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by The Ovi Team
2018-07-15 08:58:00
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The great Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn is born in Leiden on July 15, 1606, the son of a miller. His humble origins may help account for the uncommon depth of compassion given to the human subjects of his art. His more than 600 paintings, many of them portraits or self-portraits, are characterized by rich brushwork and colour, and a dramatic interplay of shadow and light.

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Emanuel Paparella of the 2016-07-15 18:05:14
Beauty comes to us as a whisper pointing to transcendence; as the poet Wordsworth put it, it is an intimation of immortality and can act as a symbol which points to some kind of personal presence.

We look at a sunset and our imagination reads it and tells us there is something more to this than purely mechanical utilitarian economic function.

Art also functions this way, as intimating what lies behind the phenomena of beauty. Those of us who are sensitive either praise the power and glory that lies behind the sunset pointing to Beauty, Truth and Goodness, or write a myth telling of the journey of Apollo across the sky in his golden chariot and deluding ourselves that it is all a fairy tale to entertain our childish imagination, a mere sign signifying nothing, or we write a poem and leave it at that.

Those of us who are blind and deaf to beauty and do not hear the whispers of Beauty and of the Transcendent, whose soul is dead to them, will feel nothing and will respond accordingly. We will not be able to read the symbols correctly, and will mistake them for immanent signs, things pointing to something else also immanent but external to oneself.

A receptor of truth is the human mind by which we are enabled to touch base with what is true. A proposition of truth is presented to the mind, and the rational faculty is able to determine whether the idea is true or false. Truth is something which exists beyond the material interlocking system of nature with which science is concerned. In this sense, statements of truth are timeless and belong to the supernatural realm. They can be expressed in words as genuine poetry or they can be expressed in art, even natural art. They are not subject to change as with that which is material.

When a human being puts an idea into history, whether it is the story of Little Red Riding Hood or a deep philosophical insight, that idea lives forever, it never dies and it operates for good or for evil. When the author is dead, the idea goes on. We are still reading Plato, Pico della Mirandola and Kierkegaard.

So, the mind is able to receive ideas—and to construct them. When Truth, Beauty and Goodness make their descent we are able to enter a world of ideas and make statements about the universe which corresponds to the way things are. Truth gives us the ability to think about something which doesn’t deal with the immediate, the ability to be abstract and universal without losing sight of the particular and the immanent. This is actually a remarkable thing, it enables us to get a view from the outside and see the whole.

Today alas, our culture has reduced Truth to the level of the personal and the pragmatically useful. Truth is something you construct for yourself—it is only as big as your world and your worldly ambitions. That’s what the poetic paintings of Rembrandt, or the pictorial poetry of Dante, remind us of: that the true mystical vocation of man is toward the transcendent, never mind the useful and the economic. We forget these truths at our own spiritual peril both as an individual and as a civilization.

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