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Psicologia: Reflexão e Crítica

Print version ISSN 0102-7972On-line version ISSN 1678-7153


PAIVA, Geraldo José de et al. Religious experience and aesthetic experience in plastic artists: perspectives from the psychology of religion. Psicol. Reflex. Crit. [online]. 2004, vol.17, n.2, pp.223-232. ISSN 0102-7972.

Can aesthetic experience replace religious experience? Researchers are quite divided about this issue. From a conceptual and epistemological framework that distinguishes between substantive and functional religion, we formulated the hypothesis that there is not a substantive replacement, but there can be a functional replacement of religious experience by an aesthetic experience. We also considered the additional hypothesis that aesthetic experience can be an experience of the sacred. The hypotheses were examined with the help of interviews with eight well known Brazilian artists, by the time of the 23rd Biennial International Exhibition of Arts of São Paulo, 1996. The data revealed differences, continuities, and analogies between art and religion and between art and the sacred, that allowed to identify in some cases a functional replacement of religion by art, especially if art was endowed with the density of the sacred.

Keywords : Aesthetics; psychology of religion; religious experience; the sacred.

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