Monasteries helped in keeping and conserving art because of the high number of nuns and monks who served God though art. Monasteries became powerhouses for the artistic innovations during the early and middle ages of the Christian church. Religious houses were the centers of the best artworks. The artistic prowess became evident from the scribes who had the ability to illuminate text to make original pieces for the places of worship (Hislop 42-45). The illuminated pieces of artwork were not only decorative, but also made the audience develop layered meanings of the pieces.
According to Cannon (42), choir is one of the best innovations of the medieval times. The cathedrals had organized choirs, having a system of tonal variations during worship. Monastic musicians came up with a systematic notation to help singers. To date, the monastic musicians for use in church invented the musical notations in use during worship sessions. Such notations help the singers keep a common note at a given time. On the same note, monastic musicians also came up with plaint chart for a systematic choral scripture reading. As noted above, all the artistic styles at the monasteries have influenced the modern life.
Monasteries are sanctuaries of beauty and harmony as some of the attributes of God the Almighty. For several years, music and art have been used in order to help focus the mind and body. In addition, music helps in enhancing meditation and prayer across many languages and cultures. In many sacred settings, shared songs and chants are used to help focus the mind and achieve stillness during worship. According to the monasteries, art is an avenue that helps people appreciates the sacred, bringing them to a level where they recognize the awesomeness of God. For these reasons, it is clear that monasteries are the true keepers of the art.
Architecture marks all of the medieval cathedrals and the monasteries. Guy (74) notes that artistic monks became some of the best artists ever, coming up with glittering treasuries in the past. However, they were also known to use their wealth to fight poverty in the society. Works of art and architecture were the source of their wealth. The works of the art are a series of the manner in which the old monks dedicated their lives to the service of humanities. Some of the drawings show families kneeling before the Virgin Mary and the Child. This indicated a life total dedication and surrender to God.
The monastic settings required that the monks to produce books as a way of preserving meditations. Some of these old writings were considered sacred, helping others faithfully connect with the deity. In the cathedrals, the illuminations were illustrations that helped describe biblical events (Cannon 31). Musically, the manuscripts were large enough for the entire choir to see and sing along. Therefore, it is evident that sculptures and paintings were important monastic elements that helped in fostering devotion among the devotees.
Monasteries remain important sanctuaries that have helped in keeping art. The paintings helped in telling stories as well as creating devotion among the members. To date, paintings are pieces of art adopted by both secular and religious entities. Music is another monastic art that has been embraced by the modern society. The illuminations were necessary for the inscriptions of the scriptures and music for the choirs. Today, newer technologies are in place to display the songs; however, the original art remains monastic.
Cannon, Jon, Cathedral: The Great English Cathedrals and World that Made Them, 600-1540,
Guy, Christopher, Medieval painted and stained glass at Worcester Cathedral ET Priory, part I:
the cathedral, Vidimus, 2012.
Hislop, Malcolm, How to build a cathedral: constructing the story of a Medieval
masterpiece, London; New York: Bloomsbury, 201