Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Thinking about Art
A painting around the corner from the David, and surprisingly undistracted by The Rape of the Sabine Woman going on just in front of it, showed a variety of Christian thinkers standing in front of Mary and Jesus ascending to Heaven. The note in front of the painting said it was the artist's visual exploration of various schools of thought on the status of the Virgin Mary.
It got the little wheels in my mind turning. Not a huge fan of didactic work, I was nonetheless intrigued by the possibilities of this painting. Was there a correct answer implicit in the work or was it possible that the artist was simply allowing the different voices to have a place to have dialogue? Too often today works of art - especially art that treats theological themes - are deemed correct or "too edgy." This painting showed me that art could be both beautiful and thoughtful, without having to have all the answers pinned down. That art could create a space for conversation, conversation that just might lead upwards toward heaven.
I'd like to be that kind of artist.