religious art

Religious sentiment has given rise to admirable works of art. These days the Church approves of religious trinkets, the selling of which is a disgrace and which are, from an aesthetic point of view, indefensible. But one can easily overlook that, for they at least avoid the danger into which aesthetes fall by considering beautiful artworks as veritable idols; whereas they are simple memory aids or points of focus. The mediocrity of these works can easily be excused if one remembers that one must not forget oneself while admiring the most beautiful forms of matter, when one should actually be contemplating the formless, invisible beauty of the Spirit.

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Art is useless to saints. Thus it is not an indispensible vehicle for religious sentiment. This is consolation for the fact that our epoch is so incapable of creating any fine religious art.

And if one’s religious sentiment is too weak one must not pretend to sustain it by taking the support of art. Worldly art will more readily absorb the strength of the artist than religious sentiment.

Faith risks being frustrated by the earthly demands of art.

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The mystic gives himself to God unreservedly, and by doing so acquires an unparalleled freedom.

The artist gives himself to art, and by doing so finds himself stuck. It would be better if he could, occasionally, take a break from it.

One’s bond with God is liberating because it detaches one from the things of this world and alone grants a truly disinterested mind.

The artist is chained to the world by a double interest: That of drawing the material for his art from it and that of creating something more elevated above the world. But he always falls back down to earth, and more heavily at that, for with each new artwork that he creates he forges another chain.