Friday, March 8, 2019


So your friend and you are standing before someone’s work and one of you think it a masterpiece and the other wouldn’t insult his trash by disposing of it in the same place.  Is the problem with the piece itself or with the viewer?

Well, possibly both.  It’s not that simple.  How can two people see the same piece with the same lighting at the same time of day and having the comparable eyesight be so divergent?  Is it purely subjective? 

The liking or not liking of a piece of art is the flowering of a plant with very deep roots.  A certain amount of it can be subjective (well, I simply do NOT like the color orange my dear) but it is not purely subjective.  And this series is not so much focusing on liking a particular piece of art as much as it is looking at styles or schools of art.

Let us say the you see a piece of art to which you have a strong affinity.  A large part of it is based upon you world view.  Is there such a thing as absolute truth?  Is there such a thing as The Good and Beauty?  Is there a God?  Does life have meaning or is it absurd?  Does beauty reside in a thing or only in your perception of that thing?  

“In shaping a masterpiece, the artist not only summons his work into being, but also . . . reveals his own personality by means of it.”  So says St. John Paul II.  So of course, something of the artist’s belief is going to be incorporated into whatever it is he creates.  You can see this in children’s drawings.  Give a kid a bunch of paper and box of 64 crayons and tell him to draw his house and family and in pretty quick order you will know if the child has a positive or negative outlook on life.  Now imagine a talented artists painting from a particular world view.  It will reveal itself.

So here is our step one: Not liking a piece may not mean that you have failed the “taste” test, it may mean that you are working through a different world view, one that does not hold up as a value that which are seeing.  This is the first thing to at least consider and develop your thoughts on so when someone attempts to put your in your place for not having the education or training to fully appreciate a piece, you will have something to say other than, “I don’t like it” because, frankly, who cares?  

1 comment:

Dr. Skolops said...

Dear Father,
When I go to the Art Museum, I do not respect anything I see that
I could do. For example, I can throw paint onto a wall, I can cut holes into a wall, place shoes into the holes and cover the holes with cow skin. I an take a naked person, sit them on a chair and cover them with plaster of Paris. ANYONE who calls these objects "art" are wrong, no matter their ' World view".

In Rome, I stood captivated for an hour in front of Michelangelo's "David", That was worth the cost of the trip to Rome.

I cried for hours before the Piata. The guard had to tell me to go home. THAT IS ART!