17 June 2013

Why Beauty Mattters - documentary by Roger Scruton

A few months ago we were visiting the Wellcome Collection in London, to see the exhibition entitled "Death, a self-portrait", largely collected by Richard Harris. Whilst there I enriched myself with a very small book about Beauty. I am currently reading this short philosophical introduction to the subject of beauty, written by Roger Scruton.

Beauty, Truth and Goodness, the big trinity of Plato and Plotinus. Maybe not necessarily in that sequence. Probably Truth, Goodness and Beauty is a more suitable order.

I am a kind of very idealistic pessimist, or maybe a pessimistic idealist! Even if I gave up my idealistic view about human kind I didn't give up on truth, goodness and beauty.

A long time ago I studied Socrates and Plato. I loved Plato's Dialogues. Beautifully written literature and full of wisdom. Plato argued powerfully for objectivity. Plato opposed relativism. He criticized the views of the sophist Protagoras in his dialogue Thaetetus. In a paraphrased dialogue, the philosopher Socrates argued that relativism is self-defeating as follows:
"My opinion is: Truth must be absolute and that you Mr. Protagoras, are absolutely in error. Since this is indeed my opinion, then you must concede that it is true according to your philosophy." 
We are living in a time in which we question everything, everything is relative, everything is impossible and everything is possible.

In Ancient Greece Plato opposed relativism, and he criticized the views of the sophist Protagoras.

Today Einstein would be astonished if he suddenly arose from the underworld and discovered the impact his Theory of Relativity has had upon artists, musicians, writers, in fact the whole art world in the XX century.

Maybe I should blame Einstein and not Duchamp for the destruction and death of the quality, the beauty and the mastery in ART?

Yesterday I discovered a documentary "Why Beauty Matters" by Roger Scruton, the author of my little book. I want to share with you this fascinating and thought-provoking documentary.

But beauty still matters even for the contemporary artists. Gottfried Helnwein's paintings are an excellent exemplar of that. Super-realistic with a touch of magic. Maybe the most talented master of today!

Gottfired Helnwein  - The Murmur of the Innocents 6  2009


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