February 16, 2017

THUS OUR ANTI-INTELLECTUALISM:

ART, DIVINE AND HUMAN (Peter J. Leithart, 2 . 15 . 17, First Things)

According to Jean-Louis Chretien (Hand to Hand), the notion of God as divine artist and of the world as art comes into its own in Augustine's Trinitarian notion of ars divina, developed in medieval theology and Baroque art theory. This tradition was not free of ambiguities.

Earlier Christian writers had described the world as a work of art, but the theme appears in Augustine not as "a fleeting or circumstantial analogy" but in the form of "a veritable doctrine of ars divina, the divine art." For Augustine, God's artistic creativity is immediately relevant to human artistry. It is not merely a matter of analogy. Rather, the same wisdom by which God creates animates the artist: "That supreme art of the omnipotent God through which all things have been made from nothing, which is also called his Wisdom, also works through artists to produce things of beauty and proportion, although they do not produce from nothing, but from a given material" (Augustine).

The artist is doubly dependent, most creaturely. He needs stuff to work with, stuff that he cannot produce. And, the very "norms and models of his art" come from God, the "divine wisdom, or the divine art." The proportions and harmonies of the work come to the mind from God before the artist "impresses [them] bodily onto a body."

It's why we were impervious to modern art.

Posted by at February 16, 2017 5:28 AM

  

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