The Art of Worship – Chichester

03rd February 2022

Visitors to Chichester Cathedral can get a glimpse behind the scenes of a busy working artists’ studio with the launch of The Art of Worship.

Chichester Cathedral – an innovative artist residency right in the heart of the 940 year-old place of worship. The Art of Worship.

The residency sees leading British liturgical artists Martin Earle and James Blackstone making their artistic home within a custom-built studio in the Cathedral’s North Transept until March 2022.

Martin Earle will be at work on a crucifix for the Beda College in Rome and James Blackstone will be making a mosaic of St Dominic for Chichester Cathedral.

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The project has been developed with celebrated liturgical artist Aidan Hart and it is hoped the residency could lead to the establishment of a school for the specialist liturgical arts at Chichester.

Accompanying the residency will be a lecture series from James Blackstone on the spiritual senses and liturgical art and a study day with the three artists and the Cathedral’s Canon Chancellor, the Reverend Dr Daniel Inman, exploring the theology and process of commissioning liturgical art.

There will also be a week-long event focusing on the practice of iconography for third-year students from The Prince’s Foundation School of Traditional Arts in London, led by Aidan Hart.

All three artists use the same techniques used by some of the early cathedral builders -egg tempera, fresco, water gilding, carving, and hand-cut glass mosaic – and visitors to the Cathedral will be invited to observe these timeless, intricate techniques in the setting of this busy working studio.

Chichester Cathedral has a long history of seeking the face of God in visual form, from the twelfth century Chichester Reliefs, the murals of Lambert Barnard in the sixteenth century, through to the contemporary work of artists Ursula Benker-Schirmer, John Piper and Graham Sutherland.

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The Dean of Chichester, the Very Revd Stephen Waine, said:

“We are thrilled to be hosting these widely celebrated artists at the Cathedral.

“Our hope is for this residency to explore the development of a long-term school for specialist liturgical arts at Chichester Cathedral.

Rowan Williams writes: Christian art in its origins, is not about decorative extras or helpful illustrations of stories and doctrines; it is itself a sort of enacting of faith, a means by which we are brought more fully into the mystery being celebrated. We look forward to inviting you to accompany us on a journey of exploration,’ he added.

Check out visiting times and more here.