Transcendent Art

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Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 05:41 am
Can the infinite shine through the finite? I love the great Christian paintings that stretch back for centuries. They make me feel something rare.

Schelling thought that art was at the heart of philosophy, that art was a meeting place of the finite and the infinite. Paintings are curiously mute, and perhaps this muteness is an advantage for certain purposes, including that of hinting at the Absolute.

It really doesn't matter that much to me if the Absolute is or isn't just man's dream. If it's a recollected idea or activated archetype that just doesn't matter as long as it works. As long as it gets me high. To hate religion is the same religious attempt to get high. To feign indifference is perhaps the same attempt to get high.

To paint Christ is to paint the man who got Most High. This is not to discount Buddha but I've mostly experienced Christian art. I have a hardback of the Geneva New Testament that is beautiful. The best words of Christ, no matter their historical source, are sublime poetry that hint beyond the apparent limitations of the apparently finite individual. Painting is the visual aspect of this same transcendence.

But I don't want to limit this thread to Christ in art. It's about the Sacred or Divine in art. I invite all of you to share your experiences.
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 05:59 am
@Reconstructo,
It is the artist not the sitter that decides our response. If you see a certain divinity in a painting then the artist has performed his brief, his commission. Medieval Medici painters where commissioned mainly for religious works but if you see any Botticelli's work that does not have any relevance to the christian theme they still impress us with the same air of divine mystery and haunting beauty.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 06:13 am
@Reconstructo,
I love Botticelli. Yeah, it's not just Christ or Christian themes. Pagan themes can also work.

What I like to see is any sort of sublime human figure. Could be a beautiful pure woman, as well as some spiritual character with a look in the eyes that implies something. One of the great things about painting is how the concept is completely manifested in the sensual. I also like that gloomy self-portrait of Rembrandt. It too is quite transcendent. It's not really the character presented as much as the presentation. But Christ has often been presented sublime, for obvious reasons. Thanks for joining the thread.
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 06:29 am
@Reconstructo,
Standing opposite the painting of mars and Venus by Botticelli was one of those incredible moments in my life. They say it was for the bed chamber of one of the Medici family, the Vespasiies or something, can you imagine that in your bedroom. So many eyes have contemplated its beauty and now my eyes where fixed with same reverence and awe. You feel the centuries of human contact through such master pieces. Yes art transcends humans inability to convey such feelings in words.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 06:35 am
@Reconstructo,
I wish I could see it in person. Sounds amazing. I haven't traveled much or seen many paintings. Have pored over many art books though. Better than nothing, I suppose. Did travel to Chicago once. Saw some Van Gogh in person. It's a great medium.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 07:19 am
@Reconstructo,
I have spent some time with the works you are describing and my most recent memory was of The Birth of Venus, Botticelli, i spent about an hour just sitting in the Uffizi with this painting infront of my vision alone but for the idle wanderer and found my vision but did not find myself as far as i had hoped. We put the responsibility on the artist more than we do on our own situation, if you are not sitting comfortably then you will find it difficult to discover. There is also the point to be made that the works aren't as transcending as is offered by their mythology because one needs to be able to be lifted as well as to rise, i do not think i rose to the occasion, but the occasion was still pretty important and life altering but just might not have had anything to do with the paintings.

Others i love
Fra Filippo Lippi - The complete works
Fra Angelico - Olga's Gallery

Museums should play music to their audience. This would help in sittuating someone the souls experience is often through senses, music is a catalist that works me does not just make me work. I dont care if the music doesn't fit, like the works themselves it is all atmosphere.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 09:06 am
@sometime sun,
sometime sun;111202 wrote:
I have spent some time with the works you are describing and my most recent memory was of The Birth of Venus, Botticelli, i spent about an hour just sitting in the Uffizi with this painting infront of my vision alone but for the idle wanderer and found my vision but did not find myself as far as i had hoped. We put the responsibility on the artist more than we do on our own situation, if you are not sitting comfortably then you will find it difficult to discover. There is also the point to be made that the works aren't as transcending as is offered by their mythology because one needs to be able to be lifted as well as to rise, i do not think i rose to the occasion, but the occasion was still pretty important and life altering but just might not have had anything to do with the paintings.

Others i love
Fra Filippo Lippi - The complete works
Fra Angelico - Olga's Gallery

Museums should play music to their audience. This would help in sittuating someone the souls experience is often through senses, music is a catalist that works me does not just make me work. I dont care if the music doesn't fit, like the works themselves it is all atmosphere.
The Birth of Venus is beautiful and it freaks me out because of a series of dreams I had once in which what I imagine "Venus" appeared as a monster.

Paintings of Krishna are usually transcendent art. You can't take your eyes off his face... her face... it's face.
 
Deckard
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 10:02 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;111167 wrote:

To paint Christ is to paint the man who got Most High. This is not to discount Buddha but I've mostly experienced Christian art. I have a hardback of the Geneva New Testament that is beautiful. The best words of Christ, no matter their historical source, are sublime poetry that hint beyond the apparent limitations of the apparently finite individual. Painting is the visual aspect of this same transcendence.

But I don't want to limit this thread to Christ in art. It's about the Sacred or Divine in art. I invite all of you to share your experiences.


It is interesting how many other characters there are in the story of Christ. John the Baptist, Pontius Pilot, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, Barrabas to name a few that I find most intriguing. I guess these characters are all archetypes in their own right. All these characters fit together. They all have such interesting personalities. Some of them approach transcendence and maybe achieve transcendence though not with the same atom bomb intensity of Christ the son of God.
 
Arjuna
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 11:32 am
@Deckard,
Deckard;111249 wrote:
It is interesting how many other characters there are in the story of Christ. John the Baptist, Pontius Pilot, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, Barrabas to name a few that I find most intriguing. I guess these characters are all archetypes in their own right. All these characters fit together. They all have such interesting personalities. Some of them approach transcendence and maybe achieve transcendence though not with the same atom bomb intensity of Christ the son of God.
And how many depictions of Christ there are: Neo walks up and surprises the betrayer character in the Matrix, who exclaims: "You scared the B-Jesus out of me!"
 
GoshisDead
 
Reply Mon 14 Dec, 2009 03:46 pm
@Arjuna,
I feel that we are always chasing for the primally sublime, Art is the only real way to surpass the the barriers of rationality and abstraction imposed on us by our brains and enjoy the primally sublime without also surrendering to our biological imperatives.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 28 Dec, 2009 06:24 pm
@Reconstructo,
Art and religion are Siamese twins. I like them together. Paint me the Ideal. Paint Christ. Paint Venus. Paint Beauty, Truth, Value, etc.
 
 

 
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