John Paul the Great was known as an artist - actor, playwright, and poet - and a great supporter of the arts. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, may not strike some as such an artist, yet he plays classical piano... and he says things like this toward the end of Verbum Domini:
"The relationship between the word of God and culture has found expression in many areas, especially in the arts... for example the figurative arts and architecture, literature and music." He goes on to express the great value in art. Art supports "decoration of our churches, to the celebration of our faith, to the enrichment of our liturgy..." and makes "somehow perceptible, in time and space, realities that are unseen and eternal."
Art helps us see the unseen.
In his Letter to Artists, Blessed John Paul II said that "Art must make perceptible, and as far as possible attractive, the world of the spirit, of the invisible, of God. It must therefore translate into meaningful terms that which is in itself
ineffable." In her article, The Church Needs Art, Tara Stone discusses briefly how artists can make that world more perceptible. (She follows on by quoting from JPII asking "Does Art Need the Church?")
Want to explore some of the great art and literature of the Christian world? Consider following the new Christian Shakespeare blog. Read great works of literature with accompanying commentary with Ignatius Critical Editions.
You can explore a panoramic view of the Sistine Chapel ceiling online, or peruse some of the Vatican Museum. (In particular, check out their "not to be missed works".)