Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Art and the Bible - Day 5

Make sure you read yesterday's post, because today really is a follow up to this. We're discussint the idea of "the art work as an art work". Seems pretty self-explanatory, until we think of the baggage that is often put on art. We can't just have Christian novels, comic books, or music. They have to be evangelistic. If we aren't reaching people with the gospel of Christ, then art has no value.

Obviously that is extreme, but we can have art for beauty's sake. But concerning the nature of a work of art, what perspectives can we have?

1. Art for art's sake. "This is the notion that art is just there and that is all there is to it". People may say there is no meaning to an art work, that it just is. However, there is always meaning to something we do, it just may not be apparent. Everything speaks of where we come from. We'll talk more on this next time.

2. Art is only an embodiment of a message. Basically it is a vehicle for propoganda. But Schaeffer says that if either the Christian or non-Christian reduces art to just the vehicle for the message, then art is only intellectual and loses its intrinsic art value. If we use a work of art only to get a message across, it is little more than a tract.

3. The artist makes a work of art, and then the body of his work shows his world-view. Schaeffer argues that this is the possibility that holds out that something can be a great work of art. Sometimes we can produce something that is more message driven, and another time we do a work that is more towards pure artistic. Over time, these works will show where the creator is coming from. I think of novelist Brandilyn Collins, whose books have a variety of levels of spirituality. Some are very blatant, as God gives visions to her protagonist. In her newest book, Violet Dawn, the topic of God is lightly touched. Brandilyn has shared on her blog that the story drives the spiritual content, and she's not going to force it in there just to speak an evangelistic message.

Schaeffer has this to say:
How then should an artist begin to do his work? I would insist that he begin by setting out to make a work of art. He should say to himself, "I am going to make a work of art."(emphasis original)

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