“Whatever it be that keeps the finer faculties of the mind awake, wonder alive. and the interest above mere eating and drinking, money-making and money-saving; whatever it be that gives gladness, or sorrow, or hope – this, be it violin, pencil, pen…is simply a divine gift of holy influence for the salvation of that being to whom it comes, for the lifting of him out of the mire and up on the rock. For it keeps a way open for the entrance of deeper, holier, grander influences, emanating from the same riches of the Godhead. And though many have genius that have no grace, they will only be so much the worse, so much nearer to the brute, if you take from them (their art).” George MacDonald, 1824-1905, quoted in “State of the Arts, From Bezalel to Mapplethorpe” by Gene Edward Veith, Jr., p. 232.
The Lord told Bezalel, the artist of the Tabernacle, to make the garments of the high priest with their dazzling gems and elaborate design, “for glory and for beauty” (Exodus 28:2 KJV). God’s purpose for these particular works of Bezalel suggests a purpose for all the arts – to glorify God and to manifest beauty. (Veith, xviii)
Below is a fascinating lecture on theological aesthetics, by Ben Quash of King’s College, London. I don’t know if David Byrne of “Talking Heads” learned anything in Art School similar to what this lecture presents, and I don’t know what “Artist’s Only” meant, but I am sure that genuine aesthetics is not merely “…cleaning my brain” as Byrne sang in his song. The lecture actually touches on whether aesthetics relates to the objective world or to the subjective experience of the world. Is beauty only in the eye of the beholder? One thing I do know is that the world needs to learn what aesthetics is, in order to be able to recognize it. Sadly, it seems we are a nation of Philistines.
Comments, questions, criticisms are always welcome!
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