It is rare for me to read an editorial of the Tablet with enthusiasm (and I thank Edmund Adamus for pointing this out). But this editorial on Beauty pointing the way to God strikes me as very good.
My regular reader will recall my fumbling attempts to grope my way to some sort of understanding of the importance of aesthetics - and particularly the claim that one can make objective evaluations of the quality of art- which culminated here.
But the Tablet leader reminded me of something else, tangentially related, and that is the effect of holiness on artists. I am not really qualified to talk about the effect on visual artists of painting Madonnas etc, nor even the effect of musicians of composing Masses and sacred music. I am sure my enlightened, educated an esteemed readership will be able to contribute examples.
But I have been struck by the way in which writers, normally unsympathetic to the Church, have been moved to write very sympathetically and often with great insight, when they come to address holy themes - or holy people.
A few examples spring to mind. Anouilh and l'Alouette (The Lark) his play about St Joan of Arc; and Robert Bolt, with A Man for all Seasons. Even the Python team, who had intended to write a pastiche of the Life of Our Lord; when they read the Gospels, they realised that they did not want to mock Christ, so they invented Brian, a separate character caught up in the turbulent religious and political complexities of the time.
We (or at least, I) often think about the ennobling effect of art on the viewer or listener; but perhaps we (or at least, I) have not thought enough about the effect on the artist.
Thoughts for Lent from Father Willie Doyle (d. 1917) - “The path of life is rough and stony. Sharp flints and hidden thorns are thickly strewn upon its surface, wounding our weary feet as we toil ever onwards a...
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