Thursday, February 01, 2007

Keep it REAL

This line from the Holy Father's Letter to Artists rocked me: "Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece." Those last words, if understood in light of the universal call of holiness, are intense and loaded; they are a meditation on the beauty of the soul created out of love and called to love every moment. The connections between art and this notion are rich. What does it mean to be an artist if not one who can express the weal and woe of their journey. Authentic art, I believe, is an expression of one's own journey. Have you ever taken in art that left you wondering what the point was or maybe the work was completely uninspiring? To illustrate this point think of trying to describe Venice Italy to someone when you've never been there yourself. How convincing would it be listening to you describe the temperment of a Venetian?

I'll end with Tarkovsky because he has a wonderful ability to synthesize his experience, his thought when it comes to this topic of truth and artistic vision:

"The striving for perfection leads an artist to make spiritual discoveries, to exert the utmost moral effort. Aspiration towards the absolute is the moving force in the development of mankind. For me the idea of realism in art is linked with that force. Art is realistic when it strives to express an ethical ideal. Realism is a striving for the truth, and truth is always beautiful. Here the aesthetic coincides with the ethical."