. I agreed, though, that the present state is getting worse. And not with the visual arts alone even.

Haha. 'Untitled' is crazy. Jesus Christ what has the world come to!? 5 million dollars? Without even a title, haha.

Oh and..@symbolism is awesome.

50Mil... I know. Ridiculous.

That's even more ridiculous! I thought I saw five! Just showed this to some of my friends and the incredulity on their faces was priceless!

Sensual pleasure and violent debauchery my ass.

Who is the idiot that buy this painting in 50 million dollars.....i never took painting brush in my hand but i'm pretty sure that i can make better circle than this.....

look at art to enjoy it and marvel at this very unique human desire to create, decorate, and reproduce. it wassold fr 50 million $... u might be missing something :p

In the event that that is craftsmanship, at that point my 4 year old younger sibling is the best craftsman ever.

He additionally makes things like this and abandons them without a title

I don't understand what the hell is wrong with people. They try to find meaning in something I call shit, that's no art. That's just people fooling other foolish fools. Yeah absolutely the paintings are sold for millions and true art is not appreciated. I don't see the irony in that. This shit makes me nauseous.

Truly I've been amazed at some so called Art works sold for millions of dollars and I always wonder what's behind the painting that made it cost so much but from reading this it's quite hilarious to find out that there is nothing spectacular about the painting, truly just some bunch of words mashed together to sound sophisticated. If it was quality and beauty then my friends would have been billionaires by now. Nevertheless I'll love to watch the video and see what Jonathan Pagaeu has to share. Thanks for sharing

I really believe that this kind of art is just a way to wash money :)

it's a circle jerk to prop up each other art collection too.

Those paintings you showed at the beginning of the presentation were absolutely gorgeous! Wonderful speech! I'll have to look into these artists some more. By the way, I don't know if you've ever seen the film "Akira", but I think it would be an excellent piece for you to do a symbolic analysis of. It's a second coming story as far as I can tell. However, I'd love your thoughts on the matter.

woooww...I never considered that it was a second coming reference. That would be an amazing video for sure.

I will be checking this account then @symbolism

A few years ago I was an avid reader of vigilantcitizen, where they put analysis of movies and music based on their symbolism. I read a lot of crazy stuff in there, because they were more about the conspiracy side of symbolism.

About the art ... what can we say. There is a famous french movie called The Intouchables and there is a scene where the millionaire guy manage to sell a simple painting from his poor friend for several thousands $. Only because he had good contacts. And perhaps in real life it is the same, regular art is "worth" millions, simply because the painter has good contacts.

I've never understood why abstract art is so valuable lol it's amazing what people will pay for it though

Actually I don't have a good knowledge about Christian symbols! Because, I'm a Buddhist, but I will definitely watch that video! Hope I can understand those symbols well!
I still can't believe the price of that artwork! 50 Million :O That's huge! Anyway we all can interpret that artwork in different ways! If we can interpret an artwork in lots of ways, that means it's a great artwork! Thanks for sharing these valuable updates today! Wish you as great day ahead!


Because you we can all have a different interpretation it means it has value? I don't understand your point. This is more of a symbol that there is something wrong with art in my opinion.

Once this type of artwork selected as a best artwork at my country! People who selected it says it has different interpretations! Actually I don't know why they elected it :D In here same thing happened! After all it's just few cycles in red color :D
PS:- I didn't capture any symbolic meaning there!


Personally, I think art works are priceless to those who has high value for arts. You dont expect me to pay 10k dollars for that work but to one who value art, it is an asset.

Oh man.... so glad I saw this post. I'm going to be up all weekend watching these and reading. Thanks for sharing.

I totally agree that this painting for $50 million is a total waste. It would have been so much better if the buyer had given some of the money to a good charity; or if they have a business; give some bonuses or a raise to the people working very hard for you to have an extra $50 million to waste. There is no real spiritual or mystic message that the artist put into it.

Christian mysticism and symbolism can be very profound. IMO, the real purpose of that is for people to be guided so they begin practices to realize God within themselves and the outer world.

Sacred art is solely art; sometimes great, sometimes ordinary. If applied to religion, a picture is still worth a thousand words and sacred art attempts to accomplish this. Since I have no valid concept/definition of “religion” it is hard to say whether sacred art transcends it. I simply accept that it can enhance various aspects of religion…

I agree it is the not the painting it is the bunch of words or explanation you give which makes it great...great to be sold in millions ....i too am an artist i do know it better , i have seen many myself selling the rediculous paintings for 500$ but it was then when i came to know it is the words not the painting...the words which make it look more creative & is basically the mind which speaks the whole thing....
With all due heart we steemians welcome @symbolism.....

