Monday, June 18, 2012

THE SPECIAL VOCATION OF THE ARTIST

KAROL WOJTLYA (later POPE JOHN PAUL II)
AS A YOUNG FACTORY WORKER,
WEARING HIS BROWN SCAPULAR

Excerpts from: 
                                                         LETTER OF HIS HOLINESS 


POPE JOHN PAUL II
TO ARTISTS

1999
To all who are passionately dedicated
to the search for new “epiphanies” of beauty
so that through their creative work as artists
they may offer these as gifts to the world
.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good” (Gn 1:31)

[Read the full text of the letter here]:

"Not all are called to be artists in the specific sense of the term. Yet, as Genesis has it, all men and women are entrusted with the task of crafting their own life: in a certain sense, they are to make of it a work of art, a masterpiece...

Sacred Scripture has thus become a sort of “immense vocabulary” (Paul Claudel) and “iconographic atlas” (Marc Chagall), from which both Christian culture and art have drawn. The Old Testament, read in the light of the New, has provided endless streams of inspiration. From the stories of the Creation and sin, the Flood, the cycle of the Patriarchs, the events of the Exodus to so many other episodes and characters in the history of salvation, the biblical text has fired the imagination of painters, poets, musicians, playwrights and film-makers. A figure like Job, to take but one example, with his searing and ever relevant question of suffering, still arouses an interest which is not just philosophical but literary and artistic as well. And what should we say of the New Testament? From the Nativity to Golgotha, from the Transfiguration to the Resurrection, from the miracles to the teachings of Christ, and on to the events recounted in the Acts of the Apostles or foreseen by the Apocalypse in an eschatological key, on countless occasions the biblical word has become image, music and poetry, evoking the mystery of “the Word made flesh” in the language of art…

All artists experience the unbridgeable gap which lies between the work of their hands, however successful it may be, and the dazzling perfection of the beauty glimpsed in the ardour of the creative moment: what they manage to express in their painting, their sculpting, their creating is no more than a glimmer of the splendour which flared for a moment before the eyes of their spirit. Believers find nothing strange in this: they know that they have had a momentary glimpse of the abyss of light which has its original wellspring in God. Is it in any way surprising that this leaves the spirit overwhelmed as it were, so that it can only stammer in reply?"...

2 comments:

  1. Beautiful Post!

    In my own reversion to the Faith it was Crossing the Threshold of Hope that helped me realize that this sinner could be a Catholic.

    I am no artist but appreciate those who are and their craft.

    That JPII could speak so eloquently about so many topics has only increased my appreciation for things I am not!

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  2. Blessed JP II: So in tune with the modern world, with creating the self, and yet grounded fully within the tradition -- amazing...

    For some reason, this excerpt reminded me of Jars of Clay's song, "Art in Me" --

    http://youtu.be/x_9-npiaZoc

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