Friday, February 4, 2011

A Simple Theology of Beauty

 An artist must have the conception of what he intends to make within himself, be it a picture, carving, music or anything else, it must be there in his own mind complete.  The making of it in paint or stone or wood or sound is a little image of the Incarnation, the "Word made flesh."  When it is made, its validity as a work of art depends upon whether others recognize in it the expression of something that is inarticulate in themselves.

-- Caryll Houselander (above), from an upublished speech to the Catholic Evidence Guild

I found this remarkable little picture book on the $.25 table at the library.  An excerpt:

An artist is like God, but small.
He can't see out of God's creation, for it includes him. . . .
An artist spends his life not only wondering,
but wanting to work like God with what he can command:
his paints.
He tries go copy God's creations.
He tries to shape beauty with his hand.
He tries to make order out of nature . . . . 
An artist is like God
as God created him. . . . 
he tries to make paint sing.

13 comments:

Enbrethiliel said...

+JMJ+

Just when I thought nothing would top the first line of that poem . . . I came to the last line. Brilliant!

Pentimento said...

There's some great stuff in the middle too that I left out. A real gem of a book.

Emily J. said...

What a happy find! Are the pictures as evocative as the text?

Pentimento said...

The pictures are very simple watercolor drawings of an old artist with a white beard painting en plein air. I'd say the text is the stand-out thing.

Pentimento said...

Have a look here at her "open books": some are quite wonderful.

http://mbgoffstein.com/OpenBooks.htm

Rodak said...

Where's the "like" button?

elena maria vidal said...

I was thinking the same thing, Rodak!

GretchenJoanna said...

Some of Goffstein's books are in our Favorites collection, like Fish for Supper and Sleepy People, and A Little Schubert (I suspect you would love that one, Pentimento). But my all-time favorite is Goldie the Dollmaker, which taught me a lot about my self, art, and--this surprised me--homemaking.

Pentimento said...

Thank you for the tip, GretchenJoanna. I looked at my library's web catalogue and saw that they have many of her books, so I'm going to start checking them out.

Tertium Quid said...

I wish I could write simple but beautiful posts like this one. Blessings, TQ

Pentimento said...

I think the reason it's so simple and beautiful is that I didn't really write it, just quoted from better sources than I.

dleeo said...

@Pentimento, thank you for posting the poems pertaining to artists. I especially like the line "he tries to make paint sing." I also enjoy reading your pieces over at Vox Nova. Take care:)

Pentimento said...

Thank you, dleeo.