An ageless quest for the sublime
December 24, 2007
Quoted from the article:
Christmas has been a God-send to the artistic tradition of Western civilisation. That’s not just because of the opportunity to produce vast nativity scenes – with plenty of animals and shepherds and angels to take up the space – and greetings cards. It’s because Christmas is the fulfilment of the idea of the incarnation: the idea of God becoming man.
In more recent years, the rise of Aboriginal art has, I think, done something to fill this gap. The sense that these works are beholden to a cosmic vision, that they speak not just about particular local events but about the meaning of the world conceived on the grandest scale is one of the factors that draws us to such images. Non-Aboriginal enthusiasm for these works is partly explained by an otherwise unmet need for meaning; for the sense that works of art can show us the beautiful order of the world.
Perhaps Christmas is the time to draw a lesson from Aboriginal art and wonder if, perhaps, its sublime confidence could be an inspiration to other traditions.
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