Created "in the image of God," man also expresses the truth of his relationship with God the Creator by the beauty of his artistic works. Indeed, art is a distinctively human form of expression; beyond the search for the necessities of life which is common to all living creatures, art is a freely given superabundance of the human being's inner riches. Arising from talent given by the Creator and from man's own effort, art is a form of practical wisdom, uniting knowledge and skill, to give form to the truth of reality in a language accessible to sight or hearing. To the extent that it is inspired by truth and love of beings, art bears a certain likeness to God's activity in what he has created. Like any other human activity, art is not an absolute end in itself, but is ordered to and ennobled by the ultimate end of man.Let's analyze this, breaking it down sentence by sentence...
1. Man is created in God's image; he expresses that in the beauty of art.
2. Art is specifically a human endeavor; it is a generous expression of the riches in a human.
3. Art arises from talent and effort, and it unites knowledge and skill in a form of practical wisdom for the purpose of giving form to the truth of reality in languages that we can see and hear.
4. As it is inspired by truth and love of beings, it is like God's creating.
5. Like anything else human, it is not an end, but it has order and nobleness from the end of man.
As you can see, there are some very important connections being formed here. First let's consider the one stated in sentences One and Four: 1. That man's making art is like God's creating man 2. because both are inspired by truth and love of beings, and 3. that this relationship is expressed in the beauty of art.
1. Man's making art is like God's creating man- we are created in God's image, and the art that we make somehow reflects us. An effect always is similar to its source, or cause, because it has nothing of its own but what came from the cause. Even when an artist says a painting took on a life of its own, the painting is still coming form the artist, just in very unexpected and surprising ways.
2. Both God's creating and man's making art are inspired by truth and love of beings- Love naturally spreads to include more and more people, which is evident in how a family begins as man and wife and spreads to include children. God did not need to create anything, but being love, He wanted to extend love to more beings. as the Catechism says in paragraph 1, "God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life." God's love for us, and the truth of His love, and the Truth which God gives us because He loves us continues and will continue for all time; that is "God's activity in what He has created." Art comes, more or less, from the artist's observation of truth within or outside of himself, and for love of some being. This calls to mind two quotes from the Introduction of Caritas in Veritate by Pope Benedict XVI: 1. "love and truth never abandon them (all people) completely, because these are the vocation planned by God in the heart and mind of every human person." 2. "Truth should be loved and demonstrated."
3. This relation is expressed by the beauty of art- As we said in 'ART III~ The Problem of Beauty', the more a things is beautiful, whether in a sensual or intellectual way, the more a thing is like God, who is the most beautiful. So it is in the beautifulness of art that the viewer, or audience, can grasp the profound relationship he, the artist, and all people have with God. It is through beauty that lies one of the clearest ways of leading our thoughts to God. God directly manifests Himself in the beauty of creation (also discussed in 'The Problem of Beauty'). People directly and indirectly, intentionally and unintentionally, manifest their Creator and their relationship to Him in art.
Then it seems that when art does not reflect this relationship in a good way, but rather distorts it and mocks it, it is a great sin. For the relationship between man and God is sacred.
Lucifer by Jackson Pollock
Further posts concerning sentences 2, 3, and 5 are on the way!