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April 25, 2005



How does he define "aesthetic excellence"? I've seen attempts to construct some "objective" criteria for aesthetics, which has always struck me as somewhat of an oxymoron.


He's basically talking about craftsmanship. A person can be creative, but lack skill or training in the medium they are trying to use.

Here's a good quote:

"We might note, therefore, that the Christian content of a work of art that is technically mediocre does not redeem the work as a piece of creativity. In fact, the lack of artistic excellence detracts from the impact of the Christian content." (p.70)


Ah - makes sense. What a shame, then, that most of what passes for Christian "art" is commercial.

A few years ago I spent half a day in prayer at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It was fascinating to pray through the exhibits, especially moving chronologically. It was quite easy in the medieval areas, but got progressively more difficult as I moved toward the modern stuff. This isn't to bash modern art (although there is progressively more crap with no technical excellence whatsoever as you get more current) - rather it's a recognition that we've either abandoned or been crowded out of the artistic world (probably some of both). Part of it probably stems from the dualism inherent in western Christianity as well - art is physical and temporal, truth is spiritual and eternal. Sad, really.

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