Sunday, 14 December 2008

Ten theological theses on art

I was talking the other day about art with the delightful and incomparable Oliver Crisp (who went to art school before he studied theology). So here’s my attempt at ten brief theses on art (with a picture below of one of my favourite paintings in New York – Picasso’s 1936 Girl Asleep at a Table):

  1. Art is not a representation of the world or an expression of feeling, but a construction of form
  2. Nature is flawed; art is more perfect than nature
  3. Art is therefore a parable of the redemption of the world
  4. Art is tradition; it opens the future by renewing the past
  5. Art is the occurrence of the new; metaphysics trails in art’s wake
  6. Art may be true or good to the extent that it seeks only the beautiful
  7. Didacticism is therefore the enemy of art. Bad art is not harmless; it is a betrayal of the world, violence against beauty
  8. Beauty in art can take form as grotesqueness, fragmentation and dissonance
  9. The beauty of grotesqueness, fragmentation and dissonance has a special proximity to a Christian theology of the cross
  10. God is beauty; the crucified Christ is the beauty of God


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