Practical Art 12 May, 2006

As reported last month, the new company Ressource has been set up, to expand our educational work. It will develop hand in glove with the journal Second Spring, where the ideas inspiring and shaping our endeavours will be developed, explored, and presented. Apart from the Shakespeare Summer School at St Benet’s, one of the first ventures of the new business is a series of practical art classes in Oxford, teaching both Western naturalistic techniques of drawing and painting, and Eastern Iconography. Later we will add further classes in pattern art and sacred geometry. You will find all this described in detail under Ressource School of Art, and a couple of articles by David Clayton provide valuable background reading. They are available online in our Articles section, including an important new one called ‘Art of the Spheres‘. The art school is linked to the Maryvale Institute’s course, ‘Art, Beauty, and Inspiration‘.

Art, of course, is only part of what Ressource is about, but it is a good place to begin, because of the immediate interest it evokes. The Pontifical Council for Culture recently dedicated its Plenary Assembly in Rome to the ‘Way of Beauty’. As Pope Benedict has said, ‘Being struck and overcome by the beauty of Christ is a more real, more profound knowledge than mere rational deduction. Of course we must not underrate the importance of theological reflection, of exact and precise theological thought; it remains absolutely necessary. But to move from here to disdain or to reject the impact produced by the response of the heart in the encounter with beauty as a true form of knowledge would impoverish us and dry up our faith and our theology. We must rediscover this form of knowledge; it is a pressing need of our time.’ (This is taken from the article, ‘The Feeling of Things, The Contemplation of Beauty‘, also on our web site).