CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

Even Godless Hipsters Love the Stigmata

From Medieval Manuscripts to Burning Man, We Use Art to Get Closer to the Sacred

The yearning for intimacy with the sacred remains as potent today as it was in medieval days, when art was preoccupied almost entirely with depicting the divine. Last night’s spirited (pun intended), time-traveling Zócalo Public Square/Getty “Open Art” event at the Getty Center connected wide-ranging contemporary yearning (as evidenced by the success of the grilled cheese sandwich press, the recurring monthly apparitions of the Virgin Mary in the Mojave Desert, and the spiritual fervor at Burning Man) to the medieval art on display in the Getty’s exhibition Things Unseen: Vision, Belief, and Experience in Illuminated Manuscripts.

The evening’s moderator, documentarian Jody Hassett Sanchez, raised the question of whether artists illustrating religious scenes for the elites’ manuscripts or for more widespread consumption within churches were true believers or merely manipulators, hired to inspire certain emotions and reinforce the authority of church …