Wondering Soul: world renowned modern art collection

One of Britain’s most important collections of modern religious art is coming to Leicester. Thanks to a joint project between the Church of England’s Leicester Cathedral and the Methodist church, the Methodist Modern Art Collection will be on display at 5 venues across Leicestershire from May 2 until June 9 2019 and will be accompanied by a month long programme of exciting creative events.

This unique collection of art featuring biblical themes and narrative has toured the UK and abroad since its inception over 50 years ago. There are over 45 works, including some by well-known artists such as Graham Sutherland, Elisabeth Frink, William Roberts, Patrick Heron and most recently Maggi Hambling. Most of the pictures depict scenes from the life and teaching of Christ including ‘Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem’ by Norman Adams and ‘The Washing of the Feet’ by Ghislaine Howard. Some artists were or are Christians, others not.

[Pink Crucifixion/Craigie Aitchison] from the Methodist Modern Art Collection, © TMCP, used with permission.
Venues for the exhibition are: Leicester Cathedral, Bishop Street Methodist Church, St Nicholas Church, St Andrew’s Church all in Leicester city and Launde Abbey.

The exhibition is free to visit and open 7 days a week. Special arrangements can be made for groups to see the collection with an expert guide by contacting us via our website www.wonderingsoul.co.uk

The Revd Fran Rhys, of Bishop Street Methodist Church, Leicester, commented: “I’ve known about the Methodist Modern Art Collection for 20 years and feel proud that the Methodist Church in Britain has this collection of paintings, which constitutes the largest modern Christian art collection outside the Vatican and which travels to many different venues around the country and overseas as well.

“It’s an opportunity for those who are already Christians to re-examine their faith and hopefully to gain new and deeper insights from the artworks and for others to enjoy some fantastic art which may well raise deeper questions for them, whatever their faith or none.”

It will be the latest in a series of popular and high-profile exhibitions that have been hosted inside Leicester Cathedral during the last year.

Arabella Doorman’s Suspended, which was hung in the Cathedral in the summer 2018 and Luke Jerram’s Museum of the Moon in March 2018 both attracted a large number of visitors from Leicester and beyond.

In addition to the exhibition, there will also be a programme of exciting creative events, including workshops, talks, artist residencies and a county-wide poetry project.

Dean of Leicester, The Very Revd David Monteith, said: “In a visual age, art can communicate and touch our souls beyond words. We want to wonder together about how these paintings might change us or help us see ourselves, our world or even God differently.  It’s free and everyone is welcome.”

The exhibition is being curated by Bethany Piggott, whose post has been funded jointly by the Methodist Church, Leicester Cathedral and the Church of England (CofE)’s Leicester Diocese Growth Fund.

Jonathan Kerry, Chief Executive and Secretary for the CofE Diocese of Leicester and Cathedral Administrator, said “Not only is this a fabulous collection of paintings that will fascinate anyone who sees them, but we are very excited about the programme of talks, events and activities for all ages that will take place alongside the exhibition.”