Sunday, May 20, 2012

The union of science and art becomes religion

Rudolf Steiner:  "...these Madonna pictures and representations of Isis are indeed dearly and definitely artistic exponents of the very deepest secrets of Nature and of the spirit. In reality they are just a transcription of Plato's sublime words: “Once man was a spiritual being; he descended to Earth only because he was robbed of his spiritual wings, and was enveloped in a physical body. He will struggle out of this physical body again and re-ascend to the world of spirit and soul.” This was proclaimed by the philosopher Plato. Pictures of the Madonna proclaim the same, for in the most beautiful sense they are what Goethe wished to express in the words: “Art is the worthiest exponent of the recognized mysteries of the world.” Man need not fear that art will become abstract or wholly allegorical if it is once again compelled, I repeat compelled, to recognize the higher spiritual realities; nor need he fear that it will become stiff and lifeless when it finds itself unable to continue using outer, crude physical models.

Because man has forgotten the spiritual, art has become bound up with the outer senses. But when men find the way back to spiritual heights and spiritual knowledge, they will then realize that true reality lies in the spiritual world, and that those who perceive this reality will create livingly, without being slavishly bound to physical models. Goethe will be understood only when it is more widely recognized that art and wisdom go hand in hand, when art again becomes a representation of the spiritual. Science and art will then again be one; in their union they will become religion, for the spiritual will work in this form as divinity once again in the heart of man, and give birth to what Goethe called the true, genuine piety. “A man who has both science and art also has religion,” says Goethe. “If anyone does not possess these two, then let him have religion.”

In truth, whoever has knowledge of the spiritual secrets of the world and knows what speaks through Isis and Madonna sees in them something of primeval life, something much more living than all it is possible to express in any slavish imitation of a physical human model. A man of this kind whose gaze penetrates as through a veil to the living quality these Madonnas portray, and beholds the spiritual behind it, can, free from all dogma and prejudice, again feel piety in complete spiritual freedom. He will unite in his soul science or wisdom with art and give new birth to genuine free religious feeling — to genuine piety."

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