Lo & Behold is a virtual art gallery, made up of biblical images found in Catholic churches across the UK.
On this site, you’ll find a growing collection of 100 scenes from the Old Testament, and 100 from the New. All of the images are of paintings, sculptures, stained glass and mosaics installed in Catholic churches across England, Wales and Scotland.
Each image will come with a short commentary on the biblical story and will signpost you to where you can see the work of art in person, as well as the relevant passage from Scripture.
This resource is open to art lovers everywhere and is designed to raise awareness of the beautiful biblical art that is available to see in Catholic churches across the country. Within churches new and old, you’ll find pieces that represent various art movements – Arts and Crafts, Gothic Revival, Modernism and Postmodernism, to name a few.
For much of Christian history, Church art was considered an effective way to help people to better understand the message of the Bible. In today’s digital culture, saturated with snaps and selfies, images are an even more important means of communication. Given this, social media seemed to be a perfect place to showcase some of the great religious art that exists around almost every corner.
This site brings together much of this art in a systematic way. If you’d like to explore the art in a way that is more linked to the Church’s cycle of feasts and fasts, I invite you to follow Lo & Behold on Instagram or on Tumblr. For larger versions of the images on this site, you can also check out Lo & Behold on Flickr.
Of course, many beautiful works of Christian art exist beyond the Catholic tradition. In the UK, for example, we’re blessed with many beautiful Anglican churches and cathedrals – many of which feature exquisite stained glass, mosaics and statues. It’s also true that Catholic churches contain many meaningful works of art that are not directly based on the Bible, such as images of later saints.
However, I had to focus on something to begin with. As a Catholic with an interest in Scripture, I decided to focus my efforts on curating some of the best examples of biblical art from within my own tradition. Perhaps with more time I can extend the brief!
It’s my hope that in contemplating some of these images, you’ll be tempted to call in to some of these churches and cathedrals to see the works in person. Many are open in the daytime; others are only open for services. As I’ve discovered, it’s best to check ahead of time! You can explore locations using the interactive map, which draws attention to particular churches worth seeing across the country.
(Feel free to look me up on Twitter)