Despite the relative decrease in the production of Christian art, a significant proportion of painting in the 19th and 20th Centuries was concerned with portrayals of Jesus. In the 20th Century, Pablo Picasso’s ‘Crucifixion’ (1930) evoked the medieval “man of sorrow”, a tradition of depicting Jesus bearing the wounds of his Crucifixion. The 20th century was important for the portrayal of Jesus in painting for two reasons. One is that during that period, as in other centuries, the most important religious visual representations of Jesus were popular images produced by lesser artists. A second distinguishing feature of Christological developments arising in the 20th century was what might be called the cultural pluralism of Jesus images. The emergence of indigenous Christian churches in Africa and Asia brought about a rich variety of Jesus images and portrayals, virtually all of which were characterised by the convergence of biblical narrative and indigenous culture. In art today, things such as geometry or shapes have taken the place of Mary or Christ as the main focus.
Nemerous reasons, such as the rising popularity of scientific thought and decreasing loyalty for the Church, religion is no longer the main focus of art. Recent works of art in the past several years are not remotely related to religion, and even the ones that are no longer depict the usual images of Jesus or God. The last part of the 20th century and the first part of the 21st century have seen a focused effort by artists who claim faith in christ to re-establish art with themes that revolve around faith, Christ, God, the Church, the Bible and other classic Christian themes are worthy of respect by the secular art world. Artists such as Andres Serrano have had significant influence both in sacred and secular arts. Postmodern art often overlaps with Contemporary Art. Contemporary and postmodern art style encompass a number of different styles, all of which are distinctly different from others.
Conclusively, the purpose of this exhibition was to chronological express religion through a large variety of artworks. Both religion and art have been present since man could record history. The Medieval Age put them close together, the Renaissance began to force them apart, and today they have an uneasy relationship. However, through the years, Christianity has remained a solid, constant establishment from the beginning of its time. It is evident from these contrasting artworks throughout the exhibition that the relationship between religion and art has evolved dramatically over the last through years and has significantly influenced society. Art, once only used to praise God, but now it is more independent.
The relationship between religion and art continues to make an impact on society today by changing people’s perceptions of religion.