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Art as a Complement to Religion and Realm of the Spiritual

Abstract: Modernity and Postmodernity have witnessed secularization of the Western world and ultimate rationalization of thought. However, the rationalistic approach towards epistemological and ethical questions that characterizes Modernity has proven insufficient. Modern artists and philosophers directly or indirectly oppose the one-sided rationalistic view of the world and claim that the main subject and purpose of art is revelation of spiritual essences, connection with metaphysical reality. Eternal truths, Rothko claims, are the subject matter of all good art. This texts considers the modern tendency to associate art with spirituality in terms of themes, purpose and the role of the artist. I refer to contemporary philosophers and artists to elucidate the complex relationship between religion, art and spirituality today. I also explore the view that art is a kind of spiritual practice that can be compared to religious commitments. At the same time, art does not fully substitute religion. A crucial distinction is that art is inclusive, allowing agnostics and atheists to have spiritual experiences, while religion is exclusive. This however doesn't mean that art has priority in facilitating one's spiritual growth. Along with that, the paper aims at elucidating the role of art in individual and social life.

Keywords: modernity, artists, art, religion, secularization

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