Art and Monasticism

From April 30 2012 to May 5 2012, Transpositions hosted an online symposium on Art and Monasticism. Historically, monasticism has been a fertile field for the cultivation of the visual arts, especially icons, as well as musical compositions, especially those designed to help with the chanting of the Psalms. Today, some artists outside the monastery are exploring how the monastic environment can enrich both their spiritual and their artistic lives. In addition, the traditional monastic arts, such as icon writing, continue to be practiced by artists working within the monastic community. We organised a series of guest posts from a variety of artists influenced by monastic tradition, and our readers added some interesting comments into the mix.

The schedule included:

Monday, 30 April: The Artist Begins Again and Again’ – Christine Valters Paintner, a Benedictine oblate and online Abbess of Abbey of the Arts, shares wisdom for artists from the Desert Fathers and the Benedictine tradition.

Tuesday, 1 May: ‘Brush Stroked Incense: How Painting and Monks Taught Me to Pray’ – Preston Yancey, an incoming MLitt student in the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts, offers a meditation on how the discipline of the Divine Office deepened his experience of painting as prayer.

Wednesday, 2 May: The Art Monastery: Open-Source Monasticism’ – Nathan Rosquist, founder of theArt Monastery San Francisco, talks about using both Western and Eastern monasticism as ‘open-source software’ for artistic creation.

Thursday, 3 May: ‘The Art Monastery: Monastic Technologies’ - Nathan Rosquist continues his discussion of ‘open-source monasticism’ by sharing specific monastic ‘technologies’ used in the Art Monastery Project.

Friday, 4 May: ‘Thoughts on Consecrated Life for Artists’ – Cole Matson, PhD candidate in the Institute for Theology, Imagination and the Arts and regular Transpositions contributor, presents some thoughts on possible forms of consecrated life for artists.

SPECIAL BONUS POST: Saturday, 5 May: ‘Icons as Written Theology’ – Sr Mary Stella McNamee, icon writer of the Monastery of Our Lady of Hyning, has offered a meditation on icon writing for the Art and Monasticism symposium.