I’ll be brief today dear reader. You see, I’ve taken my small family up north to the windy second city to enjoy a bit of culture, food and friends. We’ve been very successful in the latter categories and now it’s time to catch up on the former.
Indeed, today is the day I finally get to see one of my favorite paintings of all time at the Art Institute of Chicago.
You see, I love going to art museums. I love being surrounded by beautiful, thought provoking or emotive works. I love the scene of calm, the feeling of the sacred. I’m invigorated by being close to the actual art itself, knowing the artist once touched that very same canvas.
It’s like a portal into the past, into another mind, and into the serene.
But being surrounded by ‘beauty’ also makes us ask, what beauty is in the first place?
Of course this is a question that has been long discussed and analyzed by the ancients. Socrates associated beauty with ‘the good,’ while Aristotle, in his usually overly analytical ways, defined beauty in Metaphysics as having order, symmetry and definiteness which the mathematical sciences exhibit to a special degree.
But what does this tell us about the concept of beauty today? When we walk around an art museum, how do we know what is truly beautiful?
To that end, I ask you, dear reader:
Is beauty in the eye of the beholder or in the work of art? Is great art connected to a deep study of nature, as Leonardo da Vinci believed? How much of art is shaped by culture or by the personal vision of the artist?
I’ll post your responses next week… and if you are interested in this subject, then I encourage you to check out this upcoming event by Classical Pursuits, taking place a week today.
Join art and literature lovers from around the world for a lively program on the nature of beauty. The panelists, philosopher Wendy O’Brien and painter Sean Forester, will engage in a friendly debate on the above fundamental questions about art this July 19:
About Classical Pursuits:
Do you ever finish a book or leave a concert hall, theatre or museum fired up, wishing you had someone to talk with about what you had just read, heard or seen? Are you looking for a cultural experience with a difference? Try one of our distinct but complementary options: online seminars, small-group travel, and our Toronto summer salon.
Online, on the road or in Toronto, seminar discussions are at the heart of what we do. In a Classical Pursuits seminar, you’ll find your mind and heart fully engaged as you ask questions about love, beauty, knowledge, power, faith, justice, death, and ambition. Questions that have captured our imaginations since the beginning of humankind. Through the lens of your seminar readings, you’ll examine your most deeply held beliefs about the world—and perhaps even change them.
It’s a big and exciting undertaking, but you won’t be going it alone. With you will be others who share your passion for making books and art come alive through conversation. As you build on each other’s observations, you’ll find yourself reflecting more broadly and deeply than you could in solitary reading. Accompanying your group will be a skilled leader who is intimately familiar with the territory you’ll cover. This is not to say leaders profess the meaning of a work or give the “right” answers. While our leaders often have professional expertise in the seminar topic, their primary role is to ask questions that spark exchanges and help participants make their own discoveries.
Find out More on their webpage: https://www.classicalpursuits.com/