Art and the Anchor of Friendship

Art and the Anchor of Friendship August 30, 2011

I love this painting, Der Spaziergang, (The Walk) by Marc Chagall. He so beautifully captures the sense lightness that accompanies the feeling of euphoria founded upon love, and the need for the steadying anchor.

It seems to me the perfect illustration for this rumination by Barbara Nicolosi on Friendship and the Artist, and how friendship gives spiritual sustenance to our creative friends and family members, who — left unanchored — might otherwise live forever in the clouds or “end up foundering on the rocks of addiction, materialism and celebrity.”

Being creative is a very draining thing to do for a living. Friendship is like a gas station for the soul. Or more insightfully, as Scripture has it, friendship is a “sturdy shelter.” Because of the terrible demands of beauty on all aspects of the person, artists need friendship more to “do their thing” than Maytag repairmen need it to do theirs.

In his “Letter to Artists,” Pope John Paul II described the paradoxical process in which as artists grow in their ability to produce more beautiful things, their personal being is “uglified” by the process of practice and study and isolation and the near fanaticism that beauty requires. The Pope described artists as priests who make sacrifices that produce objects of redeeming power. He also says artists are prophets called and outfitted by God to lead people into new depths of understanding.

Read the whole piece; it’s longish, but full of truth. And it pairs well with this book.

Pope Benedict XVI: Address to Artists
Heather King: Marta Becket and the Three Temptations of Christ
Tony Rossi: God is the Relentless Pursuer
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and the Use of Art
Flannery O’ Connor on Ayn Rand
The Littlest Way

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