Thursday, April 26, 2012


The notoriety of the fine artists of the Renaissance, and the anonymity of the "craftsmen" (i.e., those who created objects, which were meant for some practical employment, as opposed to those that were meant for aesthetic enjoyment alone), helped to establish and perpetuate this "house arrest" of the beautiful.Peter Chojknowski
From the title of this post, one might suspect that some femme fatale whose name or photograph we might recognize from a tabloid in the supermarket checkout line has met with an unfortunate encounter with the local police. A GPS system attached to her comely leg might be the fate of an early arraignment and sentencing before she can achieve probation is something else we might suppose. Not at all. A discussion about "Beauty on House Arrest" is a complaint devised by Dr. Chojknowski of Gonzaga University to expose what many a 21st century citizen of the globe feels intuitively as a question lying within one's own bones. Where have all the examples of the beautiful expressed in the handiwork of mankind gone? Where do I go to find works of beauty in my everyday life? Why is nature a favorite repose?
Dr. Peter Chojknowski gives us a hint as to how it is we came to speak of Beauty and the Beautiful in the way we do now:
Since the Renaissance, when, for the first time in the history of Western Civilization, the "artisan" (artifex) was distinguished from the "fine artist," the reality of the beautiful, its power and force, its moral demands, and its enticing pull as "end" and "goal" has been increasingly diminished, narrowed, and enervated.
Whereas, in the ancient Greek world, as in the Catholic Middle Ages, the "beautiful" (kalon) was fostered in craft, gymnastics, moral life, and education, the Renaissance, with its practical deification of the genius of the "fine artists," increasingly relegated the domain of the beautiful to that of the arts (e.g., painting, sculpture, music) that had as their object the production of a work of art that could "be appreciated for its own sake," without any reference being made to the works relevance for some practical endeavor.
In other words, as a matter of course coming out of the Renaissance, Michelangelo, DaVinci, and Raphael were singled out as part of the Renaissance Club as it were. Recall the disgust which greeted the expose' - uncovered through the letters as between her and her brother - that the works of French sculpture, Camille Claudel, were all but destroyed and exhibits denied as her jealous lover, Rodin, did not want it known that several of the works attributed to him were actually hers. But there's more...... Pride of workmanship among the everyday man or woman are often skills of the artisan that go unrecognized or denied. The farmers field plowed with precision, the garden tended with care, the lawn mowed to keep the neighborhood well manicured, the flowers planted to enhance the character of a house on the block are often expected, overlooked, or unnoticed until those who complain when deterioration is so ugly to behold, the Beauty that is lost is now spoke of as "suddenly" gone. Nowadays, teams of contractors might march onto the Town Square - design grid in hand - and engines ready to roar. We smile with pride when a City Planner's environmentally approved scheme takes root. But what about the talent hidden within the homes sitting quietly row upon row on the streets of the town unnoticed for years. We need to ask ourselves if we've lost the roses we hope to smell when we demur to the Renaissance or should we speak out on behalf of Beauty to replace the course and indifference of a technological world. blockquote>Judy Joyce - Editor
Reference: Pankalia: The Catholic Vision of Beauty

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