Archive for the Art Category


Posted in Art, Cinema, Philosophy with tags on June 28, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Andrei Tarkovsky with Margarita Terekhova - Mirror

We have almost totally lost sight of the beautiful as a criterion of art: in other words, of the aspiration to express the ideal. Every age is marked by the search for truth. And however grim that truth, it still contributes to the moral health of humanity. Its recognition is a sign of a healthy time and can never be in contradiction with the moral idea. Attempts to hide the truth, cover it, keep it secret, artificially setting it against a distorted moral ideal on the assumption that the latter will be repudiated in the eyes of the majority by the impartial truth—can only mean that ideological interests have been substituted for aesthetic criteria. Only a faithful statement about the artist’s time can express a true, as opposed to a propagandist, moral ideal.

This was the theme of Andrey Rublyov. It looks at first sight as if the cruel truth of life as he observes it is in crying contradiction with the harmonious ideal of his work. The crux of the question, however, is that the artist cannot express the moral ideal of his time unless he touches all its running sores, unless he suffers and lives these sores himself. That is how art triumphs over grim, ‘base’ truth, clearly recognising it for what it is, in the name of its own sublime purpose: such is its destined role. For art could almost be said to be religious in that it is inspired by commitment to a higher goal.

Devoid of spirituality, art carries its own tragedy within it. For even to recognise the spiritual vacuum of the times in which he lives, the artist must have specific qualities of wisdom and understanding. The true artist always serves immortality, striving to immortalise the world and man within the world. An artist who doesn’t try to seek out absolute truth, who ignores universal goals for the sake of accidentals, can only be a time-server.

Text: Andrei Tarkovsky, Sculpting in Time. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1986
Image: Andrei Tarkovsky with Margarita Terekhova on the set of Mirror, 1975

Der heilige Hieronymus und der Löwe

Posted in Art, Object with tags , on May 21, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden

Riemenschneider, Jerome

Tilman Riemenschneider
alabaster, c. 1495
The Cleveland Museum of Art

Maria mit dem Schutzmantel

Posted in Art, Object with tags on May 20, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


Michel Erhart or Friedrich Schramm
painted wood, c. 1480
Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin

Vierge ouvrante

Posted in Art, Object with tags on May 19, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


mixed media, c. 1400
Musée de Cluny

Vierge ouvrante

Posted in Art, Object with tags on May 18, 2017 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


ivory and bone, c. 1200
The Walters Art Museum

On Anacreon

Posted in Art, Poetry with tags , , , , on November 18, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


Oh beloved who didst love the clear lute, O thou who didst sail through thy whole life with song and with love.

Text: Anonymous, The Greek Anthology VII:23B translated by W. R. Paton. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1917
Image: Anonymous, Woman sitting on a rock and playing the lute or pandura, 1st quarter of the 3rd century BC, Musée du Louvre

The Idea of God

Posted in Art, Book with tags , on November 17, 2016 by Dylan Thomas Hayden


“Was the idea of God alive at all in me? No: if you mean the traditional idea. But that was a symbol, vague, variable, mythical, anthropomorphic; the symbol for an overwhelming reality, a symbol that named and unified in human speech the incalculable powers on which our destiny depends. To observe, record, and measure the method by which these powers operate is not to banish the idea of God: it is what the Hebrews called meditating on his ways. The modern hatred of religion is not, like that of the Greek philosophers, a hatred of poetry, for which they wished to substitute cosmology, mathematics, or dialectic, still maintaining the reverence of man for what is superhuman. The modern hatred of religion is hatred of the truth, hatred of all sublimity, hatred of the laughter of the gods. It is puerile human vanity trying to justify itself by a lie.”

Text: George Santayana, My Host the World. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953
Image: William Blake, The Ancient of Days setting a Compass to the Earth, frontispiece to copy K of Europe a Prophecy, 1821, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge