Want to Know More about beauty?

We tend to think about art as in the eye of the beholder, as self-expression, or for its own sake, and yet there is a much deeper and more interesting story behind the idea of beauty. Socrates spoke of beauty as a kind of remembering or homesickness for life in heaven experienced before birth. Christians who came later took this idea, stripped it of the faults and described beauty as the outpouring of God's grace and divinity. This was the idea that animated the souls of thinkers and artists for centuries.

 
 Jan van Eyck [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Jan van Eyck [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Feature 1

This is the famed Altar at Ghent. It is symmetrical, balanced, with one focal point drawing the eye.

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Feature 2

Art's decline was well before this was painted, but it is underscored here dramatically.

 Barnett Newman  Onement VI

Barnett Newman

Onement VI

Feature 3

These matching blue boxes sold for over $43,000,000. It is art the embodies little more than self-expression, but does not take the mind and soul to something outside of or beyond itself.

 
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Catholicism has a long history of creating beautiful things. It is time that we relearn this tradition and integrate it into our lives and our worship.

To learn more about the role beauty, truth, and goodness from Socrates to today, see my course at Pontifex University, A Survey of Philosophy of The Good, The True, and the Beautiful.