Hallelujah! Why Bill Viola’s Martyrs altarpiece at St Paul’s is to die for

Forget the bloody martyrdoms and hot pincers … Viola’s glorious new video installation is a hi-tech Caravaggio that redefines religious art.

Bill Viola has created a powerful modern altarpiece for St Paul’s Cathedral that perfectly suits the restrained spirituality of this most English of churches.

Coming into Christopher Wren’s great building on a weekday morning when crowded buses surround this London icon, you notice how ascetic its atmosphere is. Greek mosaics and the perfect geometry of a dome that suggests the clockwork universe of Wren’s contemporary Isaac Newton make St Paul’s a place of cool, even philosophical, prayer.

Watch the video!

 

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