As someone whose mind almost always goes blank when offered a sheet of paper and artists materials, I am regularly fascinated by stories about artworks. This week I read a story about ancient art from Jersey.

 

Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands, off the north coast of France. Apparently, between 2014 and 2018 archaeologists unearthed small fragments of stone engraved with abstract designs. Similar stones have been found in the past in France, Spain and Portugal. The designs consist of some straight lines that are more or less parallel, and longer, curved lines. Scientists studying the stone fragments believe they are the earliest examples of art known in the British Isles, and were made between 23,000 and 14,000 years ago by hunter-gatherer people moving north as the last Ice Age retreated. Some think the engravings are abstract designs, others that they are possibly early pictures of animals and people, similar to cave paintings and decorations on weapons and tools, thought to be by the same people. Creating art, the scientists have concluded, was clearly an important part of the culture, and may have been particularly significant as the people expanded into new areas.

 

Art has a mixed history within Christianity. The ancient Israelites were taught not to make any images of God, because to do so might limit one’s view of God. Many early Christian churches were lavishly decorated with carvings and other artwork, offering the best skills of craftsmen to honour God with extravagant and expensive buildings. In the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformation in Western Christianity objected to the lavish opulence of the Church and stripped many churches bare. Today, most Western Christian churches probably still tend to be associated more with the written word, than with the creative arts.

 

  • Do you have favourite artworks or types of artwork? If you do, what makes that art, or type of art, special for you?

  • If you doodle, or create artwork of any kind, what is its significance for you?

 

Prayer for the week - 21st August 2020

 

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