What is the connection between religion and art?
Under any normal circumstances, I wouldn't attempt to stream the connection between religion and art together, as doing so is as vastly differing per individual interpretation, just as it is one's attempt to solidifying the philosophical question; what is the true meaning of life?
However, in an effort to establish a sense of equitable value and exploit two issues to which I am deeply fascinated by in my personal quest to obtain a greater understanding, knowledge, and wisdom; I certainly do believe these two subjects share the number one slot, in and throughout history for serving mankind's uncanny appetite.
In many areas of life concerning comforting individuals, inspiring, encouraging, and educating the masses in essence to live freer lives, by virtue of one's beliefs, talents, passions, gifts, or in one's quest to obtain a sense of self, against the great unknown forces in our midst; religion and art are without question sharing the number one slot in educating principles throughout the history of mankind, and we have the documentations to back such a theory.
To my best understanding, that was the underlying message I found in almost every study I've conducted from Eastern Philosophies concerning Buddha, to the Western Civilization many live by, here in America, which often reveals a traditionalist belief in either a Catholic based study and practice, or Christianity, which in itself has been segregated and divided into 100's if not 1000's of roots of the same tree, but bears different titles as an effort to socialize the teaching by way of denomination.
Both of these subjects, religion and art follow a similar curriculum, centrally focused on or around certain principles, such as; individuality, discipline, obedience, and have often been associated to the individual obtaining a greater sense of freedom, passion, or zeal for life itself.
I also believe; a connection can, or perhaps should be recognized in regard to the mediation process, and it's values, whereby, both religious teachings and artists of all kinds speak of this value, as it can itself can be enlightening, entrancing, even life changing, as I personally have had the pleasure to explore, and experience firsthand, in both the spiritual, and the artistic values aforementioned.
Whilst I could circumnavigate the ocean blue with another, and return with a completely different perspective, perception, or opinionated personal view of said voyage than that of the another who joined me, even still, there are definitely specific criteria that we can make a direct correlation to concerning religious principles, and artistic expression.
Ultimately, they both share the likeness of tree's, whereby they seek water for nourishment, and have several roots or feelers extenuating in their search, until the necessary requirements have been met for growth, and prosterity.
Just as the trees appear to stretch their limbs grasping for the sunlight, so then are we as people seeking similar resources to fuel our growth, and feed our hunger with nourishing recipes, whereas, we too seek the ingredients to better flavor the recipes we ingest, hopeful to also gain a foothole for prosterity's sake.
Therefore, without going into the psychological aspects, or societal behavioral patterns concerning these two subjects of a more philosophical origin, I can easily summarize the inarguable answer abroad in two simple words; "human interest."
In reviewing the title above, I literally could have written a series of books in chronological order getting deeper into the demographics of science, religion, psychology, philosophy, and art, but at the end of the day the only true answer to such a question has already been proven for nearly 10,000 years.
People of every walk, culture, color, creed, academic grandeur, or socioeconomic accomplishment are drawn to the hypnotic powers concerning artworks of all forms, and spiritual teachings abound, and rightly so, for had we not shown such a compelling interest in the two, we wouldn't have likely had so many choices made readily available for us to curb our appetites, and expand our perceptous understanding.
It's is the belief of this author that these two subjects share a similar genealogy, and were initially used to document events past, present, and future, to teach and educate ourselves to share in the vision or the perception of the wise, and be touched by the powerful forces in our midst that we are often not privilidged to touch ourselves, or fully comprehend.
Now, how we choose interpret those teachings or artworks, that's a horse of a different color, as is so with religious freedoms and artwork; "beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
On an end note, Michelangelo once stated; I saw and angel trapped in the stone, and I chiseled until I set it free.
Now that's a visionary, among a huge host of others who were often referred to as 'gifted' or 'divine'.