SYMBOLISM, as it relates to religious art, has too long been of an esoteric nature, reflecting the nineteenth century thinking when symbols were regarded as based on immutable canons of archeological fantasy. Even in the recent past, symbolism has been shrouded in the receding fog of Victorian pomposity which had kept religious art and architecture from developing along normal lines and symbolism from expressing any conduced symbolism to a dead parody of that rich imagery to befound in the Old and the New Testaments.
It is ironic to reflect on the paradox that the moment religious art became an archeological pastime the teaching of the Middle Ages--of which the proponents of this archeological pastime claimed direct parentage -- was distorted and religious art lost its power to instruct the most humble among the faithful.
Artists and architects have often sought to solve their problems in symbolism through an unimaginative use of fanciful drawings having but a shadowy relationship to the truth to be portrayed. Symbols do not necessarily copy natural objects but express visually a truth for which many words would be required. In the explanation of each symbol illustrated in this book, the authors give us a hint of its meaning and source material for