Beauty has been a recurring theme in these writings of mine – it’s a concept constantly slipping away from any final definition.
Andrew Wyeth, “Frostbitten” (1962), watercolor on paper (Private Collection. © Andrew Wyeth)
In his book Why Beauty is Key to Everything Alan Moore writes:
I have always been fascinated by beautiful things: architecture, furniture, books. Beautiful things are prepared with love. The act of creating something of beauty is a way of bringing good into the world. Infused with optimism, it says simply: Life is worthwhile.
Andrew Wyeth, “Wind from the Sea” (1947), tempera on hardboard (© Andrew Wyeth. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Gift of Charles H. Morgan)
I totally agree with parts of this statement, with the idea that the act of creating something of beauty is a way of bringing good into the world, but I find the last lines challenging. To my mind, beauty isn’t necessarily infused with optimism. Quite to the contrary, beauty is often steeped in sadness, soaked in a strange and incomprehensible kind of dark melancholy that speaks much more to mye heart than to my mind.
I see beauty as a complex idea, not as concept suitable for instrumentalisme.
Andrew Wyeth, “Evening at Kuerners” (1970), drybrush watercolor on paper (© Andrew Wyeth. Private Collection.)
Oh, yes; I would love for the world to be drenched in beauty – but can beauty really expel sadness? And make it easier for us to appreciate life?
Andrew Wyeth (American, 1917–2009)
sketcher, reader, writer