The past few days, I have immensely enjoyed soaking in the Catholic world of art and beauty. This is an exceptional course, developed by Maryvale Institute, which is being piloted here in Kansas. Arty types travelled from all across the States and beyond, a fantastic group of people – Christopher West’s Art Director, Dorian Speed (whose blog I have stumbled across a couple of times), architects, numerous DREs, art teachers, a seminarian, and lots of artists. Having no background in art whatsoever, and not even knowing which came first – Baroque or Gothic (I know, I know, how uncultured) – this has been a fascinating few days. (Gothic comes first by the way.)
We looked at the theological foundations for Catholic art – the levels of truth (ontological, intellectual, moral), metaphysics and the transcendental properties of being (truth, goodness, beauty and unity) which introduce us to objective beauty (yes, objective beauty) and sources of ‘light’ we use in creating art – natural light, intellectual light, and, spiritual light – the light of Christ, which creates ecclesial, eucharistic, incarnational aspects to the art. I also learned a whole lot of new stuff about proportion, harmony, geometrics and number in art… Amazing.
This is all part of the renewal of culture through the Christian arts. Flannery O’Connor apparently said that Catholic literature will not be renewed until writers learn to read the spiritual senses of Scripture. Until we see these spiritual senses, how can we create deeper senses in literature and art? The depth and richness of art is what leads us to the source of the inspiration – it is what turns our hearts towards God.
So inspired have I been by this course, I have created a whole extra page to my blog – check it out! As the theme of this blog uses Fra Angelico’s Annunciation, it was only fitting to explain it in more depth.