I am rereading some of my college texts, including Jacques Barzun’s “Use and Abuse of Art”. I just finished reading the section, “Art the Redeemer”. This section goes into a long conflicted discussion on how art has historically been tied to religion, how it is immaterial and often transcendental, etc. I want, however, to comment specifically on the last paragraph, which can apply to my own work. At the end, Barzun says that art fails at redemption, that it can simply not go deep enough into us. He quotes Van Gogh,
There is something else in life besides pictures, and that something else one neglects, and Nature seems to revenge itself, and fate is set on thwarting us. (96)
In his very last statement, Barzun makes the connection,
That my be in our time why art has been tempted to borrow the panoply of science. (96)
One could argue, though Barzun does not go this far, that in modern times as science has replaced religion as our hope and salvation, art has simply followed the leader. My college thesis could have used this thought. In any case, it is certainly an interesting point. I do not know that anything can truly redeem us, or if there is such thing as redemption, but I have always believed that art, like science and religion, can take us to a place that is bigger then ourselves.