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As a mode of creative expression, communication, and self-definition, art is a primordial facet of human existence and constitutive factor in the evolution of religion. Through visible expression and form, art imparts meaning and value to anthropic aspirations, encounters, and narratives, and simultaneously orients the human within the horizon of a community, world, and cosmos. Thereby, art renders the human situation—origin, existence, death, and afterlife—comprehensible through visual representations. As a stimulus for creativity and culture, religion is the spiritual impulse that conjoins humanity with divinity through spiritual experience, ceremony, and mythology. Art and religion converge through ritual practice and presentation of sacred narrative, thereby affecting “an experience of the numinous”Enigmatically, art can recognize and project the essence and significance of a spiritual experience through form, thereby engendering a tangible record that informs the initiation or repetition of the original spiritual moment. Commensurately, art employs visual archetypes and idealizations on the journey to truth and beauty, thereby proffering visions of the sacred and models to follow on the path to salvation. As visible religion, art communicates religious beliefs, customs, and values through iconography and depictions of the human body. The foundational principle for the interconnections between art and religion is the reciprocity between image making and meaning making as creative correspondence of humanity with divinity.

The intimacy between art and religion has prevailed beyond historical convolutions, transformations, and permutations in global cultural and religious values. Unimaginably arduous to label with a universal standard, the intercommunion between art and religion has endured proliferation, diversification, and diminution through world cultures and religions. Nonetheless, this impossible regularization or definition of art and religion in any form, communal or universal, may be interpreted as appropriate to as amorphous an entity as art and religion is, and reflects its fundamental heuristic and multivalent nature. From their inexplicable differences within individual cultures to their inherent and unconscious manifestations in the human psyche, the numerous conjunctures between art and religion persist even unto their camouflaged survival in the secular societies of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.