“Art is the experience of universality. It cannot be merely an object or a means. It is the primitive word, primitive in the sense that it comes first and underlies every other word. It is the word of the origin which examines, beyond the immediacy of experience, the first and ultimate meaning of life. It is knowledge translated into lines, images and sounds—symbols that concepts are able to recognize as projections upon the mystery of life, beyond the limits that concepts cannot surpass: openings, therefore, upon the depths, the heights, the ineffability of existence, paths that keep humans free for mystery and translate their intense emotion regarding it that can be expressed with no other words. Art is thus religious, because it leads humans to an awareness of that restlessness which lies at the depths of their being and which neither science, with the objective formality of its laws, nor technology, will ever succeed in satisfying . . . art is a path which leads to God.”
—Pope John Paul II, address to artists at the La Fenice Theater, Venice, Sunday, June 16, 1985. Quoted in the dedication to Marko Ivan Rupnik’s book, The Color of Light.
It is interesting to consider how His Holiness sets out the artist’s work here:
Making symbols – openings upon “the depths, the heights, the ineffability of existence;” traveling those paths which “keep us free for mystery;” translating our “intense emotion” in the face of those mysteries to bring us all to “an awareness of that restlessness which lies at the depths of our being.”
How do you think of creative work? Comments welcome.