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Art & Soul at St Paul's Cathedral

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Art, for me, is a process of trying to wake up the soul... because we live in an industrialized, fast-paced world that prefers that the soul remain asleep.

    --- Bill Viola, artist.

How does art 'wake up the soul'? There is perhaps no better place to explore this theme than St Paul's Cathedral in the City of London. Art historian Sandy Nairne walks through the architecture of Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece, pointing out how artists have responded to the sanctity of this historic space. He describes how early commissions by the Cathedral aimed to sustain belief in Christian worshippers, and how modern and contemporary artists including Henry Moore, Bill Viola and Mark Wallinger, have tried to express spirituality in a more secular age. In a building which receives international visitors of many faiths, the art of St Paul's has the capacity to stir emotions in whoever takes a moment to look.

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Sandy Nairne is a writer and curator based in London, and until 2015 was Director of the National Portrait Gallery. He has previously worked at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Arts Council and as one of two deputy directors at Tate.

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