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Saturday, 6 May 2017

The art of discovering beauty

Here is the Thought for the Week that I have prepared this week for St Martin-in-the-Fields:

After Easter I read ‘The Spiritual Dynamic in Modern Art’ in which Charlene Spretnak demonstrates that ‘nearly every significant art movement of the modern period emerged partially in response to spiritual issues in the zeitgeist and the particular spiritual interests of numerous artist s’.

For many years, however, ‘the spiritual dynamic in modern art was all but invisible within the professional art world because it did not fit within the contours of the historicism of modern art’ as ‘the informing values and preferences of the secular modern worldview’ meant that spiritual content was viewed as ‘unbearably backward … irrelevant, and … distasteful’.

The book daylights ‘the great underground river of spiritual influences’ which ‘flowed through nearly all the major art movements’ of the modern era. St Martin’s, through its programme of loans, commissions and exhibitions, has also contributed to the ‘daylighting’ of this river. The present increasing awareness of these influences amounts to a resurrection or revival of interest in the links between spirituality and art.

At St Stephen Walbrook, our All Night Vigil on Easter Eve, based on Mark Dean’s films for the Stations of the Cross projected onto our Henry Moore altar, also daylighted these spiritual influences by means of readings exploring the spiritual influences of modern artists such as Andy Warhol and Yves Klein.

A prayer written by Yves Klein asks that God grant him ‘the favour of inhabiting my works and that they may become ever more beautiful, and also the favour that I may continually and regularly discover ever new and lovelier things in art even if alas I may not always be worthy to be a tool for the construction and creation of Great Beauty. Please let everything that comes out of me be Beautiful. Amen

I will be preaching in the 10.00am Eucharist at St Martin's tomorrow and will be saying more about Stations2017 in my sermon.


Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed.

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