Religion & the Arts

Especially since religion and the arts deal with a similar domain - the representation and even illustration of the invisible - they are frequently engaged in demarcating themselves from each other. Religions can be hostile towards images and icons: Aniconism, iconoclasm and the interdiction of image to name only three keywords. The arts, on the other hand, often struggle to emancipate themselves from religious paternalism. At the same time, cultural history is full of strong supra-regional interactions between religion and the arts, and sometimes even symbotic phenomenas arise such as the sacralisation of art in art-as-religion (Kunstreligion).

This focus area in CERES is dedicated to the different relationships between religion and the arts. The research in this area focuses on how different media, for example pictures/images, texts, and architectural figures relate to each other in a religious field.

Current Projects

Research Focus "Missionary Collections"

CERES researchers, together with colleagues from museums and other universities, are studying the material dimension of cultural and religious contacts …

Completed Projects


Digitization of Gandhāran Art

The DiGA project will digitize (2D and 3D) and catalogue a corpus of 1,791 Buddhist sculptures from Gandhara currently kept …

Dynamics of Text Corpora and Image Programs

Representations of Buddhist Narratives along the Silk Route

The network of long distance trade routes through Central Asia designated by Ferdinand von Richthofen as "Silk Road" have provided …

Iconic Religion

How Imaginaries of Religious Encounter Structure Urban Space

Within ongoing processes of religious pluralisation across Europe, materialized religion, in the form of icons in public space, has been …

Linked Data Methodologies in Gandhāran Buddhist Art and Texts

The working group brings together scholars, curators, and Digital Humanities specialists around the theme of Linked Data Methodologies applied to …

Pictorial Reception of Myths in the Middle Ages and the Art-Historiographical Discourse about Epochs

This project intends to analyse a fundamental explanatory model of modern art historiography, to investigate its validity and to discuss …


Transformations of Sacredness: Religious Architecture in Urban Space in 21st Century Germany

The project is a collaboration between CERES and the Chair for the History and Theory of Architecture at the Technical …

Teaching-Learning-Project: Between Iconophily and Iconoclasm

On the Role of Images in Religion and Society

This teaching-learning-project studies the objections towards images in different cultural and religious contexts, reaching from a reflected criticism to violent …


Photograph of Prof. Dr. Volkhard Krech

Prof. Dr. Volkhard Krech


Universitätsstr. 90a
44789  Bochum
Office 3.12
+49 234 32-22395
Photograph of Dr. Martin Radermacher

Dr. Martin Radermacher


Universitätsstr. 90a
44789  Bochum
Office 3.13
+49 234 32-24697