This initiative is part of our Art and Religion designated research strand, which is generously supported by Howard and Roberta Ahmanson. The first network, for faith community leaders and theologians, is the Interfaith Sacred Art Forum. The second, for curators and art historians, is the Sacred Art in Collections pre-1900 Network. Each year, both networks focus on a theme and two paintings in our collection as a foundation for wide-ranging events and activities that make new connections with sacred art, interfaith dialogue, and public life.
The 2021–22 theme is Crossing Borders and the two paintings are 'The Finding of Moses' (early 1630s) and 'The Rest on the Flight into Egypt' (c.1620), both of which were painted by Orazio Gentileschi. 'The Rest on the Flight into Egypt' has been on loan to us from Birmingham Museums Trust for the duration of the project and emphasises the importance that we place on partnerships with regional museums.
In 2022–23, the theme is The Art of Creation and the three paintings, around which conversations and activities will be based, are: Rachel Ruysch’s 'Flowers in a Vase' (1685), Claude Monet’s 'Flood Waters' (1896) and Van Gogh’s 'Long Grass with Butterflies' (1890).