Maritain on Art and Beauty

Jacques Maritain, one of my heroes-in-realization, wrote Art and Scholasticism in the 1920s. This is a book I will need to read twice—and will enjoy reading twice. Here’s a nice quotation from page 44:

No form of art, however perfect, can encompass beauty within its limits, as the Virgin contained her Creator. The artist is faced with an immense and lonely sea, and the mirror he holds up to it is no bigger than his own heart.


2 Responses to “Maritain on Art and Beauty”

  1. Evan Says:

    I wondered if you had discovered Maritain. I have a few books. There is a very interesting book of correspondence Martain had with Benjamin Fondane, who in many ways is ideologically opposed to Maritain and his religious beliefs. Yet, they apparently had a long friendship and always had mutual respect for each other despite their differing opinions. Seeing each writer’s contrasting opinions in the correspondence enriched and sharpened my understanding of both men’s work.

    Have you heard of Gabriel Marcel? He is certainly less orthodox than Maritain and certainly not a Thomist.

  2. Curly Says:

    I’ve heard of Marcel, but not read anything. It takes me about 5 years after hearing someone recommended until I get around to actually reading them. Getting better about this, though. Maritain apparently hung out with all the big French intellectuals of the early 20th century, from the names he drops in Art and Poetry. But what I love about Maritain is that what a current-day philosopher would say in 20 pages, he can say in 5, and more clearly, too. His comments on the Trinity and artistic production in the appendices of Art and Scholasticism are amazing.

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