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Renata Rogozińska

University of Arts in Poznań

Abstract:

The text attempts to answer the question of whether, and to what extent, sacralisation of landscape is justified on Christian grounds, and whether religious and landscape art can be equated in status, as Jerzy Nowosielski proposed. The idea of sacralisation of nature is closer to the Eastern Orthodox Church, with its tendency to divinize man, or even (considering some comments) the whole of created reality. However, the author’s attention is focused on Catholic thought, based on Thomism and Scholasticism. The questions discussed are: to what degree, according to St Thomas Aquinas’ teaching, nature participates in God’s sanctity; what indeed nature’s sacrality is; and, hence, in what sense, from the point of view of the Church, landscape art can claim to transcend the limits of physicality and to visualize the supernatural character of being. Thomas Aquinas’ views on the mutual relation between God and the world, art and nature, are confronted with the Neo-Platonic philosophy, in order to highlight their specificity and uniqueness.

Currently, the Church’s teaching on the relation between God and the world in fact conforms to the long tradition of treating the created reality as a sign, indicating its Creator, imbued with the power, good, and beauty of the spiritual world. The Church, while emphasizing a strong connection between God and nature, still accentuates God’s transcendence, being aware of the lasting tension between the sacred and the profane. On the other hand, nowadays, in the teaching of the Church, the long tradition of stressing the aspect of God’s transcendence is counterbalanced by the emphasis on God’s immanence. Opposing cosmic pessimism, which proclaims lack of any general sense to the universe, the Church has begun to underline the sacramental nature of the world. According to certain theologians, we could even speak of an ontological co-dependence of both realities; however, this claim does not contribute to the “Pantheization” or “Neo-Platonization” of Christianity.

Keywords: Christianity, Catholic Church, God, the sacred, St Thomas Aquinas, Neo-Platonism

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