Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Restless for Good Art"

If this is the dynamic of art—reaching into reality, being changed by it, and revealing that transformative truth to others—then we can understand why books, films, or paintings that only serve as a vehicle for spreading an idea fail as art. Formally speaking, they are more akin to propaganda, even if they use the material of art. . . . Making a movie because I want more people to acknowledge St. Augustine as the greatest doctor of the Latin Church may be laudable catechesis, but it won’t turn into art. 

A pithy analysis of why self-consciously Catholic art is so often bad.


Anne-Marie said...

Dorothy Sayers makes much the same point in her introduction to The Man Born to be King, her radio play cycle of the life of Christ. She goes so far as to say that "in writing a play on this particular subject, the dramatist must begin by ridding himself of all edificatory and theological intentions." And later on, "The idea that religious plays are not to be judged by the proper standard of drama derives from a narrow and lop-sided theology which will not allow that all truth--including the artist's truth--is in Christ, but persists in excluding the Lord of Truth from His own dominions."

Pentimento said...

I think we would all do well to recognize all beauty as reflecting the Divine Form, since "by their fruits will you know them."