We’ve tried to explain elsewhere that religion without a metaphysics or a living esoteric element will tend to reduce itself exclusively to the moral point of view and may sooner or later even identify its doctrine with morality plain and simple. This is because, as said elsewhere, the exoteric element in a religion stresses merit over contemplation. When this happens, the use of art also shifts from something that conveys intellectual content to something that “inspires” action of a certain kind. In other words, it shifts to order of sentiment and emotion with the aim of motivating virtuous acts. That is not to say that morality or virtue do not come into play in traditional art, only that the relationship is somewhat reversed, so that we do not find “art in the service of morality” but rather “asceticism in the service of art” and all for the sake of contemplative ends. And this is the meaning behind the fasting of icon painters before going to work, and the Hindu yantra.