Spirituality and The Arts

Posted May 21, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Culture / 0 Comments

I just read an article from Time-Online called ‘The Spiritual History of English’, which talks about a book by Andrew Thornton-Norris of the same name. The book bases its arguments on the T.S Eliot’s premise that “culture of a people as an incarnation of its religion”. According to Thornton-Norris, literature is the result of liberalism in politics. He also claimed that previously “tradition prevented art or the individual – and relativism in belief” and as for modern art “Now almost every word that is written is a manifesto, a statement, a theology or anti-theology, rather than an unselfconscious work of art, a contribution to the tradition or communal enterprise, as it was in the Latin Classical tradition.”

I know spirituality has played a huge part in the Arts (eg. Caravaggio or any painter back then, John Milton’s Paradise Lost and Dante’s Divine Comedy) in the past but does it play much of a part now?

0 responses to “Spirituality and The Arts

  1. I think in general today we are less ruled by religion than Dante, or any artist of the Renaissance. Back then, as with Charlemagne, the Pope crowned the king. Everyone was under the rule of the Church, society was more monolithic. I would disagree with Thornon-Norris that religion (tradition) prevented art. The religiou mindset gave birth to some of the greatest art in the world (Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo’s Pieta, Notre Dame cathedral itself, music from Palestrina, Mozart, Bach, Handel). It was also a horribly oppressive time for many (Inquisition, witch hunts, and so on) so we have a trade-off. People are always searching for something larger than themselves (even the 60s hippies) to explain their place in the world. I think nowadays we look more inside ourselves to find the meaning, than to a transcendant god.

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