Thursday, September 16, 2010

Paintings I Like, pt. 58

Caravaggio, Judith Beheading Holofernes, 1598-99. Oil on canvas, 57" x 77."

I recently went out with a few of my artist cronies, and we drank and talked and drank. At the tail end of the beery night, at a bar called Puffy's, we all came to a general agreement that each of us would die some day. This was, of course, a blow. There was also broad agreement that this is wherefrom art gains its special significance.

Great art acknowledges our inescapable fate with sharp-focus lucidity, but then softens the edges with a heightened sense of the radiance of the moment. This, I believe, is what Aquinas was referring to with his conception of the third component of beauty, claritas. All of the very best art is imbued with claritas.