Monday, January 15, 2007

art for art's sake?

According to Moshe Barasch,
"Aestheticians nowadays say that the perception of beauty - often called the aesthetic experience - is a quiet contemplation, leaving the spectator without any desire to go beyond the experience he is having. In Michelangelo's view beauty has the opposite effect: experiencing beauty makes one long for the ultimate origin; it awakens our desire to go beyond the experience itself. This is a motif that constantly recurs in Michelangelo's sonnets ( 195)."
And they wonder why I think art theory gets more interesting the further one gets from the present!

Furthermore, in an episode reminiscent of the famous end-of-career epiphany of Thomas Aquinas, Michelangelo confesses in a 1555 poem "his sorrow and remorse for having 'let the vanities of the world' rob him of the time 'for the contemplation of God'"( 199).

What if that really is what our cultural titans wish to teach us?