What is Art? Dec 13 Posted by rpviv (About Francis Schaeffer)


What is Art?

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Recently, I read Saving Leonardo by Nancy Pearcey and How Should We Then Live by Francis Schaeffer.  Both books have opened my eyes to the importance of art.  I used to think art was simply for people who were gifted in music, painting, acting etc.  Or, it was the fall back for those who couldn’t cut it in sports.  As for me, I never had artistic gifts.  And as to my sports career, I was twice cut before the second day of practice, after attempting to walk-on to two different NAIA Division II basketball teams!  Needless to say, I couldn’t make athleticism an art form, nor could I create anything of real artistic value in any other manner.  So I never really considered it much–until recently.

Art is the ability to take an experience, either real or imagined, and re-create it for others.  The format may be music, mat, wood, word, dance, drama, rhyme, rhythm or other.  Art will draw a person into the experience, heighten the senses, engage the emotions, block out what was or what will be, and bring to the now a full appreciation of the gift the artist offers.  The best art will instruct us to live better lives and appreciate each “now” for the gift that it is.

And art doesn’t always have to be created by others for us.  We can have our own artistic moments that bring us to an awareness and appreciation of life that is outside the norm.

I remember my last solo flight at pilot training.  It was a late afternoon flight, so the sun was setting and the orange of the sky gave the old beat up black and white jet brand new paint–it shined with the setting sun.  The sky was perfectly clear and its color ranged from bright orange to deep purple and the transition in between was, in itself, worthy of capture to understand how it connects the two extremes.  But the flying would not permit the time.  Because the moment the color struck me, was the brief moment when I was flat on my back as the nose of my aircraft stood perfectly between the orange and purple.  And though I wouldn’t get to fully appreciate the glory of God’s canvas, I was about to revel in one of the things I love most about flying–when I look up to see what is beneath me, or look down to see what is above me.  Both phrases making absolutely no sense, and at the same time, make perfect sense, whether my head is bowed or tilted back.  My feet rest on the moon’s ellipse, and I look up to behold the Texas fall, horizon to horizon, as if it was, itself, the perfect transition from orange to purple.  That afternoon God gave me a true appreciation for his creation and his artistry.   And I didn’t recognize it as art in the moment, but it impacted me as true art always does.

So in the end, art, ultimately, reveals God to us.  It shows us His glory, impresses upon us His majesty.  It is, for us, a tiny glimpse of the Creator, Sustainer, and Savior.  That is Art.


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