Rain, Steam and Speed – The Great Western Railway – Joseph Mallord William Turner

Fruits of the Spirit: Art from the Heart —National Gallery of London UK

For some time now there have been signs that the barriers between religion and art are coming down. In the last issue of the newsletter we noted the widespread interest in sacred music. I cite here another example from visual arts that suggests a new openness in the art-world to the world of religious faith. In times past these two worlds have had little interaction as they have been characterized by a mutual suspicion. (Particularly Protestantism on the religious side.)

Initiated by the National Gallery of London this virtual exhibition features nine works from the Gallery collection that are paired with nine more recent works from other galleries in the UK. Each pair addresses one of the fruits of the Spirit noted by Saint Paul in the letter of Galatians—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

This biblical letter offers counsel on how to build and maintain community in the face of disagreement. A timely message for a fragmented culture. The more recent borrowed art works invite the viewer to consider the particular “fruit” in the light of current cultural concerns. As with all good art, these works serve to open conversations on matters important to the human community.