BLOOD TEARS FAITH DOUBT, Historical and Contemporary Encounters draws parallels between works of art from the 15th century to the present day to address themes of suffering, compassion, devotion and belief. It juxtaposes works to provoke an emotive response and to emphasise the continuing power of religious imagery, even in the secular context of the art gallery. This thought-provoking exhibition brings together painting, sculpture, works on paper, photography and decorative arts, and has been curated by students on The Courtauld Institute of Art’s MA programme Curating the Art Museum. Drawn from The Courtauld Gallery and the Arts Council Collection, it includes, among others, Old Masters Polidoro da Caravaggio and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, and contemporary artists Adam Chodzko, Siobhán Hapaska, and Grayson Perry.
BLOOD TEARS FAITH DOUBT stages two encounters: between the works themselves, sparking dialogue between images of striking or surprising similarity; and between the works and the beholder, whose engagement and empathy with the subject and its portrayal remains central to the enduring power of religious art. The exhibition unites works from the Western tradition of Christian art and contemporary works that resonate with that tradition. It explores how these images were used and viewed historically, and considers whether their appropriation in contemporary art can evoke the same intensity of emotion as they did in the past.