Spirituality and the Arts

Leveller

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Around the age of eighteen, my hardcore materialism got its first major dent. A friend showed me a magazine article about Pre-Raphaelite paintings. There was a moment of emotion that was both unique and very at odds with my worldview. I experienced something similar when many years later I discovered the work of Frederic Edwin Church.

Now in old age, I have been making a final attempt to get to grips with poetry. I am beginning to find it there now. Not in the same way, seeing a special painting is a little like an explosion. Poetry is more gentle, something to be savored.

I once read an article about some aspect of quantum physics. The author wrote that what he was trying to describe could only really be understood through the language of mathematics. I sometimes wonder if the same is not true of spirituality and the language of the arts.

Any thoughts?
 

wil

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a figment of your imagination

Me thinks artists often refer to a spiritual, not religious experience in creating and envisioning their art, be it prose, music, painting or sculpting

In the pre raphaelite painting above it looks like her consciousness was raised by something else
 

Leveller

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Me thinks artists often refer to a spiritual, not religious experience in creating and envisioning their art,
Some do for sure. An artist may experience inspiration regarding some aspect of existence and use art to communicate this. Somebody else has the sensitivity to recognize it and there you are. It is a two-way thing. Take away the paint or the words, the art is gone but the inspiration remains.
 

Aupmanyav

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Quantum Mechanicws, art, music OK, never came to terms with any poetry except Urdu poetry. Those are gems.

Today's gem at "Rekhta':

"umr bhar rahnā hai ta.abīr se gar duur tumheñ
phir mire ḳhvāb meñ aane kī zarūrat kyā hai
"
Nadeem Gullani

(If you want to stay away from care for all your life, then what is the need to come into my dreams)
 

Leveller

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@Aupmanyav I once knew a young woman who had been educated at a private school in India. She told me that apart from her own, they had to study two other languages: "English, the language of business, and Urdu, the language of poetry."
 

Cino

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I once read an article about some aspect of quantum physics. The author wrote that what he was trying to describe could only really be understood through the language of mathematics. I sometimes wonder if the same is not true of spirituality and the language of the arts.

I think there are many similarities between art and spirituality: the inspiration, the sense that a work of art has a way of "using" the artist as a means of becoming manifest, as well as the terrible disconnect one can experience when hearing an artist talk about their work (I have a painter friend who creates powerful works that have an impact, yet when he talks about them, it's all about technique and materials...)

And yet there is something else, in addition to the art. Crowley used the phrase, "the science and art...", and I tend to agree with him there.
 
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Leveller

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Hi @Cino
the sense that a work of art has a way of "using" the artist as a means of becoming manifest,
That is something very special, isn't it? There is a nun, S. Joan Chittister OSB. She has written on the inspirational aspect of monastic life. I find her words quite beautiful. Here is a taste. " Monasticism, in fact, cultivates the artistic spirit. Basic to monasticism are the very qualities art demands of the artist: silence, contemplation, discernment of spirits, community and humility…. It is in silence that the artist hears the call to raise to the heights of human consciousness those qualities no definitions ever capture..."

Thank you for the Crowley phrase, I also tend to agree. Very little is a pure one thing or the other.
 

Aupmanyav

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@Aupmanyav I once knew a young woman who had been educated at a private school in India. She told me that apart from her own, they had to study two other languages: "English, the language of business, and Urdu, the language of poetry."
Urdu is a beautiful language mix, all verbs from Sanskrit, words from Persian, Arabic and Sanskrit.
 

Leveller

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the terrible disconnect one can experience when hearing an artist talk about their work
"I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.
Georgia O'Keeffe
 

Cino

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"I found I could say things with colors and shapes that I couldn't say any other way - things I had no words for.
Georgia O'Keeffe
Okay, that is actually pretty good.

I meant artists statements like, "My work explores the relationship between Bauhausian sensibilities and counter-terrorism."
 

Namaste Jesus

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I wish Aussie was still with us. He'd have loved this thread. I mean, the man could say more with a single photo, than could ever be communicated verbally. Stuff that made you think and contemplate for days.
 

Leveller

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I meant artists statements like, "My work explores the relationship between Bauhausian sensibilities and counter-terrorism."
I knew what you meant Cino. I was using O'Keeffe to show the artist's side of that particular coin.
 

Leveller

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I keep returning to this post. There is, I am Sure, so much more that could be said on the subject, but I struggle to do so. One thing, although I cannot recall the author, was a part of a chapter that was, discussing art. Information it was said generates thought, but art will have impact. Something here resonates with me, and I feel that the same is true of spirituality. The story of the Buddha and the flower comes to mind here.
 

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I heard a young man speaking on a tv show once, about a visit to an art exhibition. He said, "There's two kinds of art, there's 'Oh, wow!' and 'So what?', and this is definitely 'Oh wow!'"

The art show was either James Turrell or Bill Viola, both of whom are 'Oh, wow!' artists in my book.

There are two occasions when art has stopped me in my tracks, as it were. The one was seeing Ian Hamilton Finlay's 'Nuclear Sail', a smooth-edged black granite monolith standing on a plinth beside a lake in his Scottish garden – for some reason the sight of it, on a tv documentary of all things, just arrested me. (IHF plays with words, so there was an affinity there).

The other was in Tate Modern gallery in London. I had 10 minutes to spare, and said that 10 minutes was ridiculous, so I would go to the back of the gallery, and just walk out. If anything caught my eye I would stop, top make a note for a return visit, otherwise I'd wait outside.

The thing that did was a relatively small, monochrome seascape by Hiroshi Sugimoto – why, and indeed how such an image caught my eye in the gallery, I have no idea.

+++

There is a place to interrogate art, I suppose, and a role of the 'critic' in having something to say ... but for me the first rule of art is it gets you, or it doesn't, and if it doesn't, no matter ... as an art tutor friend said, 'To try and explain it to someone, you've missed the point.'

There is a minimalism about the artists I've mentioned, and that is a trend with me, in music, in all manner of things, and if I were waxing lyrical, and spiritual, I'd say 'a minimalism that is inexhaustible' – I never tire of looking.

+++

Yes, @Leveller, there's so much to say. Fab thread.
 

Leveller

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Hello @Prycejosh1987 . Welcome to the forum:). I have heard both believers and non-believers refer to biblical poetry but I don't recall any reference to it being entirely so. Just parts of it. Could elaborate a little?
 
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