Undergraduate Degree



DD8008 Faith and Art

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: Nil; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 AU

Course Description

Learning Objective

Students will learn how art has given visual expression to inner belief and vice versa throughout the history of humanity. Students will understand the language and power of art through an exploration of the spiritual messages derived from different cultures, geographies and histories.


This course is designed to situate art and artists in a number of diverse spiritual contexts and in so doing allow students to explore art history through a variety of human beliefs. This will include, but is not limited to: the rituals of worship, sacred spaces, divine objects, images of magic, illuminated manuscripts and so on. For example, case studies will: demonstrate how stained glass windows tell us biblical stories; ask what kind of secrets the faceless Venus of the Stone Age hides from us; suggest which tunes Islamic calligraphy ‘sings’ to our eyes; analyse what Jocho’s Amida Buddha has been telling us throughout the centuries, and much more.

Course Outline




• Introduction: Faith and Art, Prehistoric Religions, Shamanism, Animism, African Tribal Religions

2 - 6

• Ancient Near Eastern, Greek and Roman Religions, Maya, Inca, Aztec Religions, Egyptian Mythology, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, Jainism, Shintoism


• Recess Week

8 - 12

• Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam


• Sikhism, Baha’i, neo-Paganism Conclusion: Interfaith and Art

Learning Outcome

At the end of the course students will have moved a little closer to knowing and appreciating the art and culture of the major faiths which are being practiced globally, and indeed, locally. Either real or virtual (as an e-learning component) field trips to the different places of worship in Singapore will be organized where relevant.

Student Assessment

  1. Class Participation: 15%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 85%

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Conference Presentation

  • Essay Writings

  • Mid-Term Exam


A course package will be uploaded to Edventure (selected articles, book chapters, interviews, documentaries on the topic of religion and religious art)

  1. Leslie D. Ross, Art and Architecture of the World’s Religions, Greenwood Press, Oxford, 2009.

  2. Marita Sturken, Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture, Oxford University Press, 2009.

  3. Richard Lewis & Susan I. Lewis, Power of Art, Wadsworth, 2010.

  4. David Morgan, The Sacred Gaze: Religious Visual Culture in Theory and Practice, University of California Press, 2005.