Sacred art corresponds to religious art conceived for liturgical (religious celebrations) and devotional functions. The works have the function of awakening the religiosity of the faithful and can promote representations of important narratives for religion, which gives them the quality of something sacred. Generally, these narratives are materialized in the books of their respective religions and gain readings in sculptures, panels, paintings, etc.
The faith and religiosity inherent to most people are portrayed in home decor in spaces of peace and well-being. Representing closeness to God and superior beings, linked to affective memory and forming an identity bond, the symbols of devotion are an attraction on their own and, married to other elements, form a prominent place in the composition of environments. Within an increasingly stressful daily routine, the representation of the favorite saint, the Holy Family, the crucifix, the Bible, oratories, and altars serve as a haven and invite moments of contemplation.
There is no exact date for the emergence of sacred art, but the Catholic Church was responsible for promoting it during the Baroque period. Sacred works of art or Holy arts can be displayed inside and outside public worship spaces, such as mosques, churches, temples, shops, and synagogues, among others. They contribute to the practices of religious traditions.
Difference between Sacred and Religious Art
“Sacred art” is art made for religion, which has the purpose of liturgy, that is, divine worship. “Sacred art” encourages the liturgical life in the faithful, leading to a religious attitude to divine worship. For example, the artist who creates sculptures of saints for church altars produces sacred art, as his work will be the focus of worship in divine services.
“Religious art” is that which reflects the religious life of the artist. The doctrine of a particular religion tends to produce in human beings virtues or values, such as love, submission, faith, hope, and, above all, the worship of God. “Religious art” maintains the values of the religion portrayed but is not intended to carry out divine worship.
Currently, we come across “graffiti art” artists producing both religious and sacred art.
How to include sacred art in your decoration?
The truth is that the time when sacred pieces were only associated with a specific religion or belief is gone. Some designers today make a point of using these elements in their projects. Some collect just because they admire the aesthetics of an era, artistic style, or even for cultural interest, without any connection with the religion they practice daily.
It does not exclude the fact that many people have images in their homes out of religious devotion; whatever that may be. The truth is that this diversity is very welcome when we return to the basic concept of art as a form of expression. What fun would it be if everyone expressed themselves in the same way? Practical tips for decorating with sacred art.
● Merging styles
Today, it is possible to create either a specific corner for a piece of sacred art, a kind of mini sanctuary, or to incorporate it into the home’s environment, mixing it with retro or more contemporary decor. Figurines or paintings can be combined with other items in the space, not necessarily religious.
● Monochrome style
A foolproof tip is to bet on monochrome. A single color simplifies the decoration and makes it possible to create a beautiful and, at the same time, elegant space.
● Different beliefs
It is possible to merge different beliefs as well. For this, it is enough to use niches that help identify the micro-environments. It is also possible to mix the more traditional style with a more modern piece even if both have different symbolisms.
● Betting on colors
If your favorite sacred image is in color, a great trick to balance the aesthetics is metallics. Golden or tan accessories are a sure bet to bring balance to the space. Another great tip is to include neutral combinations, such as white and black, to build the environment.
● Exploring artistic styles
This tip is great for those who are passionate about various artistic styles in addition to sacred art. Try to think of combinations with other aspects, varying the focus place and ensuring harmony between the cards. The sacred piece can go on the table, while the classic painting goes on the wall – if the colors are in harmony, the combination works and still guarantees a personality to the environment.
● Safe places
It is the last but one of the most important tips in this guide. Try to position the art pieces in places with little movement of people. They are usually fragile items that require attention to movements. Thus, you combine your work but avoid accidents.
Main artists and works
Artists can express the sacred works in various materialities such as ceramics, mosaic, painting, handicrafts, stained glass, calligraphy, and illuminated manuscripts, among others. Here are some examples of artists and their works:
Michelangelo (Caprese, 1475 – Rome, 1564) was an Italian painter, sculptor, poet, and architect. He carried out much work for the commission of Roman popes and cardinals. Influenced by the art of antiquity, many of his works represent the human figure.
Rafael Sanzio (Urbino, 1483 – Rome, 1520) was an Italian painter and architect. With Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he formed the most recognized triad of Italian Renaissance art. See some of his paintings in churches:
● Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci (Anchiano, 1452 – Amboise, 1519) was an Italian artist and scientist with a high degree of knowledge in several areas. One of his most famous sacred works is the panel The Last Supper, produced from 1495 to 1498 in the refectory of the Convento Santa Maria Delle Grazie.
● Master Ataíde
Manuel da Costa Ataíde (Mariana, 1762 – idem, 1830) was a Brazilian painter and decorator. A great name in the Baroque style, Mestre Ataíde worked with the sculptor Aleijadinho to compose many sacred works for the churches of Minas Gerais in the colonial period.
Antoni Gaudí I Cornet (Reus or Riudoms, 1852 – Barcelona, 1926) was a Spanish architect whose work was inspired by nature and religion. Gaudí took care of every detail of the projects,
incorporating ceramics, stained glass, and woodworking. His masterpiece is the unfinished Basilica of the Holy Family, with all the elements adapted to the liturgical rites:
Art is increasingly accessible to connoisseurs. A few years ago, it was almost exclusive to upper-class people or even a small circle of experts and critics. Today, it is more common to see a work of art complementing home decor.
With new artist revelations and the internet bringing the means of expression and communication together, these pieces have become a contemporary trend.
Decorating the house with art like sacred art changes the environment’s visual perspectives, exposing the residents’ sensations and personalities. Check out some sacred arts you can assemble as a decor in your house on Holyart and see how elegant and stylish your home will look like.
Our home is also a refuge for memories, a space where we share good times and tell nostalgic stories. Therefore, it is very common to see objects and elements in the decoration of the rooms that resonate with your beliefs.