Editor's note: This post and podcast appeared on LDS Perspectives. It has been posted here with permission.
Rita Wright is the curator for the Springville Museum of Art. Formerly she taught art at Brigham Young University and was the curator for the LDS Church History Museum. Currently she sits on the worldwide committee for art selection for the LDS Church.
She joins Laura Harris Hales of LDS Perspectives Podcast to discuss the function of art in sacred space beginning with the first Christians. They discuss the beginning of art in the catacombs, through the dark ages, enduring symbols and overlooked and creative use of art to create a sacred atmosphere.
Through her years of teaching, Wright realized that sometimes members of the LDS Church have difficulty understanding the art of other religions because of bias and ignorance of the meaning of iconography. She walks us through some common symbols and architectural styles and how they strive to create a feeling of sacredness.
While cathedrals may sometimes come off as garish and colorful to some, members can gain better understanding about these places if they learn more about them and their purpose.
The initial cathedrals were built as Bibles for the poor because the commoners had no access to Bibles and could not read.
Wright shares some insights on how we can appreciate sacred art on a theological, social and psychological level.