Cathedral Art

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8:00am Morning Prayer
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
8:30am Eucharist
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Choral Evensong
5:30pm Cathedral closes

Cathedral Art

Throughout its history, art in St Paul's Cathedral has inspired and illuminated the Christian faith for those who visit, and provided a focus for reflection, meditation and contemplation.

St Paul’s Cathedral is home to a spectacular array of art; from the delicate carvings of Grinling Gibbons in the quire to Sir James Thornhill's dome murals, as well as the Victorian mosaics and Henry Moore's Mother and Child: Hood. The St Paul's Cathedral Visual Arts Programme seeks to explore the encounter between art and faith, offering a powerful and challenging context with which artists can engage. In recent times, a series of interventions by artists including Rebecca Horn, Yoko Ono, Antony Gormley and Bill Viola have further enriched the daily pattern of worship in the Cathedral.

Watch a short film created by HENI Talks about some of the art in St Paul's narrated by Sandy Nairne, former Director of the National Portrait Gallery and Chair of the St Paul's Fabric Advisory Committee. 

Sandy Nairne - Art & Soul at St Paul's Cathedral from HENI Talks on Vimeo.

Stations of Water - various  (2017)
As part of St Paul's Institute's International Cathedral project, JustWater, the Cathedral hosted a collection of nine contemporary artworks, collectively entitled Stations of Water. Stations of Water is modelled on the liturgy of the Stations of the Cross, with each piece inspired by water and related to themes such as religious rituals, access to clean drinking water, pollution, conservation, the privatisation of water, drought and global warming. Each Station is either a painting, sculpture, video, sound or light installation.
The Crucifixion, 1962 - FN Souza  (2017)
Renowned Indian artist FN Souza's vivid and overtly expressionistic depiction of The Crucifixion was displayed in St Paul’s in August as part of the UK India Year of Culture and was generously loaned by the Trustees of the Methodist Modern Art Collection. Souza’s religious paintings are notable for a quality of fearfulness and terrible grandeur. He painted The Crucifixion as a subject on a number of occasions, including his work of 1962, in which Christ hangs on the cross with two figures, probably St John and a disciple.
Ecce Homo - Mark Wallinger  (2017)
Mark Wallinger's life-sized sculpture of Jesus Christ, hands bound behind his back and wearing a crown of barbed wire, stood at the top of the west steps during Holy Week and Eastertide.

In partnership with Amnesty International and the Turner Prize winning artist, the Ecce Homo sculpture was the first to appear on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square in 1999. The collaboration sought to highlight the plight of all those currently in prison, suffering torture or facing execution because of their political, religious or other conscientiously-held beliefs. 

Tides - Pablo Genovés  (2017)
'Tides' was commissioned as part of the Cathedral's commitment to JustWater 2017. JustWater rightly provokes us into acknowledging water as essential to life and to the danger it also now exposes parts of the world to through 'climate injustice' - the human behaviours and political indifference that are affecting some of the poorest peoples of the world. This reality resonates with the Christian tradition where water can be seen as a chaotic and destructive force but also, in tune with God’s Spirit and a responsive community, the source of new life. The four works are exciting and disturbing, revealing what would happen to St Paul's if what is currently happening to many communities around the world were to happen in our own locality. 
Mary - Bill Viola  (2016-)
The second permanent large-scale installation here by the internationally-acclaimed artist, Mary has been conceived as a companion piece to Martyrs (Earth, Air, Fire, Water) which was unveiled in the South Quire Aisle of the cathedral in 2014. These installations are the first moving-image artworks to be installed in a cathedral in Britain on a long-term basis.
L'étoile dans son étable de lumiere - Ian Hamilton Finlay (2016-2017)

This poem in neon was composed by the Scottish poet and artist Ian Hamilton Finlay for Christmas 1976. It was originally conceived as a Christmas card but was turned into a larger art object, the words becoming physical, composed as if in the artist’s own hand. Finlay developed a variety of creative forms to celebrate the sustaining power of words in this way. The work was displayed for Christmas 2016 in a visual relationship with the cathedral's traditional, carved, nativity scene. The work was borrowed from the Estate of Ian Hamilton Finlay and sponsored by the Victoria Miro Gallery.

Martyrs - Bill Viola (2014-)

Created by Bill Viola and Kira Perov and opened in May 2014, Martyrs shows four individuals, across four colour vertical plasma screens, being martyred by the four classical elements. The work has no sound. It lasts for seven minutes. Martyrs was joined in 2016 by a second piece entitled Mary. The installations have been gifted to Tate, and are on long-term loan to St Paul’s Cathedral.

Commemorative Crosses - Gerry Judah
Commemorative Crosses - Gerry Judah (2014 -)
As part of the Cathedral's commemoration to the Great War, two white cruciform sculptures, each over six metres high have been installed at the head of the nave. The twin sculptures, by London artist Gerry Judah, recall in their shape and colour the thousands of white crosses placed in the war cemeteries across the world. On the arms of the cross are intricate models of contemporary and historical settlements decimated by conflict – such as we see daily in the news. Bearing the shells of bombed out residential blocks, Judah's crosses bring to mind the horrors of total war.


