Saturday, March 14, 2009

Simson on Nietzsche and Art

Von Simson also mentions, "for Nietzsche art is a lie, the consequence of the artist's heroic will to 'flee from "truth"' and to create the 'illusion' that alone makes life livable. The Middle Ages perceived beauty as the 'splendor veritatis,' the radiance of truth; they perceived the image not as illusion but as revelation. The modern artist is free to create; we demand of him only that he be true to himself. The medieval artist was committed to a truth that transcended human existence. Those who looked at his work judged it as an image of that truth, hence the medieval tendency to praise or condemn a work of art in terms of the ultimates of religious experience."(Otto von Simson, The Gothic Cathedral: Origins of Gothic Architecture & the Medieval Concept of Order, pg. xx.)

Doubtless we are picturing that a revolution in High music toward Medieval ideology would turn us into pious composers that only wrote pious-sounding pieces, and consequently, boring-sounding pieces. But isn't Flannery O'Connor a student of Maritain? Isn't she admittedly in her writing creating a mimesis of "the ultimates of religious experience"? If dissonance is possible from a Thomistic perspective in writing, then it is possible from a Thomistic perspective in music.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Finally, someone who sees the truth about Nietzche!