Religious Symbols and Their Meaning

Dog Barking at the Moon Joan Miro Phiadelphia Museum of Art

Dog Barking at the Moon
Joan Miro
Philadelphia Museum of Art

There is a language

  • For the experience of art
  • That reveals the inward reality of art
  • That has the potential for moving our soul



While symbols can be national, commercial and personal, it is religious images to which we will be directing our attention. Along with being able to recognize whom or what  the artist wants us to recognize we are able to enter the experience of faith. Paul Tillich in his work Dynamics of Faith states

“that a symbol points beyond itself and invites us to that to which it points.”

Reading the clues

Symbols challenge the viewer

  • to see nothing in the visual arts as irrelevant
  • to see the image as a whole
  • to ask what is the theological meaning in the visual arts