Contemplations of the Spiritual in Visual Art

Rina Arya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many examples of art works are described as spiritual but without fleshing out what this means. This has led to wide applicability of the term but without a sharpening of the concept. I address this by opening up a dialogue between spirituality and the visual arts. I investigate what it means to describe an art work as being spiritual and whether the term ‘spiritual’ can be used in more than one sense in its application. I use examples from different historical periods in art to demonstrate the persistence of the concept of spirituality. The notions of receptivity and context seem to be especially pertinent when thinking about the spiritual - what are the frameworks of interpretation that are required for something to be regarded as spiritual? The paper provides an introduction and overview of the increasing pertinence of the spiritual in a secular age.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-93
Number of pages17
JournalJournal for the Study of Spirituality
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


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