I really love this line...

When everything can be art then nothing is...really.

Thank you for this post.

quite informative and interesting, art is something that we all are found of, The Benefits of Art and Artful Living. Educators tell us that art encourages fine motor skills, neural development, and problem-solving abilities and that it can be used effectively to teach and understand other key subjects such as reading, writing, math, and science....

After one year, the second phase of the project will include making original drawings and then carvings based on what I will have learned, all of which will hopefully lead to a book if patrons continue to support me. Depending on the support from patrons, I
would also like to publish a book of the collected drawings produced over the course of this project which will be given to patrons through their pledges.

wow very excellent post Thanks for sharing i will done upvote..

Imagery isn't just present in the substance and message, yet in the structures, the mediums and the very employments of workmanship. Christian workmanship can be a valid and fair engagement inside the contemporary world, one which neither disregards the visual and reasonable unrests of the most recent hundreds of years nor endeavors to glue the Christian message on structures and style which invalidate this very message.

wow, surely this is cool @cryptoctopus, i will continue to watch the video you share, to understand gradually. I'm sure this can be a new motivation for me. Because I just joined in steemit and do not have much knowledge about steemit. I will keep following your post to learn more. I really like to see art, and I really salute to people who have an artistic soul. Because the soul of art is not owned by many people. Thank you for sharing and hopefully you will be more successful to work ... :)

I'm not a follower of Orthodox, but once I have a remarkable memory to visit the Eastern Orthodox Church, Every time all these aspects for me, to be experience is going to very interesting. My curiosity in religion is very high, exceptionally to the other religion substance, the opportunity to sit in the church and looking around for a long while, with my friend the experience of church traditions and customs is very fascinating fixation for me to do. It is very much awareness to watch new belongings and tradition which is belongs to another religion and culture in which we have no possessions. let me tell you #cryptoctopus, the experience of this trip brings many changes in my way of belief in God, that I am much serious about to attend my religious ceremonies just because all of that inspires me.
Although every Orthodox have engraining and art designing and its just not an attraction to its art there is some peace of mind which matter me a lot.
well thank you so much for your amazing and informative contribution, it's worth for me.
Blessed you..
Steem On...

Thanks @cryptoctopus

After one year, the second phase of the project will include making original drawings and then carvings based on what I will have learned, all of which will hopefully lead to a book if patrons continue to support me.

I definiatelly settled down to watch it sir

wow very excellent post Thanks for sharing i will done upvote..

the work is beautiful and very professioanl, im glad for that sucess , could you tell me the secret of all thoese upvots thats really impressive , im having a hard start i need some encouragment and i belive in this beautiful community

Symbolism can take different forms. Simplification is also closely related to the form of mental comprehension of an indifferent artist. In a clearer sense, it is desirable to give a different meaning to the deep and more important one. An action, a life, or a sentence spoken by others can have a symbolic value. For example, "hate" is a symbol of hostility. Similarly, someone who looks at you with disgust can be expressed symbolically. Of course, the sense of hate must be symbolized here.
How to use the symbolic meaning of an object or an activity is closely related to the inner world of the gazeer.

thanks alot for sharing such an wonderful art i really loved the post with such an mavillious art its my first being in your post and you got a new follower!

Great art friend....Keep it up...Resteemit...

Very good post. Upvote for You:)

Are you fukin serious ? This left many questions in my mind.

  • Who is that buyer ( Address me if possible, i have million dollars deals for him )
  • Where are circles
  • Let me know about those experts also's amazing.such a great post.hope everyone will be like on this.keep sharing.thank you.go ahead

Before becoming Christian 2 years ago, I would binge watch symbolic interpretation of movies as a hobbie.

It probably wouldn't shock you or me or very many people, but there are those who don't want to see it on the page if it has the Christian stamp of approval. Still, many Christian movies, book and music titles have become huge successes in the mainstream world. Despite the immense popularity of Christian authors, who are superstars in some parts of the country, they have been largely ignored, which doesn’t surprise me at all, by much of the mainstream news media, including the newspapers, further encouraging dual marketing.

Art has become a way life.. It tends to show the inner mind of the individual making. We see an art work in different ways, just like that art work that was sold for 50 million. To me I didn't appreciate it because I haven't look through the contextual meaning of the artwork.

