Martyrs Who Move

Martin Gayford writes in The Guardian:

A few years ago, the American artist Bill Viola got a mental block about the Virgin Mary. “I just couldn’t figure it out. I tried and tried and tried. It flummoxed me, and I had to back off”.

He is talking about an unusual and daunting commission. For over a decade, Viola has been pondering the task of making two video-art altar pieces for St Paul’s Cathedral, to stand at the east ends of the north and south choir aisles. Now, after over a decade of thought, they are completed, installed and will be seen for the first time by the public at evensong on Wednesday, May 21st.

This is a big moment in the history of religious art. Over the last two millennia, tens — even hundreds — of thousands of religious paintings have been placed on the altars of the world in numerous different media. But this is the first time that moving images will take a prominent place in one of the great cathedrals of Christendom.

Read the rest.

Image of St. Paul’s Cathedral courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


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