Leonardo, gone but not forgotten
We love the arts, and want to preserve them all…or so we think until we realize that we also need to make space for the new. In the process, forms come and go, and some ultimately die out. The process is natural and not necessarily a bad thing unto itself. However, it comes with some difficult questions. Andrew Swensen takes up some of those challenges — the need to cultivate the new, to preserve the old, and to make sure that everyone has a place in the rich world of the arts.
Read on in our latest article, “Aesthetic Darwinism” (click here to read full article).
William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
For centuries in cultures around the world, art was conventionally linked to the metaphysical and the religious. Yet in the contemporary age, we tend to veer away from the idea of theological aesthetics. The discourse of discussing art hedges on the theological question by treating even religiously motivated work through the language of cultural studies. Yet Andrew Swensen wonders if the thought of our most theologically motivated artists and aestheticians might then become only history lessons. What are we to do with the likes of Kandinsky’s Concerning the Spiritual in Art or the poetry of Blake, which is so rooted in theological motivation? Swensen writes, “For a variety of reasons, we have largely steered away from considering a connection between art and the area of religion, theology, spirituality and metaphysics.”
Read on in our latest offering from The Muse Dialogue, “Reflections on Theological Aesthetics: Overlooked Perspective on Artistic Creativity or Passé Thinking” (click here for full article).
Bartolomeo Cristofori, Grand Piano. Florence, Italy 1720 (Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art)
by Andrew Swensen
In our era of fascination with technology, it only seems natural that our art would reflect what has become the spirit of the age. It is interesting to watch how innovations in the hard sciences become innovations in the humanities. Robotics, software engineering, digital information storage and retrieval have all become tools of the trade for artists. Yet this contemporary situation has a couple of traps, and we would be wise to not substitute our infatuation with the new for our continuing pursuit of great art.
Andrew Swensen discusses the age of innovation and argues for keeping our eyes on aesthetic judgment when art meets new technology. Click here to read the full text of the article.