Musings about Art and Beauty

Posted by on Jan 4, 2012 in Blog/Articles | 0 comments

For Christians, beauty is one of the most essential characteristics of life.  We celebrate the amazing talents of artists like Leonardo Davinci and Michelangelo in bringing the Divine Life closer to us, not only through paintings rich in beauty, but through sculpting and miraculous architecture.  Who can deny the moving nature of The Pieta, or the power conveyed in Guido Reni’s The Archangel Michael?  Catholic art dates as far back as even the second century.  Divine art has given weak humanity eyes of Faith to better understand the sacred mysteries hidden behind God’s precious veil of humility.

     Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin, and even Martin Luther’s initial desecration and rejection of architectural beauty were a fatal blow to true Christian beauty.  He who was once the most beautiful of angels, but is now the ugliest of devils, could not stand to see humanity draw closer to the Sacred through God’s most powerful of tools: beauty.  So, he takes upon himself the conniving task of influencing men abounding in pride and, in doing so, he manages to separate all of Christianity into what is now over hundreds of thousands of different divisions, all claiming to be the one true faith.  Beauty, the most precious of gems in all of Church history, begins to be discarded, belittled, and, to the everlasting shame of humanity…hidden.  The most heart wrenching thing that could happen to the beautiful is for it to be hidden.
     The divine art of the woman in her true loving nature is an imperative impression on society that feminists have sought to abandon and neglect.  God’s intention for woman was to be a giver and sustainer of life.  His image is made profoundly known in a woman who lives up to her true calling.  The most perfect example humanity can ever contrive is that of The Blessed Virgin Mary.  Oceans of controversy exist between Christian denominations about the importance of the role of the Mother of God, the God-bearer.  The word of Christ Himself puts these arguments to shame: “Mother, here is your son.  Son, here is your mother.”  The angel Gabriel also proclaims her great worth in the eyes of God by praising her humility: “Hail!  Full of grace, the Lord is with you.”  And Elizabeth (filled with the Holy Spirit) proclaimed:  “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.”
     Women in Western civilization, under the heavy influence of feminism, are searching for Mary and they cannot find her.  Woman will not find the most perfect of examples in exploring the doctrines of feminists, for the feminist movement itself is a grievous denial of the true nature of the woman.  As most archaic and socialist movements do, the ugly blossom of the feminist movement stems from the root of pride.  In contrast, Mary was the epitome of feminine humility.  She speaks very seldom in Holy Scripture because she was always “Keeping these things in her heart.”  When praised for The Most Precious of Gifts being conceived in her blameless womb, she gives all glory and honor to God: “For The Almighty God has done great things for me and Holy is His Name.”
     Aside from her most venerable Son, The Blessed Virgin is probably one of the most painted figures of The Bible.  Why is this?  Through His humble servants, gifted in the arts, God reveals to us that this is His new Eve.  This is Eve as she should have been, spotless and blameless and ever-virgin.  Western civilization is in ruins because women have turned their eyes away from The Mother of God, denying her sacred role as the new Eve and, ultimately, her beautiful humility.
      Why is beauty so important in our society?  Why are women willing to go under knives to perfect their bodies, when it is the soul that must be perfected?
     Dietrich von Hildebrand once said: “‎When you sever the connection between goodness and beauty, goodness is in danger of becoming abstract and merely moral, and evil will become fascinating.”
     And so we see, in today’s society, especially in the arts, how the evil one uses his ugly claws to separate the two who are so intricately supposed to be wedded together.  We see this in our classic fairy tale stories: the prince, in his the goodness of his heart, desires to save the princess, who is most beautiful.  His goodness and her beauty are always associated with one another.  The essence of this association is brought to life in the timeless arts of The Church.

Without Mary, there can be no Christ…just as, without Christ, there can be no Mary.  Beauty, in its truest and most eternal form, cannot exist without goodness, just as goodness in its truest and most eternal form cannot exist without beauty.  The Pieta reminds us of this most sacred phenomenon.  Silently, it echoes within the deep recesses of our souls, as every great work of art should, that goodness and beauty have always belonged together, through the sorrows of death, and the joyful birth of life….and they always will.