Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Our twenty-first century response to art images

Thomas Moore’s column in the January-February 2008 issue of Spirituality and Health, "Allowing Ourselves to be Seen by Art" may be read online, after free registration, in the Articles area of the S&H site.

Moore writes,
"I define religion at its best as a positive and effective means of relating to the mysteries that define our lives: love, death, birth, illness, marriage, and work, to name a few. A twenty-first century mentality sees these not simply as areas of normal living or as problems with which one must deal but also as mysteries. A twenty-first century religion sanctifies them with sacraments, rituals, sacred stories, and sometimes guardian spirits. The arts serve this kind of religion by giving us strong images for contemplation, for reflecting on the life-defining mysteries, and for educating ourselves so we can live them out more creatively."
He mentions the book Dars´an: Seeing the Divine Image in India by Harvard scholar Diana L. Eck and quotes Meister Eckhart: "The eye with which you see God is the same eye with which God sees you."

Moore also shares,"When I’m in Dublin, I visit [Johannes] Yverni’s Annunciation in the National Gallery of Ireland. I started making pilgrimage to this painting when I was 19. I can’t explain the painting, but I can tell you that it sets aglow a mystery that has shaped me all these years. This painting is not famous, but my experience of this holy, precious, sacramental object makes it worth any effort for dars'an."

Moore writes about our response to art in this column by saying,"I consider all art spiritual to a degree. The key is how we respond. It may not be as important to understand it as to welcome it, treat it with a degree of reverence, and contemplate it." He spoke publically about this topic last month at the Kundalini Art Gallery and Yoga Studio.

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