The Theosophical
Society in Australia

Blavatsky Lodge Sydney

The Blavatsky Lodge

Suite 8, 599 Pacific Highway, St Leonards NSW

Signs and Symbols in Religious Art

Public talk, 1.00 - 2.00 pm, 5 December 2018.

Featured Speaker:Robijn Alexanda
Venue:The Blavatsky Lodge

want to learn more about the christian festival just in the nick of time?

About the Presentation

Art and faith aims to integrate the known and the unknown. Both have the paradox of being handed down in a living tradition and must be also known and felt as a new experience. The common challenge to all religious art is of visualising and portraying something which by definition is invisible, intangible and beyond human comprehension.

Christmas is marked on the 25 December (7 January for Orthodox Christians). A holy day that marks the birth of Jesus, the son of God. For well over a thousand years the Catholic Church was the most lavish patron of art in the West. Most visual images were drawn from the New Testament, particularly portrayals of the early life of Christ.

Jesus' birth, known as the nativity, is described in the New Testament of the Bible though the Gospels of Matthew and Luke give different accounts. It is from them that the nativity story is pieced together. The Gospels do not mention the date of Jesus' birth. It was not until the 4th century AD that Pope Julius I set 25 December as the date for Christmas. This was an attempt to Christianise the Pagan celebrations that already took place at this time of year. By 529, 25 December had become a civil holiday and by 567 the twelve days from 25 December to the Epiphany were public holidays.

Christmas is not only a Christian festival. The celebration has roots in the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah, the festivals of the ancient Greeks, the beliefs of the Druids and the folk customs of Europe. Christmas comes just after the middle of winter. The sun is strengthening and the days are beginning to grow longer. For people throughout history this has been a time of feasting and celebration.

About the Presenter

In the 1970s Robijn Z Alexanda was employed to document religious restoration projects in Nepal, and this led to other projects in India and Afghanistan. Robijn studied Asian Art and Religions at the University of British Columbia in Canada and was awarded scholarships to study in India. In Australia Robijn worked at the Australian National Gallery in Canberra on several Asian Art exhibitions and has presented numerous talks. In addition, Robijn has led art tours related to religious art, including Art in the Churches and A Look at Mosques, Temples and Wats.

Cost $3 members $6 non-members

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