To someone who appreciates art, that'd a million dollar artwork and that individual reads great meaning to it.

Couldn't watch the video because we having a bad network reception in my country.

Nice to see a good post you always post great thing for us thanks for sharing with us. And I will really enjoy this after a minute course now I have few other thing to do but for reminder I will restorers. And I will really enjoy this after a minute course now I have few other thing to do but for reminder I will restorers. And I will really enjoy this after a minute course now I have few other thing to do but for reminder I will restorers

giphy-downsized (8).gif


Sacred - holy

Great one!

How can this possibly help my Christian life? for example.

Awesome and great art Terms video @cryptoctopus ! This is another very creatively thought up artwork.
Keep it up you did some really genius and great example in art work.
I am wait to see your next post.

So many people here are commenting without even reading, this makes me sad where this amazing community is heading towards. This money making mentality will degrade its value in near future. I hope steemit team do some justice to help minnows grow and save the platform.

Well, first, I am upvoting you for the genuine comment. Things will set themselves into place with time. I hope you enjoy the video.

I hope we all make Steemit the best platform it can be. Thanks for the up vote and the reply.

Art has nothing to do with Christianity, at least not in this form.

you pay for the signature, the certificate of authenticity! :D

Symbolism works in tandem with Arts - they are both interwoven.
Thank you @cryproctopus for sharing this vital information to steemians.

Keep doing the good work!

wow ..... you have created a beautiful post here ... and your video is really charming .... I was happy to see ... I hope, everyone will love it too ... Thank you

They used great words to explain the art but I still wouldn't buy that even if I have all the money in the world hehe. Just kidding. Of course, beauty in the art is very very subjective especially in terms of the outcome and what is perceived by the eye. It may not be meaningful to me, but for the eyes of the buyer, it is worth 5 million dollars or more. Sometimes other people look at the embedded emotions and the meaning behind an artwork more than the time and effort it took to complete it or the materials used for it.

Art is a quite a strange and interesting topic to learn and read about in my opinion. Human beings have already been making artworks even before our ancestors discovered how to make fire. It has served as a common language for eons and continues to do so up to the present.

As I was watching Jonathan... the concept that kept coming to me repeatedly was that of "rooted." Liturgical art, as well as liturgy of worship itself, is something that is meant to be "the work of the people" and as such conceptually is always rooted not just in the transcendent experience of God, but in the work of both the individual and community in their participation together in the real life in which God encounters us.

It strikes me that some of the mess that is contemporary art is that it is seen as first "self-expression" and perhaps even more something requiring the "informed/educated/specially trained/ or positioned" to interpret it for another. Liturgy / liturgical art derive their power and meaning through the ways they are meant to become a living rhythm for the participants... a living invitation to step into life that is both rooted and transcendent simultaneously. Remarkably tue particularly in liturgical worship, but I suspect equally true of liturgical art is a very clear understanding that without the participant themselves, it does not exist. There is no worship without worshippers... there is no prayer without "pray-ers"... there would be no liturgical arts without both those creating them, BUT also those beholding them. I know of few things that by their intent seek to create this kind of relationship and invitation.

As I listened to Jonathan... I keep hearing Augustine's statement of the "heart always being restless" until it at last finds it's rest in God. The way that the medieval arts drew complex meanings to create a cradle of meaning into which one not only was invited, but encouraged to inhabit as a rhythm of meaning and life seems to be an attempt to put practice, visuals, spaces, community, and even worship itself into the kinds of patterns that might indeed allow one to experience God and therein find rest at last.

Could the current art culture benefit from helping people and communities find "home" again... I cannot help but think "yes." Unaccounted for though... would be the power of another theological category "sin" that also plays out in the human creature that takes the kinds of things that are life giving and warps them into something less so, if not outright destructive. It is that destructive aspect that I think Jonathan's first half and critique of contemporary art culture revolves around. It is that reality that will work as a counter agent to those like Jonathan and it sounds like yourself as well in seeking a "better" way forward.

wow very nice post

i think it is time for me to make some art !


@cryptoctopus - Sir if that artwork is worth millions $$$, I'm proud to say, I'm a mother of a millionaire... My 3 years old son draw better artworks than it Sir... Nice you decided to discuss about the 'Art' Sir...


