Cathedral Art

History
Today at the Cathedral View More
7:30am Morning Prayer
8:00am Eucharist
8:30am Doors open for sightseeing
12:30pm Eucharist
4:00pm Last entry for sightseeing
5:00pm Choral Evensong
8:00pm CoLF: Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment

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.

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.