5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Art as a symptom of spiritual crisis,
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This review is from: Art in Crisis: The Lost Center (Library of Conservative Thought) (Paperback)
All art is an expression of the orientation towards or away from God. This perspective gives Sedlmayr's account immense explanatory power. Tracing the evolution of the arts from the Baroque to the Modern era, Sedlmayr shows how the movements of today diagnose a profound crisis in Man's relationship with the divine. The Baroque produced composite works of art that expressed an essentially unitary vision of Man as a creature of God. The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries saw the separation of reason and heart and the development of increasingly isolated and specialized forms, an architecture governed by the cold laws of geometry rather than human needs, styles of 'pure' drawing that incorporated the techniques of draughtsmanship, purist attempts in painting to capture perception without contamination from mental constructs (e.g. Cézanne). The movement is thus inexorably toward a denial of God and an exaltation of human autonomy that ultimately denies the integrity and inviolability of the human person, as borne out by the emergence of movements such as Dadaism and Surrealism in the Twentieth Century. I would recommend reading this in conjunction with Philip Rieff's Sacred Order/Social Order trilogy.
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