I have been regarding Michelangelo’s great work.
… I remember an interview in London Magazine with Dylan Thomas, Welshness incarnate. This was at a time more verbally puritanical than ours, and the interviewer reported that he had asked Thomas his views on Welsh nationalism and that “his answer consisted of three words, two of which were ‘Welsh nationalism.'”
–Thus Robert Conquest, Reflections on a Ravaged Century
I’m not sure why I’m growing to like this painting so much.
Sometimes art just hits you the right way.
When Wilford Woodruff was the 4th President of the church, he had a curious experience in the temple. He wrote in his journal,
Two weeks before I left St. George, the spirits of the dead gathered around me, wanting to know why we did not redeem them. Said they, “You have had the use of the Endowment House for a number of years, and yet nothing has ever been done for us. We laid the foundation of the government you now enjoy, and we never apostatized from it, but we remained true to it and were faithful to God.
Everyone of those men that signed the Declaration of Independence, with General Washington, called upon me as an Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, in the Temple at St. George, two consecutive nights, and demanded at my hands that I should go forth and attend to the ordinances of the House of God for them.
I straightway went into the baptismal font and called upon Brother McCallister to baptize me for the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and fifty other eminent men, making one hundred in all, including John Wesley, Columbus, and others.
When Brother McAllister had baptized me for the 100 names I baptized him for 21, including General Washington and his forefathers and all the Presidents of the United States–except three. Sister Lucy Bigelow Young went forth into the font and was baptized for Martha Washington and her family and 70 of the ‘eminent women’ of the world.
After politics, the most prominent and frequent occupation of these eminent men and women, was artist, usually as author, though there were also actresses,a playwright, painters, a sculptor and singers.
This included people such as Goethe, Washington Irving, Sir Walter Scott, Jane Austin, Charlotte Bronte, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning among many others. Here is a list by occupation.
This is what came to mind, as I read an article today about how the culture war about marriage has been lost. Movies and other media emphasize the exciting single life, with few exceptions. For instance,
According to a former editor of Marvel Comics, one reason why the graphic novel has nearly universally eschewed marriage is that it “kills a good story.” Whatever could be exciting about Clark Kent if he were to remain married to Lois Lane? Not much, apparently, because DC Comics erased the 1996 marriage from history, returning Superman to bachelorhood, the preferred state of our superheroes.
This affects how we think of life, and what we can relate to. This is a significant reason why homosexuality has entered the mainstream, as same-sex marriage is now as well. If I had the money to change the world, I would commission a TV show. Or possibly one on Youtube. It would have excitement and passion, life and death, love found and love lost… and it would have families. Happy marriages. It would have people keeping the commandments and others not, but with the consequences of a broken law. It would help people see a better, higher way of life.
When the world no longer speaks meaningfully to us, we shout into the void and pretend the echoes come to us from on high.
–Thus Roger Kimball
Although his tastes run towards highly abstract art. Symbolic art he tends to dismiss with a snort of disgust, rather as J.R.R. Tolkien was dismissive of literary allegory.
(And I can’t believe I just compared His Majesty to J.R.R. Tolkien. I feel like I need to go scrub my mouth out.)
This morning, over breakfast, he had this to say: “Rather rude of those German artists to preempt the Obama administration.”
It seems His Majesty is as contemptuous of symbolic politics as he is of symbolic art and allegorical literature. Which, come to think of it, sometimes seem like they’re all the same thing.
I don’t recall ever hearing him express an opinion on religious symbolism. He is not a believer, naturally, and I’m not sure I want to broach the topic.
This article names some of the rubes trying to do so. Unsurprisingly, many are from what passes for our artistic elite.