All the World is now Richer - Sokari Douglas Camp All the World is now Richer - Sokari Douglas Camp (2014)
Six life-sized steel figures representing successive stages of the slavery story, were installed inside the West doors. This work, by renowned African artist Sokari Douglas Camp CBE, was inspired by the words of liberated ex-slave William Prescott: "They will remember that we were sold but they won’t remember that we were strong; they will remember that we were bought but not that we were brave.” The installation commemorates the abolition of slavery but also the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr preaching at the Cathedral.


Sorry, Sorry Sarajevo - Nicola Hicks
Sorry, Sorry Sarajevo - Nicola Hicks (2013 - 2014)
A life size bronze sculpture of a man holding another man, dead or badly injured, in his arms. Created by acclaimed artist, Nicola Hicks, the work was made in 1993, at the height of the Bosnian War, since when it has serve as a reminder that brutal warfare has continued to rage around the world. The sculpture is situated at the east of the Cathedral in the Dean’s Aisle, directly opposite Henry Moore’s 1983 sculpture, Mother and Child. This juxtaposition allows people to reflect both on the beauty of birth and relationships, and on the horror of war, murder and bereavement.


Perspectives - John Pawson
Perspectives - John Pawson (2011 - 2012)
As part of the Cathedral's tercentenary celebrations, the London Design Festival invited John Pawson to present a remarkable installation which referenced Sir Christopher Wren's desire that his buildings should have a scientific purpose. The installation, entitled Perspectives, designed in collaboration with Swarovski, was located within the Geometric Staircase.There was a good precedent for this idea of using the architecture as an optical instrument, since Wren used a similar chamber in The Monument as an observatory.


Remembrance Day Poppy Installation - Ted Harrison
Remembrance Day Poppy Installation - Ted Harrison (2011)
Over 5,000 poppies were scattered under the dome of St Paul’s in an art installation on Remembrance Day. From ground level the poppies appear to have fallen randomly, but when viewed from the Whispering Gallery the poppies form an image of three child soldiers; one from the First World War and two from more recent conflicts. The 30 foot wide installation created by artist Ted Harrison highlighted the involvement of children in war. 


Mannheim Altarpiece - Mark Alexander Red Mannheim - Mark Alexander (2010)
St Paul's chose two new works by the British artist Mark Alexander to be hung either side of the nave. Both entitled Red Mannheim, Alexander's large red silkscreens were inspired by the Mannheim Cathedral altarpiece, which was damaged by bombing in WW2. The original sculpture depicts Christ on the cross. Rendered in splendid giltwood, with Christ's wracked body sculpted in relief, and the flourishes of flora and incandescent rays from heaven, this masterpiece of the German Rococo was an object of ravishing beauty and intense piety.


Being Untouchable – Marcus Perkins 'Being Untouchable' - Marcus Perkins (2011)
An exhibition of photography, presenting rare and intimate portraits of the lives of Indian Dalits, or ‘untouchables’, for the charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide, was shown in the north quire aisle. 


Flare II - Antony Gormley Flare II - Anthony Gormley (2010)
This dramatic sculpture by Antony Gormley, was installed in the Geometric Staircase in April 2010. The artist said of the installation: ‘Wren understood proportion, space and gravitational dynamics as no other British architect of his time and the Geometric Staircase is a supreme and elegant outcome of this understanding. "Flare II" is my attempt to use applied geometry to construct an energy field describing a human space in space. I am delighted to have the opportunity to show this work in such a brilliant and relevant context.’


The Question mark Inside - Martin Firrell The Question Mark Inside - Martin Firrell (2008)
What makes your life worth living? The artist Martin Firell posed that question as part of an art work to celebrate the three hundredth anniversary of the Cathedral. The public were invited to submit their responses and the artist interviewed leading thinkers for their opinions. The results of the survey were projected onto the exterior of the Cathedral dome and made visible across London for one week. The probing question drew punchy answers; some were funny, some profound, some were commonplace and some politically challenging. All were beamed in giant letters on a blue background.


Morning Beams - Yoko Ono Morning Beams / River of Life / Wish Tree - Yoko Ono (2006)
St Paul’s Cathedral is an exceptionally light building; clear windows and reflective walls create a noticeably bright interior. The building is also home to a famous painting The Light of the World by William Holman Hunt. Playing with the idea of a physical body symbolising light, Yoko Ono installed an engaging installation using many ropes attached to the Cathedral to create the illusion of shafts of light emanating from a natural source. Visitors were encouraged to explore between the beams and interact with the artwork.


The Nativity, The Public Ministry, The Crucifixion, Resurrection - Sergei Chepik The Nativity, The Public Ministry, The Crucifixion, Resurrection - Sergei Chepik (2005 - 2007)
2005 saw the installation of four monumental paintings by Sergei Chepik, designed for the pillars to left and right of the Nave. Panel 1: Nativity, Virgin and Child. Panel II: The Public Ministry, The Baptism. Panel III: The Crucifixion, The Judgement. Panel IV: The Resurrection. The commission was undertaken in partnership with the Catto Gallery.


Moon Mirror – Rebecca Horn Moon Mirror – Rebecca Horn (2005)
A mixed-media sculpture installed in the west end of the cathedral, was shown as an extension of the Hayward Gallery’s retrospective for German artist, Rebacca Horn. The piece consisted of a revolving mirror, set inside a static one, creating the illusion of gazing deep into a well. Looking up, the viewer sees a moon, with fires flaring on its surface, suspended from the cathedral's ceiling. The whole is accompanied by Rebecca Horn’s poem, arranged for choral performance by composer Hayden Chisholm.