Interesting video explaining the metaphysical space we must have of the representative figures of the church through modern art giving meaning in our lives of the spiritual part always having a sacred space.

wow very excellent art post Thanks for sharing

Deep words

I like this sacked reminds me of the first thing i see when i enter my church ( catholic) i am proud to be practicing catholicism

Christian art is sacred art which uses themes and imagery from Christianity.
like you said When everything can be art then nothing is...really
if we say it's an art, everything can be arts. different groups of christians use some extent of arts, symbols & forms. i think it's the true knowledge of art. impressive article & added the video to do list of today. excellent article @cryptoctopus


Art is it.. Oh my God... Get a grip dum dum.. Um chewing the chicle of your chewing gum gum...

i love art, for sure you have seen a lot in Italy.. please remember that there is still a lot more to discover in europe.. like some museums in Amsterdam.. Rembrandt

what an experience that would have been simply outstanding....

From childhood I had always watched documentary about artwork like this being sold for ridiculous prices and I feel sad because it will indeed be more beautiful and artful to help a needy person that waste money on scribbles.

I actually like modern art. For me it's all about the execution of a creative and original idea, I don't care much for drawing technique or being able to paint a lifelike portrait. In the past before good cameras were invented there was more of a need for that style of painting. What fascinates me is the idea or the ability to make something look bold and striking on a canvas (like Rothko for example). I prefer what I perceive as clever thinking rather than clever technique, if that makes sense. Anyway, that's just my opinion!

Well that is kind of an insane amount to be sold :0

But yes every art has a different meaning of their own and to each one of us that differs !

@cryptoctopus ...amazing post mann..."sacred art in secular terms" sounds great...the material inside is motivating and awesome..

We've all seen those articles about a ridiculous painting being sold for 100Million dollars and wondering what kind of wacko would buy what a toddler could do with red paint and a canvas

Now this is something I always wonder about, like seriously the above picture you uploaded, left for me I see nothing special than just the color red which I think was not made perfectly, an artist used his/her brush and draw some not so orderly lines with the color red.

But the explanation given about it, just make it worth all the more, art I think is your perspective about a particular object, thing or quote and everyone has their various taste.

I don't think you understood what I wrote...

Okay the above was based on my own understanding and according to the video, the author was trying to establish the connection between art and christainity, although I might still be wrong here, but I will really appreciate it if you could just summarize your view below.


one who says it's deep, intellectual and the one who says it's lines drawn. Art form is a work of ones life and his experiences, it's representation. So what the artist truly wanted to say can never be on point without him actually saying it to the point. So what we "see" is what we want to see, the meaning, is a reflection of your own life.

wow very nice

Oh my, what a fascinating post. I am obsessed with symbolism.... that topic is prevalent in my art.

Speaking of art, I recently did a post where I am doing both a contest and a raffle in exchange for constructive feedback on my art. You and your audience are welcome to discourage any more boring things from being created by entering to win a nice silver piece:

It's great art....really amazing post...thanks for sharing [email protected]

great job

Apparently many artists abstract artists were inspired by such paintings of nature.

Hello Friend. I would like to know why I vote my negative comment ?. Your feedback will help me improve. Maybe it's because my English is bad. I am learning. If you dislike writing badly, I will not write you anymore. Apology for the inconvenience.

Resteem, followed and Upvote

Definiately this is an ammazing work by you sir thank you for sharing with us

While media attention was focused on the sale of a rare Leonardo da Vinci painting, a piece of modern art being derisively described as “ketchup on canvas” just sold for nearly $50 million dollars.
During an auction at Christie’s in New York de Vinci’s 500-year-old “Christ as Salvator Mundi” ended up selling for a whopping $450 million dollars, more than four times its estimated price.
However, another piece of “art,” appropriately titled Untitled, was bought for $46,437,500. As you can see, it resembles what would probably happen if a 2-year-old toddler was left on its own with a bottle of ketchup.
According to Christie’s, the “art” is “the largest example from Cy Twombly’s legendary Bacchus series.”


this reminds me to go to the spor :)

Ohhh that was great... Vudar bal ... Thanks for sharing ... Love this art... Vudar ..✔✔✔✔

interesting contests to follow,what about the theme, whether one day one theme such as
colorchallenge, thanks.

We've all seen those articles about a ridiculous painting being sold for 100Million dollars and wondering what kind of wacko would buy what a toddler could do with red paint and a canvas

I use to wonder myself when I hear how much those paintings cost.

Thanks for sharing this

Why lie? The video is 55minutes long and I posted this 9 minutes ago?

Maybe he watched it o fast forward :))

then he changed his comment to not look silly.

He is actually here for thw vote

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