October 12th, 2005
|06:45 pm - Etruscan Reliefs and the Priest|
I'm looking at a few Etruscan reliefs today. The first has intrigued me since I first saw it: two young men wrestle a stag to the ground, the first with his arms around the animal's muscular neck and the other with one hand on an antler and the other on a back leg. The scene amazes me with action.
The second is a set of reliefs about the transit of the sun. I'm staring at them, seeing the story but unable to articulate it. The rising sun from the sea, the dawn, the transit, the morning star that precedes him, the stars that shine above, and the hero who this myth centers around.
When I see these reliefs, I see the stories. I watch them dance through my mind, scenes shifting and shaping before my mind's eye. I catch fragments of rituals that enact these scenes, these myths that the icons portray.
The Priest is slowly waking up.
Current Mood: awake
Current Music: "Railroad Lady", -JB
I think that's a pretty narrow definition of art; I'd say that it's overly narrow, in fact. Anthropologists call anything created by humans art, that is, all artifacts are art; I think that might be an overly broad definition. I think that what constitutes art is great skill; this comes from the adjectival use "artfully". Highly skilled craftsmen, even if they make something useful, are artists, I think.
It is narrow, and I don't excuse it.
I simply do not understand art. I have never seen meaning in a painting. I have never seen symbolism in literature (unless it's been so obvious that you'd have to not read the book in order to miss it). I cannot understand "use" beyond "function". I'm also not interested in trying anymore. I have been made to feel incredibly stupid over the years because I cannot understand symbolism, meaning, and concept, and I'm tired of attempting to explain why when there is no why.
(no, there's no insult in your questions. . . so don't worry about that)
Let's take a sword as an example of what one might consider "artful" in its best form.
What you would call an "artfully made sword", I would call something like "a well-balanced sword" or "feels good in my hand". I cannot comprehend that there might be something beyond a normal level of skill that goes into it.
I believe that the ability to make a good sword doesn't come from any sort of "artistry", but from an understanding of function and the properties of the metal. There's no "art" in that for me . . . only skill that can be learned and applied, and will naturally get better over time. There's nothing special about it.
Once something reaches "artful" to me, it crosses, quite simply, into "magical". It posesses properties that simply don't exist in my ability to conceptualize.
If you don't understand symbolism, then how do you do ritual magic?
I fake it.
I simply pretend that something means something else.
Seems to work alright.
Looks like you've got it to me.